Dr Emily A Williams

Dr Emily A Williams


I am a Postdoctoral Research and Engagement Fellow in the School of Psychology and the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research in Bradford. I am currently funded by an 18-month Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) Fellowship, where I am investigating how children and adults acquire the fine motor skill of (touch) typing. I am passionate about increasing academic attainment in young learners, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I am a member of the Immersive Cognition (ICON) lab and the Health, Education And Development INteractions Group (HEADING) lab, led by my colleagues Dr Faisal Mushtaq and Dr Ryan Morehead, and Dr Liam Hill respectively, and I work closely with the Born in Bradford birth cohort study. 

In 2019-20, I worked as the Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Glasses in Classes trial, which aims to increase glasses test attendance and glasses wear in Reception children (aged 4-5), with a view to increasing their literacy and maths scores. I wasresponsible for wrangling the health data for over 4,500 pupils, sharing weekly data insights with the external evaluation team, and I also co-designed and delivered the professional development sessions to educational professionals. The year prior (2018-19), I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Helping Handwriting SHINE trial, which aimed to increase the writing composition of children in Year 2 (age 6-7) and Year 5 (age 9-10) with and without handwriting difficulties through teacher-led evidence-based activity sessions.

Before joining the University of Leeds in 2018, I completed my BSc (2014), MRes (2015), and PhD (2018) in Psychology at the University of Manchester in the time perception lab, Time Lab Manchester. I specialised in time perception since my third year undergraduate project, and my PhD focused on how we perceive time in different sensory modalities (hearing, vision, and touch), and how certain auditory stimulation may affect our time perception due to increasing psychophysiological arousal (as measured by heart rate and pupil dilation). My thesis is titled ‘Investigating the Pacemaker Component of the Human Timing System’, and I was supervised by Dr Luke Jones and Dr Andrew Stewart.

Alongside my postgraduate research, I held the position of Widening Participation Fellow (2015-18), and I currently act as an Engagement Fellow (2019-21) as part of the Engagement Excellence Scheme.

Research interests

Since my PhD, I made an effortful transition from lab-based experimental psychology (with school outreach as a significant side-project) to the core of my research being increasing academic attainment in children in my Postdoctoral work. I paused my primary focus of lab-based research to gain postdoctoral experience in applied educational and health research. As of October 2020, I am working on a Wellcome Trust ISSF Fellowship which fuses my expertise in experimental psychology, my experience in applied educational research, and my interest in timing-related behaviours. I am investigating the acquisition of the typing skill in children and adults.


  • PhD Psychology (2015-18)
  • MRes Psychology (2014-15)
  • BSc Psychology (2011-14)

Research groups and institutes

  • Perception, action, cognition