Dr Emily A Williams

Dr Emily A Williams


I am a Research and Engagement Fellow in the School of Psychology and the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research in Bradford. 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 INference Group (HEADING) lab, led by my colleagues Dr Faisal Mushtaq and Dr Liam Hill respectively, and work closely with the Born in Bradford birth cohort study. 

I work primarily 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 am responsible 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. In my previous Postdoctoral position, I worked 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 coming to the University of Leeds, I completed my BSc, MRes, and PhD 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 was called ‘Investigating the Pacemaker Component of the Human Timing System’, and I worked with Dr Luke Jones and Dr Andrew Stewart.

Alongside my postgraduate research, I held the position of Widening Participation Fellow, and I currently act as an Engagement Fellow (2019-20).

Research interests

Since my PhD, I have 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. I have paused my primary focus of timing and time perception to gain postdoctoral experience in applied educational and health research. However, I am developing a scheme of work to complement my triad of expertise: timing, young learners, and outreach/engagement.


  • PhD Psychology (2015-19)
  • MRes Psychology (2014-15)
  • BSc Psychology (2011-14)

Research groups and institutes

  • Perception, action, cognition