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Centre for Neuroscience in Education



Instant Genius BBC Podcast - A bold new theory of dyslexia, with Prof Usha Goswami

23/04/2023 - About 1 in 10 people in the UK have dyslexia, which is a neurological difference that can result in difficulties learning to read and write. But what exactly causes it? Scientists aren’t in full agreement, but our guest this episode – Professor Usha Goswami, a leading neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge – poses one intriguing theory. Her work so far suggests that dyslexia is not a visual disorder, but rather a difference in how sound and rhythm are processed in the brain. She joins us to explain all:


How does the sing-song rhythm of 'baby talk' help babies learn? - Tiny Happy People (BBC)

Lots of people automatically speak to babies with a 'baby voice', using a sing-song rhythm and silly sounding words like 'bunny' and 'doggy'. But how does this affect the way babies learn language?

Researchers at the University of Cambridge are investigating the effects of ‘baby talk’ on babies' brains. They’ve found that the rhythm we use when we speak to babies is important to language learning, and that baby talk emphasises a rhythm that really helps children to learn words quickly.

We caught up with Professor Usha Goswami, who is leading on the project, to find out more.


British Educational Research Association (BERA)
26/08/20 - "In Conversations with... Professor Usha Goswami". Having been awarded the 2020 John Nisbet Fellowship by BERA, Professor Usha Goswami is interviewed by BERA President Professor Dominic Wyse. She discusses her research on the relation between phonology and reading, the role of rhyme and rhythm in dyslexia, as well as practices and policies in education that can support literacy.


2015 - 2020

BBC Radio 4
19/12/19 - Woman's Hour. Professor Usha Goswami speaks to presenter Jenni Murray about the importance of rhythm to developing language skills in children. The relevant clip begins at 11:20. 

BBC Radio 4
13/08/19 - "You Must Remember This" on Fry's English Delight. Professor Usha Goswami explains why early exposure to nursery rhymes and rhyming songs is crucial to our language development and to a healthy and accurate memory in later years. The relevant section begins at 9:22.

BBC Radio 4
09/04/19 - "Gyles Brandreth's Poetry by Heart". This programme by Gyles Brandreth was released in the run up to National Poetry day. As part of the episode, Professor Usha Goswami is interviewed by Gyles Brandreth about the way that the brain records and retains poetic meter. The relevant clip begins at 16:01.

10/12/18 - "Becoming Independent" on Babies: Their Wonderful World. This three-part series, presented by Dr. Guddi Singh, bought together scientists from around the world to look at "cutting-edge" experiments being conducted with babies. The final episode investigates contemporary research on how babies become independent and features both Professor Usha Goswami and Dr. Sinead Rocha-Thomas. 

Cambridge 105 Radio
26/06/17 - "Baby Rhythm". Alex Elbro interviews Professor Usha Goswami about the way that babies learn to speak.

The Naked Scientists
09/05/17 - "How do we understand language?" as part of their series The Lowdown on Language. This was an interview with Professor Usha Goswami about her work.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (Breakfast Show)
02/05/17 - "BabyRhythm Project". Professor Usha Goswami speaks to Dotty McLeod about the CNE's BabyRhythm project and our novel research into language acquisition in very young infants.



2010 - 2015

BBC World Service
16/11/14 - “The Why Factor - Poetry”. In this programme Professor Usha Goswami talks to Jo Fidgen about why we read and write poetry, and how we respond to this particular form of writing versus prose. She describes how rhythms and stress patterns draw us to poetry, and how the brain in early infant development responds to these cues.

30/10/14 - “ITV Tonight - Trouble with Numbers”. Jonathan Maitland looks at the problem of poor numeracy among the UK's population and its impact upon people. To do this he discusses the impact of maths anxiety with Dr. Dénes Szűcs and a young recruit tries out some of the Centre's specially designed maths tasks during an EEG session.

The Naked Scientists
03/06/14 - “How can rhythm help us learn a language” as part of their series Learning to Learn. A panel of experts discuss children's learning and memory development from babies through to teenagers, with Dr. Susan Richards talking specifically about language acquisition in children with speech and language difficulties. The relevant section begins at 8:24.

The Naked Scientists
16/02/14 - “Motherese’ Melody’ as part of their series Brainy Babies. Hannah Critchlow discusses learning and language acquisition in babies with Professor Usha Goswami. The relevant clip begins at 24:30.  

27/08/12 - "Growing Children - Dyslexia". This documentary, hosted by Laverne Antrobus, looks into dyslexia in children, using neuroscientific research, including studies from CNE.

BBC Radio 4
02/08/12 - "The Material World". Quentin Cooper discusses the use of phonics in teaching children to read with both Professor Usha Goswami and Professor Charles Hulme (Department of Psychology, UCL), as well as looking into the extent to which neuroscience can help inform education policy.

BBC Radio 4
29/05/12 - "Reading between the Lines: Beyond the Reading Wars". In the second of two programmes looking at how children learn to read, presenter and former Children's Laureate, Michael Morpurgo explores how the contemporary debate has been informed by teaching methods of the recent past. During the programme, Professor Usha Goswami talks about her research on dyslexia and how it might help us understand what goes on in children's minds when they learn to read.

BBC Radio 4
01/09/11 - "The Class Ceiling". In the first episode of this series presented by Poly Toynbee, they investigate British Society today and how an individual's early experiences can affect their life's chances. Looking at how a baby's brain is influenced by the surrounding environment, Professor Usha Goswami discusses with them why exposing infants up to the age of five is important for the developing brain.

BBC Radio 4
29/03/10 - "Inside the Brain of a 5-year-old". Claudia Hammond investigates the latest research into the working of the five-year-old brain, and talks to researchers and scientists (amongst others) from CNE about whether the latest developments in neuroscience might have an application in the classroom.

BBC Radio 4
04/03/10 - "In Our Time: The Infant Brain". Melvyn Bragg, Professor Usha Goswami, Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith (Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birbeck College) and Professor Denis Mareschal (Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birbeck College) discuss what new research reveals about the infant brain, from the way we start to learn to speak to the earliest understanding that other people have their own minds.



2005 - 2010

BBC2 Horizon
17/03/09 - "Who do you want your children to be?". David Baddiel investigates the latest scientific research in education by visiting CNE to meet Professor Usha Goswami and discuss her brain imaging research into reading acquisition and phonological awareness, as well as how such information can be used to help with a child's progress in reading.

09/02/09 - "Why reading matters". Science writer Rita Carter interviews Professor Usha Goswami during her investigative programme about modern neuroscience and what this reveals about reading.

BBC Radio 4
22/10/08 - Today Programme. An interview with Professor Usha Goswami about her contribution on learning difficulties to the Government's Foresight Programme on mental health and wellbeing.

04/10/08 - News item: 1pm and 6pm. This shows the current reading research in the EEG lab at CNE.

BBC Radio 4
11/03/08 - "Am I Normal - Dyslexia". In this program Vivienne Parry speak to geneticists, neurologists and psychologists to discover how infant children showing possible signs of dyslexia are screened. In her interview with Professor Usha Goswami, she discusses the ways in which 'normal' and at-risk young children might differ and how the research outcomes can be effectively used.

Channel 4
22/10/07 - "Why our children can't read" on Dispatches.