Professor of Psychology
+44 (0)20 7919 7883
+44 (0)20 7919 7873
Room 202/1 Whitehead Building,
Department of Psychology,
Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross, London, SE14 6NW
Musical cognition, abnormal development, autism, savants
My primary research interest is in developmental disorders, especially autism. Since completing my PhD on musical cognition in autism in 1999, I have been a principal researcher or research group leader on EU and ESRC grant applications investigating remediation of sensory abnormalities, pitch and colour discrimination and memory, and colour categorisation in autism.
Before studying psychology I trained as a classical singer and retain a strong interest in the cognitive neuropsychology of music. In particular I am interested in how musical information processing distinguishes atypical and typically developing children and adolescents. My current interests mainly focus on investigating the relationship between speech and music perception in autism, SLI, Down syndrome and typical development.
Original Research Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals.
Heaton, P., Hermelin, B. and Pring, L. (1998). Autism and pitch processing: a precursor for savant musical ability? Music Perception, 15 (3), 291 – 305.
Heaton, P., Pring, L. and Hermelin, B. (1999). A Pseudo-savant: a case of exceptional musical splinter skills. Neurocase, 5 (6), 503 – 509.
Heaton, P., Hermelin, B. and Pring, L. (1999). Can children with autistic spectrum disorders perceive affect in music? An experimental investigation. Psychological Medicine, 29, 1405 – 1410
Hermelin, B., Pring, L., Buhler, M., Wolff, S. and Heaton, P. (1999). A visually impaired savant artist: interacting perceptual and memory representations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40 (7), 1129 – 1139.
Valentine, T. and Heaton, P. (1999). An evaluation of the fairness of police line-ups and video identifications. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 13, 59 – 72.
Heaton, P., Pring, L. and Hermelin, B. (2001). Musical processing in high functioning children with autism. In: the Biological Foundations of Music. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 930, New York.
Heaton, P. (2003). Pitch memory, labeling and disembedding in autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, (4), 543 – 551.
Heaton, P. and Wallace, G. (2004) Annotation: The savant syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 45 (5), 899 – 911.
Heaton, P. (2005) Interval and contour processing in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35, (6), 787 – 793.
Ludlow, A., Wilkins, A. and Heaton, P. ( 2006) The effect of coloured overlays on reading ability in children with Autism Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 36, (4), 507 – 516.
Heaton, P., Williams, K. & Cummins, O. & Happé, F. (2007). Beyond perception: musical representation and on-line processing in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 37, (7), 1355 – 1360.
Heato n, P., Ludlow, A. & Roberson. D. (2007). When less is more: poor discrimination but good colour memory in Autism. Research into Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2, (1), 147 – 156.
Jarvinen - Pasley A. & Heaton, P. (2007). Evidence for reduced domain-specificity in auditory processing in autism. Developmental Science, 10(6), 786-793.
Järvinen-Pasley, A.M., Pasley, J. & Heaton, P. (2008). Is the linguistic content of speech less salient than its perceptual features? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 239 – 248.
Järvinen-Pasley, A.M., Wallace, G.L. Ramus, F., Happe, F. & Heaton, P. (2008). Enhanced perceptual processing of speech in autism. Developmental Science, 11, (1), 109 – 121.
Heaton, P., Williams, K., Cummins, O. & Happé, F., (2008). Autism and pitch processing splinter skills: a group and sub-group analysis. Autism, 12, (1), 21 – 37.
Heaton, P., Allen, R., Williams, K. & Cummins, O. & Happé, F., (2008). Do social and cognitive deficits curtail musical understanding? Evidence from Autism and Down syndrome. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26, 171 – 182.
Heaton, P., Davis, R., & Happe, F. (2008). Exceptional Absolute Pitch Perception for spoken words in an able adult with autism. Neuropsychologia. 46, 2095–2098
Ludlow, A.K., Wilkins, A.J. & Heaton, P. (2008). Colored overlays enhance visual perceptual performance in children with autism spectrum disorders. Research into Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2, (3),498 – 515.
Järvinen-Pasley, A., Peppé, S., King-Smith, G. & Heaton, P. (2008). The relationship between form and function level receptive prosodic abilities in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, (7), 1328 – 40.
Heaton, P., Hudry, K., Ludlow, A. & Hill, E. (2008). Superior pitch processing is unrelated to verbal ability in autism spectrum disorders. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 25 (6), 771 – 782.
Allen, R., Hill, E. & Heaton, P. (2009) “Hath charms to soothe” : An exploratory study of music in autism. Autism, 13, (1), 21 – 41.
Bhatara, A., Quintin, E., Fombonne, E., Heaton, P. & Levitin, D. (2009).The Effects of Music on Social Attribution in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Child Neuropsychology, 13; 1 – 22.
Heaton, P. (2009). Assessing musical skills in autistic children who are not savants. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 364, 1443-1447.
O’Brien, J., Tsermentseli, S., Cummins, O., Happe, F., Heaton, P. & Spencer, J. (2009). Discriminating Children with Autism from Children with Learning Difficulties with an Adaptation of the Short Sensory Profile. Early Child Development and Care, 179, 4, 383-394.
Heaton, P. & Allen, R. (2009) “With concord of sweet sounds’: new perspectives on the diversity of musical experience in autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions”. The Neurosciences of Music 111: Disorders and Plasticity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169:318-325.
Allen, R., Hill, E. & Heaton, P. (2009). The subjective experience of music in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Neurosciences of Music 111. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169: 331.
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
Goldsmiths has charitable status