Dr Rebecca Charlton

Staff details

Position Reader in Psychology
Department Psychology
Email r.charlton (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7222
Dr Rebecca Charlton


Rebecca is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths. Her research focuses on changes in later-life and the factors that promote healthy ageing. Her research examines cognition, social-cognitionand mood in later-life. Her work also examines how ageing effects autistic adults in terms of bothcognition and well-being. Rebecca works with charity partners to examine the factors that promote well-being in ageing and individuals with dementia. She leads the GoldAge Lab.

Grants and Awards

Rebecca has received external grant funding from a variety of organisations including: the Dunhill Medical Trust, the Experimental Psychology Society, the British Psychological Society, Research into Ageing-Age UK, The Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust, and support for PhD students by the ESRC.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Rebecca works to support research communication and dissemination of research findings into the public domain. Her work has included writing for general science publications, presenting at public-facing events, promoting research through press releases and engagement with the media resulting in newspaper publications and radio interviews.

Research Interests

Rebecca’s research interests relate to factors that change in ageing and how understanding these factors can help promote healthy ageing. Her work investigates how cognition and social-cognition (especially understanding others) changes as we age; the risk factors for developing depression in later-life and the factors that may protect against depression; and how ageing impacts autistic adults. She is a member of the Cognition and Neuroscience Group and the Forensic and Clinical Science Group, as well as leading the GoldAge Lab www.goldagelab.co.uk/. Key areas of interest are listed below.

  • Ageing and age-related disorders
  • Stroke and Vascular Dementia
  • The effect of vascular damage in the brain on cognition and mood
  • Associations between ill-health and cognition
  • Late-life depression / Subclinical low mood in older adults
  • Depression across the lifespan
  • Neuroimaging
  • Ageing in Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Using art and music to promote well-being in ageing and dementia



Stewart, Gavin R.; Wallace, Gregory L.; Cottam, Martha and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2020. Theory of Mind Performance in Younger and Older Adults with Elevated Autistic Traits. Autism Research, 13(5), pp. 751-762. ISSN 1939-3792

Stewart, Gavin R.; Corbett, Anne; Ballard, Clive; Creese, Byron; Aarsland, Dag; Hampshire, Adam; Charlton, Rebecca A and Happe, Francesca. 2020. The mental and physical health of older adults with a genetic predisposition for autism. Autism Research, 13(4), pp. 641-654. ISSN 1939-3792

Chapman, Silvia; Cosentino, Stephanie; Igwe, Kay; Abdurahman, Ayat; Elkind, Mitchell S.V.; Brickman, Adam M.; Charlton, Rebecca A and Cocchini, Gianna. 2020. Mnemonic Monitoring in Anosognosia for Memory Loss. Neuropsychology, ISSN 0894-4105

Williams, Owen A.; Zeestraten, Eva A.; Benjamin, Philip; Lambert, Christian; Lawrence, Andrew J.; Mackinnon, Andrew D.; Morris, Robin G.; Markus, Hugh S.; Barrick, Thomas R. and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2019. Predicting Dementia in Cerebral Small Vessel Disease using an Automatic Diffusion Tensor Image Segmentation Technique. Stroke, 50(10), pp. 2775-2782. ISSN 0039-2499

Perach, Rotem; Allen, C.K.; Kapantai, I; Madrid-Valero, J.J.; Miles, E; Charlton, Rebecca A and Gregory, Alice M.. 2019. The psychological wellbeing outcomes of norpharmacological interventions for older persons with insomnia symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 43, pp. 1-13. ISSN 1087-0792

Abbott, Patricia; Happe, Francesca and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2018. Exploratory Study of Executive Function Abilities Across the Adult Lifespan in Individuals Receiving an ASD Diagnosis in Adulthood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(12), pp. 4193-4206. ISSN 0162-3257

Johansson Nolaker, E; Murray, K; Happé, Francesca and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2018. Cognitive and affective associations with an ecologically valid test of theory of mind across the lifespan. Neuropsychology, 32(6), pp. 754-763. ISSN 0894-4105

Stewart, GR; Charlton, Rebecca A and Wallace, Gregory L.. 2018. Aging with Elevated Autistic Traits: Cognitive Functioning Among Older Adults with the Broad Autism Phenotype. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 54, pp. 27-36. ISSN 1750-9467)

Evans, Carys; Banissy, Michael J. and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2018. The efficacy of transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) on mood may depend on individual differences including age and trait mood. Clinical Neurophysiology, 129(6), pp. 1201-1208. ISSN 1388-2457

Metoki, A; Brookes, R.L.; Zeestraten, E.; Lawrence, A.J.; Morris, R.G.; Barrick, Thomas R; Markus, Hugh S and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2017. Mnemonic function in small vessel disease and associations with white matter tract microstructure. Neuropsychologia, 104, pp. 1-7. ISSN 0028-3932

Williams, O.A.; Zeestraten, E.; Benjamin, P.; Lambert, C.; Lawrence, A.J.; Mackinnon, A.D.; Morris, R G; Markus, Hugh S; Charlton, Rebecca A and Barrick, Thomas R. 2017. Diffusion Tensor Image Segmentation of the Cerebrum Provides a Single Measure of Cerebral Small Vessel Disease Severity Related to Cognition. Neuroimage: Clinical, 16, pp. 330-342. ISSN 2213-1582

Gonzales, M.M.; Ajilore, Olusola; Charlton, Rebecca A; Cohen, J.; Yang, Shaolin; Sieg, E.; Bhaumik, Dulal K.; Kumar, Anand and Lamar, Melissa. 2017. Divergent Influences of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Domains on Cognition, Grey and White Matter Morphology. Psychosomatic Medicine, 79(5), pp. 541-548. ISSN 0033-3174

Wallace, Gregory L.; Budgett, Jessica and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2016. Aging and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from the Broad Autism Phenotype. Autism Research, 9(12), pp. 1294-1303. ISSN 1939-3792

Happé, Francesca G.E.; Mansour, Hassan; Barrett, Pippa; Brown, Tony; Abbott, Patricia and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2016. Demographic and cognitive profile of individuals seeking a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in adulthood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(11), pp. 3469-3480. ISSN 0162-3257

Lamar, Melissa; Ajilore, Olusola; Leow, Alex; Charlton, Rebecca A; Cohen, Jamie; GadElkarim, Johnson; Yang, Shaolin; Zhang, Aifeng; Davis, Randall; Penney, Dana; Libon, David J and Kumar, Anand. 2016. Cognitive and connectome properties detectable through individual differences in graphomotor organization. Neuropsychologia, 85, pp. 301-309. ISSN 0028-3932

Charlton, Rebecca A; Leow, Alex; GadElkarim, Johnson; Zhang, Aifeng; Ajilore, Olusola; Yang, Shaolin; Lamar, Melissa and Kumar, Anand. 2015. Brain Connectivity in Late-Life Depression and Aging Revealed by Network Analysis. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(6), pp. 642-650. ISSN 1064-7481

Lamar, Melissa; Rubin, Leah; Ajilore, Olusola; Charlton, Rebecca A; Zhang, Aifeng; Yang, Shaolin; Cohen, Jamie and Kumar, Anand. 2015. What metabolic syndrome contributes to brain outcomes in African Americans and Caucasian cohorts. Current Alzheimer Research, 12(7), pp. 640-647. ISSN 1567-2050

Charlton, Rebecca A. 2014. Associations between vascular risk and mood in euthymic older adults: Preliminary findings. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(9), pp. 936-945. ISSN 1064-7481

Charlton, Rebecca A. 2014. Subcortical Biophysical Abnormalities in Patients with Mood Disorders. Molecular Psychiatry, 19, pp. 710-716. ISSN 1359-4184

Charlton, Rebecca A. 2014. White Matter Tract Integrity in Late-Life Depression: Associations with Severity and Cognition. Psychological Medicine, 44(7), pp. 1427-1437. ISSN 0033-2917

Charlton, Rebecca A. 2014. In Vivo Quantification of White Matter Microstructure for Use in Aging: A Focus on Two Emerging Techniques. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(2), pp. 111-121. ISSN 1064-7481

Charlton, Rebecca A. 2013. Verbal working and long-term episodic memory associations with white matter microstructure in normal aging investigated using tract-based spatial statistics. Psychology and Aging, 28(3), pp. 768-777. ISSN 0882-7974

Lamar, Melissa; Charlton, Rebecca A; Ajilore, Olusola; Zhang, Aifeng; Yang, Shaolin; Barrick, Thomas R; Rhodes, Emma and Kumar, Anand. 2013. Prefrontal vulnerabilities and whole brain connectivity in aging and depression. Neuropsychologia, pp. 1-6. ISSN 1873-3514

Charlton, Rebecca A; Lamar, Melissa; Ajilore, Olusola and Kumar, Anand. 2013. Preliminary analysis of age of illness onset effects on symptom profiles in major depressive disorder. International journal of geriatric psychiatry, pp. 1-9. ISSN 1099-1166

Dodd, James W; Charlton, Rebecca A; van den Broek, Martin D and Jones, Paul W. 2013. Cognitive Dysfunction in Patients Hospitalized with Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Chest, pp. 1-8. ISSN 1931-3543

Dodd, James W; Chung, Ai Wern; van den Broek, Martin D; Barrick, Thomas R; Charlton, Rebecca A and Jones, Paul W. 2012. Brain structure and function in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a multimodal cranial magnetic resonance imaging study. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 186(3), pp. 240-5. ISSN 1535-4970

Lamar, Melissa; Charlton, Rebecca A; Zhang, Aifeng and Kumar, Anand. 2012. Differential associations between types of verbal memory and prefrontal brain structure in healthy aging and late life depression. Neuropsychologia, 50(8), pp. 1823-9. ISSN 1873-3514

Happé, Francesca and Charlton, Rebecca A. 2012. Aging in autism spectrum disorders: a mini-review. Gerontology, 58(1), pp. 70-8. ISSN 1423-0003

Nitkunan, Arani; Lanfranconi, Silvia; Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, Thomas R and Markus, Hugh S. 2011. Brain atrophy and cerebral small vessel disease: a prospective follow-up study. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 42(1), pp. 133-8. ISSN 1524-4628

Grady, Cheryl L; Charlton, Rebecca A; He, Yu and Alain, Claude. 2011. Age differences in FMRI adaptation for sound identity and location. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 5, p. 24. ISSN 1662-5161

Lamar, Melissa; Charlton, Rebecca A; Morris, Robin G and Markus, Hugh S. 2010. The impact of subcortical white matter disease on mood in euthymic older adults: a diffusion tensor imaging study. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18(7), pp. 634-42. ISSN 1545-7214

Barrick, Thomas R; Charlton, Rebecca A; Clark, Chris A and Markus, Hugh S. 2010. White matter structural decline in normal ageing: a prospective longitudinal study using tract-based spatial statistics. NeuroImage, 51(2), pp. 565-77. ISSN 1053-8119

Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, Thomas R; Lawes, I Nigel C; Markus, Hugh S and Morris, Robin G. 2010. White matter pathways associated with working memory in normal aging. Cortex, 46(4), pp. 474-89. ISSN 1973-8102

Charlton, Rebecca A; Schiavone, F; Barrick, T R; Morris, R G and Markus, H S. 2010. Diffusion tensor imaging detects age related white matter change over a 2 year follow-up which is associated with working memory decline. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 81(1), pp. 13-19. ISSN 0022-3050

Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, T R; Markus, H S and Morris, R G. 2010. The relationship between episodic long-term memory and white matter integrity in normal aging. Neuropsychologia, 48(1), pp. 114-22. ISSN 1873-3514

Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, Thomas R; Markus, Hugh S and Morris, Robin G. 2009. Theory of mind associations with other cognitive functions and brain imaging in normal aging. Psychology and aging, 24(2), pp. 338-48. ISSN 0882-7974

Hannesdottir, K; Nitkunan, A; Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, T R; MacGregor, G A and Markus, H S. 2009. Cognitive impairment and white matter damage in hypertension: a pilot study. Acta neurologica Scandinavica, 119(4), pp. 261-8. ISSN 1600-0404

Nitkunan, Arani; Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, Thomas R; McIntyre, Dominick J O; Howe, Franklyn A and Markus, Hugh S. 2009. Reduced N-acetylaspartate is consistent with axonal dysfunction in cerebral small vessel disease. NMR in biomedicine, 22(3), pp. 285-91. ISSN 0952-3480

Schiavone, Francesca; Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, Thomas Richard; Morris, Robin Guy and Markus, Hugh Stephen. 2009. Imaging age-related cognitive decline: A comparison of diffusion tensor and magnetization transfer MRI. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI, 29(1), pp. 23-30. ISSN 1053-1807

Charlton, Rebecca A; Landau, S; Schiavone, F; Barrick, T R; Clark, C A; Markus, H S and Morris, R G. 2008. A structural equation modeling investigation of age-related variance in executive function and DTI measured white matter damage. Neurobiology of aging, 29(10), pp. 1547-55. ISSN 1558-1497

Nitkunan, Arani; Barrick, Tom R; Charlton, Rebecca A; Clark, Chris A and Markus, Hugh S. 2008. Multimodal MRI in cerebral small vessel disease: its relationship with cognition and sensitivity to change over time. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 39(7), pp. 1999-2005. ISSN 1524-4628

Nitkunan, Arani; Charlton, Rebecca A; McIntyre, Dominick J O; Barrick, Thomas R; Howe, Franklyn A and Markus, Hugh S. 2008. Diffusion tensor imaging and MR spectroscopy in hypertension and presumed cerebral small vessel disease. Magnetic resonance in medicine : official journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 59(3), pp. 528-34. ISSN 0740-3194

McIntyre, Dominick J O; Charlton, Rebecca A; Markus, Hugh S and Howe, Franklyn A. 2007. Long and short echo time proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging of the healthy aging brain. Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI, 26(6), pp. 1596-606. ISSN 1053-1807

Charlton, Rebecca A; McIntyre, D J O; Howe, F A; Morris, R G and Markus, H S. 2007. The relationship between white matter brain metabolites and cognition in normal aging: the GENIE study. Brain research, 1164, pp. 108-16. ISSN 0006-8993

Happé, Francesca; Booth, Rhonda; Charlton, Rebecca A and Hughes, Claire. 2006. Executive function deficits in autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: examining profiles across domains and ages. Brain and cognition, 61(1), pp. 25-39. ISSN 0278-2626

Charlton, Rebecca A; Morris, R G; Nitkunan, A and Markus, H S. 2006. The cognitive profiles of CADASIL and sporadic small vessel disease. Neurology, 66(10), pp. 1523-6. ISSN 1526-632X

Charlton, Rebecca A; Barrick, T R; McIntyre, D J; Shen, Y; O'Sullivan, M; Howe, F A; Clark, C A; Morris, R G and Markus, H S. 2006. White matter damage on diffusion tensor imaging correlates with age-related cognitive decline. Neurology, 66(2), pp. 217-22. ISSN 1526-632X

O'Sullivan, Michael; Singhal, Sumeet; Charlton, Rebecca A and Markus, Hugh S. 2004. Diffusion tensor imaging of thalamus correlates with cognition in CADASIL without dementia. Neurology, 62(5), pp. 702-7. ISSN 1526-632X

Booth, Rhonda; Charlton, Rebecca A; Hughes, Claire and Happé, Francesca. 2003. Disentangling weak coherence and executive dysfunction: planning drawing in autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 358(1430), pp. 387-92. ISSN 0962-8436

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