Professor Pam Heaton

Staff details

Position Professor of Psychology
Department Psychology
Email p.heaton (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7883

Musical cognition, abnormal development, autism, savants

Research Interests

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.

Publications

Article

Rose, Dawn; Jones Bartoli, Alice and Heaton, Pam F.. 2019. Measuring the impact of musical learning on cognitive, behavioural and socio-emotional wellbeing development in children. Psychology of Music, 47(2), pp. 284-303. ISSN 0305-7356

Heaton, Pam F.; Tsang, Wai-Fang; Jakubowski, Kelly; Müllensiefen, Daniel and Allen, Rory. 2018. Discriminating autism and language impairment and specific language impairment through acuity of musical imagery. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 80, pp. 52-63. ISSN 0891-4222

Rose, Dawn; Jones Bartoli, Alice and Heaton, Pam F.. 2018. Formal-informal musical learning, gender and musicians’ personalities. Personality and Individual Differences, ISSN 0191-8869

Rose, Dawn; Jones Bartoli, Alice and Heaton, Pam F.. 2018. Learning a musical instrument can benefit a child with special educational needs. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 28(2), pp. 71-81. ISSN 0275-3987

Allen, Rory and Heaton, Pam F.. 2018. Can shared mechanisms of cultural evolution illuminate the process of creativity within the arts and the sciences. Progress in Brain Research, ISSN 0079-6123

Taruffi, Liila; Allen, Rory; Downing, John and Heaton, Pam F.. 2017. Individual Differences in Music-Perceived Emotions: The Influence of Externally Oriented Thinking. Music Perception, 34(3), pp. 253-266. ISSN 0730-7829

Bennett, Emily and Heaton, Pam F.. 2017. Defining the clinical and cognitive phenotype of child savants with autism spectrum disorder. Current Pediatric Research, ISSN 0971-9032

Allgood, Rebecca and Heaton, Pam F.. 2015. Developmental change and cross-domain links in vocal and musical emotion recognition performance in childhood. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33(3), pp. 398-403. ISSN 0261-510X

Mayer, Jennifer L.; Hannent, Ian and Heaton, Pam F.. 2014. Mapping the Developmental Trajectory and Correlates of Enhanced Pitch Perception on Speech Processing in Adults with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, ISSN 0162-3257

Mayer, Jennifer L.; Hannent, Ian and Heaton, Pam F.. 2014. Mapping the Developmental Trajectory and Correlates of Enhanced Pitch Perception on Speech Processing in Adults with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(5), pp. 1562-1573. ISSN 0162-3257

Gebauer, Line; Skewes, Joshua; Westphael, Gitte; Heaton, Pam F. and Vuust, Peter. 2014. Intact brain processing of musical emotions in autism spectrum disorder, but more cognitive load and arousal in happy vs. sad music. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8(192), pp. 1-10. ISSN 1662-4548

Stagg, Steven; Linnell, Karina J and Heaton, Pam F.. 2014. Investigating eye movement patterns, language, and social ability in children with autism spectrum disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 26(2), pp. 529-537. ISSN 0954-5794

Mayer, J. L. and Heaton, Pam F.. 2014. Age and sensory processing abnormalities predict declines in encoding and recall of temporally manipulated speech in high-functioning adults with ASD. Autism Research, 7(1), pp. 40-49. ISSN 19393792

Ludlow, A.; Heaton, Pam F.; Hill, Elisabeth L. and Franklin, A.. 2014. Color Obsessions and Phobias in Autism Spectrum Disorders: the Case of J.G. Neurocase, 20(3), pp. 296-306. ISSN 1355-4794

Ludlow, Amanda; Deruelle, Christine and Heaton, Pam F.. 2013. Decoding actions and emotions in deaf children: Evidence from a biological motion task. Journal of Cognition and Development, 14(4), pp. 561-572. ISSN 1524-8372

Boso, Marianna; Forth, Jamie; Bordin, Annamaria; Faggioli, Raffaella; D'Angelo, Egidio; Politi, Pierluigi; Barale, Francesco and Heaton, Pam F.. 2013. Transposition Ability in a Young Musician With Autism and Blindness: Testing Cognitive Models of Autism. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 23(2), pp. 109-116. ISSN 0275-3987

Stagg, Steven; Davis, Robert and Heaton, Pam F.. 2013. Associations Between Language Development and Skin Conductance Responses to Faces and Eye Gaze in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(10), pp. 2303-2311. ISSN 0162-3257

Mottron, Laurent; Bouvet, Lucie; Bonnel, Anna; Samson, Fabienne; Burack, Jacob; Dawson, Michelle and Heaton, Pam F.. 2013. Veridical mapping in the development of exceptional autistic abilities. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37(2), pp. 209-228. ISSN 0149-7634

Custance, Deborah M.; Mayer, Jennifer L.; Kumar, Emmelianna; Hill, Elisabeth L. and Heaton, Pam F.. 2013. Do Children With Autism Re-Enact Object Movements Rather Than Imitate Demonstrator Actions? Autism Research, 7(1), pp. 28-39. ISSN 1939-3792

Dimatati, Maria; Heaton, Pam F.; Pring, Linda; Downing, John and Ockelford, Adam. 2012. Exploring the Impact of Congenital Visual Impairment on the Development of Absolute Pitch Using a New Online Assessment Tool: A Preliminary Study. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 22(2), pp. 129-133. ISSN 0275-3987

Heaton, Pam F. and Bennett, Emily. 2012. Is talent in autism spectrum disorders associated with a specific cognitive and behavioural phenotype? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(12), pp. 2739-2753. ISSN 0162-3257

Dohn, Anders; Garza-Villarreal, eduardo; Heaton, Pam F. and Vuust, Peter. 2012. Do Musicians with Perfect Pitch Have More Autism Traits than Musicians without Perfect Pitch? An Empirical Study. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e37961.

Molnar-Szakacs, Istvan and Heaton, Pam F.. 2012. Music: a unique window into the world of autism. Annals of New York academy of sciences, 1252, pp. 318-324. ISSN 0077-8923

Heaton, Pam F.; Reichenbacher, Lisa; Sauter, Disa; Allen, Rory; Scott, Sophie K. and Hill, Elisabeth L.. 2012. Measuring the effects of alexithymia on perception of emotional vocalisations in Autistic Spectrum Disorder and typical development. Psychological Medicine, 42(11), pp. 2453-2459.

Allen, Rory and Heaton, Pam F.. 2010. Autism, music, and the therapeutic potential of music in alexithymia. Music Perception, 27(4), pp. 251-261. ISSN 0730-7829

Heaton, Pam F.; Allen, Rory; Williams, Kerry; Cummins, Omar and Happe, Francesca. 2010. Do social and cognitive deficits curtail musical understanding? Evidence from autism and Down syndrome. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26(2), pp. 171-182. ISSN 0261510X

Allen, Rory; Hill, Elisabeth L. and Heaton, Pam F.. 2009. The Subjective Experience of Music in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169(1), pp. 326-331. ISSN 00778923

Bhatara, Anjali; Quintin, Eve-Marie; Heaton, Pam F.; Fombonne, Eric and Levitin, Daniel. 2009. 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. Child Neuropsychology, 15(4), pp. 375-396. ISSN 0929-7049

O'Brien, Justin; Tsermentseli, Stella; Cummins, Omar; Happe, Francesca; Heaton, Pam F. and Spencer, Janine. 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), pp. 383-394. ISSN 0300-4430

Bhatara, Anjali; Quintin, Eve-Marie; Heaton, Pam F.; Fombonne, Eric and Levitin, Daniel. 2009. The Effect of Music on Social Attribution in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Child Neuropsychology, 15(4), pp. 375-396. ISSN 0929-7049

Heaton, Pam F.. 2009. Assessing musical skills in autistic children who are not savants. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1522), pp. 1443-1447. ISSN 0962-8436

Heaton, Pam F. and Allen, Rory. 2009. “With Concord of Sweet Sounds…”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169(1), pp. 318-325. ISSN 00778923

Allen, Rory; Hill, Elisabeth L. and Heaton, Pam F.. 2009. `Hath charms to soothe . . .': An exploratory study of how high-functioning adults with ASD experience music. Autism, 13(1), pp. 21-41. ISSN 1362-3613

Järvinen-Pasley, Anna; Wallace, Gregory L.; Ramus, Franck; Happe, Francesca and Heaton, Pam F.. 2008. Enhanced perceptual processing of speech in autism. Developmental Science, 11(1), pp. 109-121. ISSN 1363-755X

Heaton, Pam F.; Hudry, K.; Ludlow, A. and Hill, Elisabeth L.. 2008. Superior discrimination of speech pitch and its relationship to verbal ability in autism spectrum disorders. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 25, pp. 771-782.

Heaton, Pam F.; Davis, Robert and Happe, F.. 2008. Heaton, P., Davis, R., & Happe, F. (2008). Exceptional Absolute Pitch Perception for spoken words in an able adult with autism. Neuropsychologia. 46, 2095–2098. Neuropsychologia, 46(7), pp. 2095-2098. ISSN 0028-3932

Heaton, Pam F.; Ludlow, Amanda and Roberson, Debi. 2008. When less is more: Poor discrimination but good colour memory in autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2(1), pp. 147-156. ISSN 17509467

Heaton, Pam F.; Williams, Kerry; Cummins, Omar and Happe, Francesca. 2008. Autism and pitch processing splinter skills: A group and subgroup analysis. Autism, 12(2), pp. 203-219. ISSN 1362-3613

Heaton, Pam F.; Davis, Robert E. and Happe, Francesca. 2008. Research note: Exceptional absolute pitch perception for spoken words in an able adult with autism. Neuropsychologia, 46(7), pp. 2095-2098. ISSN 00283932

Ludlow, Amanda; Wilkins, Arnold J. and Heaton, Pam F.. 2008. Colored overlays enhance visual perceptual performance in children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2(3), pp. 498-515. ISSN 17509467

Järvinen-Pasley, Anna; Pasley, John and Heaton, Pam F.. 2008. Is the Linguistic Content of Speech Less Salient than its Perceptual Features in Autism? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(2), pp. 239-248. ISSN 0162-3257

Järvinen-Pasley, Anna; Peppé, Susan; King-Smith, Gavin and Heaton, Pam F.. 2008. The Relationship between Form and Function Level Receptive Prosodic Abilities in Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(7), pp. 1328-1340. ISSN 0162-3257

Heaton, Pam F.; Cummins, O.; Happe, F. and Williams, K.. 2007. Beyond perception: musical representation and on-line processing in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(7), pp. 1355-1360. ISSN 01623257

Järvinen-Pasley, Anna and Heaton, Pam F.. 2007. Evidence for reduced domain-specificity in auditory processing in autism. Developmental Science, 10(6), pp. 786-793. ISSN 1363-755X

Ludlow, Amanda; Wilkins, Arnold J. and Heaton, Pam F.. 2006. The Effect of Coloured Overlays on Reading Ability in Children with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(4), pp. 507-516. ISSN 0162-3257

Heaton, Pam F.; Pring, Linda and Hermelin, Beate. 2006. Musical Processing in High Functioning Children with Autism. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 930(1), pp. 443-444. ISSN 00778923

Heaton, Pam F.. 2005. Interval and contour processing in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35(6), pp. 787-793. ISSN 01623257

Heaton, Pam F. and Wallace, G.. 2004. Annotation: The savant syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(5), pp. 899-911. ISSN 00219630

Heaton, Pam F.. 2003. Pitch memory, labeling and disembedding in autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(4), pp. 543-551. ISSN 00219630

Hermelin, Beate; Pring, Linda; Buhler, Michael; Wolff, Sula and Heaton, Pam F.. 1999. A Visually Impaired Savant Artist: Interacting Perceptual and Memory Representations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40(7), pp. 1129-1139. ISSN 0021-9630

Heaton, Pam F.; Hermelin, Beate and Pring, Linda. 1999. Can children with autistic spectrum disorders perceive affect in music? An experimental investigation. Psychological Medicine, pp. 1405-1410.

Valentine, Tim and Heaton, Pam F.. 1999. An evaluation of the fairness of police line-ups and video identifications. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 13(S1), S59-S72. ISSN 08884080

Heaton, Pam F.; Pring, Linda and Hermelin, Beate. 1999. A pseudo-savant: A case of exceptional musical splinter skills. Neurocase, 5(6), pp. 503-509. ISSN 1355-4794

Heaton, Pam F.; Hermelin, Beate and Pring, Linda. 1998. Autism and pitch processing: a precursor for savant musical ability? Music Perception, 15(3), pp. 291-305. ISSN 0730-7829