Dr Claire Barlow

Course Director

School of Health, Science and Wellbeing

I graduated in 1998 from Staffordshire University with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. I then secured a part-time lecturing post at Newcastle-Under-Lyme College, teaching A’ level and GCSE Psychology. I then returned to Staffordshire University in 1999 to begin my PhD in Developmental Psychology (focusing on cognitive development and children’s pictures) and completing my PhD in 2002. I have worked at Staffordshire University since 2003 as a lecturer/senior lecturer in Psychology.

Academic qualifications

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2013.

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Professional and Higher Education, Staffordshire University, 2005

  • PhD in Psychology, Staffordshire University, 2002, Thesis: Rigidity in children’s drawings and its relationship with representational change

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology (First Class), Staffordshire University, 1999


My area of expertise is developmental psychology, specifically the understanding and use of children’s pictures.

Research interests

My research has primarily focused on children’s drawings. My PhD involved testing a cognitive-developmental model through the pictorial medium, specifically rigidity in children’s drawings and its relationship with representational change. Other research projects have focused on the development of expressive drawing, and more specifically how this compares to the development of representational drawing skill, longitudinal development of expressive drawing, autistic children’s expressive drawing ability and the use of drawing as a memory aid. I am interested in research that has practical benefits for children. I am currently carrying out projects to develop a drawing technique to facilitate children’s eyewitness testimony and am also interested in the impact of birth season on children’s academic confidence.


I teach on a range of modules although my main interest is in developmental psychology. Specifically I contribute to the following modules: 'Growing and Changing' (module leader), “Foundations of Psychology”, “Perspectives in Psychology”, “Child Psychology: Theory to Practice” and “Typical and Atypical Development”. As Link Tutor on BSc (Hons) Psychology with a Foundation Year I am also involved in the quality assurance and management of the modules on this award. Furthermore I am a personal and academic guidance tutor for a group of level 4, level 5 and level 6 students as well as being a final year project supervisor on the “Psychology Project” and “Psychology Dissertation” modules.


  • Jolley, R.P., Barlow, C.M., Rotenberg, K. J. & Cox, M.V. (2017). Linear and U-shaped trends in the development of expressive drawing. Paper presented at the meeting the British Psychological Society (Developmental Section), Stratford-upon-Avon (13-15 September, 2017).

  • Jolley, R.P., Barlow, C.M., Krahenbuhl, S. & Capper, J. (2016). Children’s Event Memory Recall Using Drawings Within ‘Achieving Best Evidence’ Police Interview Guidelines. Paper Presented at the BPS Developmental Section Conference, Belfast, Sept 14-17 Sept.

  • Jolley, R. P., Barlow, C. M., Rotenberg, K. J., & Cox, M. V. (2016). Linear and U-shape trends in the development of expressive drawing from preschoolers to normative and artistic adults. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 10, 309–324.

  • Jolley, R.P., O’Kelly, R., Barlow, C.M. & Jarrold, C. (2013) Expressive drawing ability in children with autism. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 31, 143-149.

  • Barlow, C. M., Jolley, R. P. & Hallam, J. L. (2011). Drawings as memory aids: Optimising the drawing method to facilitate young children’s recall. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25, 480-487.

  • Barlow, C. M., Jolley, R. P., White, D. G. & Galbraith, D. (2003). Rigidity in children’s
    drawings and its relation with representational change. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 86, 124-152.

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of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021