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Dr Richard Jolley

  • Job title: Associate Professor
  • Department: School of Life Sciences and Education


My research interests lie in children’s use and understanding of representation, particularly in their making and understanding of pictures. I take a broad approach to this research area, studying research questions that include developmental, cognitive, aesthetic, educational, clinical, and cross-cultural perspectives. Issues and findings are linked back to more general aspects of children’s development. I have published a book on this topic (Children and Pictures: drawing and understanding. Wiley-Blackwell), which has been translated into Greek and Chinese. My research studies have been published in nearly 30 international peer-reviewed journal articles, and been funded by both the University and external funding bodies (e.g. the Leverhulme Trust). As well as disseminating research findings at over 50 UK and international conferences, I been invited to speak at several universities and to contribute to discussion panels at the University of Oxford. I have written reports for the Department of Education, OFSTED, QCA, and research findings have also been covered by the press and radio media.

My teaching responsibilities are primarily in child development. My teaching contributes to several child development modules, including the core BPS lifespan module, “Typical and Atypical Development”. My research interests feed into the final year option module, “Children and Pictures”. I am personal tutor to level 4 and level 5 tutees. Tutoring level 6 students includes project supervision, overseeing projects on a variety of issues within child development as well as topics relating to other areas of psychology. I have also supervised two PhD students to successful completion, and supervise masters students every year.

As the department’s PhD tutor I oversees all postgraduate students studying for an MPhil/PhD. In my research mentor role I support the research development of the department. I also run annual psychology department’s visiting speaker series.



Jolley, R.P. (2010). Children and Pictures: drawing and understanding. Oxford, UK: Wiley- Blackwell.

Jolley, R.P. (2018). Παιδιά και εικόνα: σχέδιο και κατανόηση (Greek translation of ‘Children and Pictures: drawing and understanding). Athens, Greece: Topos Books.

Jolley, R.P. (2018). 儿童与图画——解析儿童绘画心理. (Chinese translation of ‘Children and Pictures: drawing and understanding).

Book chapters

Jolley, R.P & Dessart, G. (submitted). Emotional expression in children’s drawings of God. In P-Y Brandt, Z.D. Robert, C. Cocco, D. Vinck and F. Darbellay (Eds.), When Children Draw Gods: a multicultural and interdisciplinary approach to children’s representations of supernatural agents. Springer.

Jolley, R.P. & Rose S.E. (2008). The relationship between production and comprehension of representational drawing. In C. Milbrath & H.M. Trautner (Eds.), Children’s understanding and production of pictures, drawing, and art: Theoretical and empirical approaches (pp. 207-235). Hogrefe and Huber.

Jolley, R.P. (2008). Children’s understanding of the dual nature of pictures. In C. Lange-Küttner & A. Vinter (Eds.), Drawing and Non-Verbal Intelligence: A Life-Span Perspective (pp. 86-103). Cambridge University Press.

Journal articles

Vivaldi, R., Jolley, R.P. & Rose, S.E. (2020). A systematic review of children’s understanding of the artist-picture relationship. Developmental Review, 55, pp (TBC).

Rose, S.E., & Jolley, R.P. (2019). Children’s Creative Intentions: Where do the ideas for their drawings come from? Journal of Creative Behavior, 54, 712-724.

Simpson, A., Al Ruwaili, R., Jolley, R.P., Leonard, H.C., Geeraert, N. & Riggs, K.J. (2019). Fine motor control underlies the association between response inhibition and drawing skill in early development. Child Development, 90, 911-923.

Rose, S.E. & Jolley, R.P. (2016). Drawing Development in Mainstream and Waldorf Steiner Schools Revisited. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 10, 447-457

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 pre-schoolers to adult artists. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 10, 309-324.

Brechet, C. & Jolley, R.P. (2014). The roles of emotional comprehension and representational drawing skill in children's expressive drawing. Infant and Child Development, 23, 457-470.

Riggs, K.J., Jolley, R.P., & Simpson, A. (2013). The role of inhibitory control in the development of human figure drawing in young children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 114, 537-542.

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.

Rose, S.E., Jolley, R.P., & Charman, A. (2012). An investigation of the expressive and representational drawing development in National Curriculum, Steiner and Montessori schools. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 6, 85-93.

Jolley, R.P. & Zhang, Z. (2012). How drawing is taught in Chinese infant schools. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 31, 30-43

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.

Burkitt, E., Jolley, R.P., & Rose, S.E. (2010). The attitudes and practices that shape children’s drawing experiences at home and at school. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 29, 257-270.

Rose, S.E., Jolley, R.P. & Burkitt, E. (2006). A review of children’s, teachers’ and parents’ influences on children’s drawing experience. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 25, 341-349.

Bekhit, N.S., Thomas, G.V., & Jolley, R.P. (2005). The use of drawing for psychological assessment in Britain: Survey findings. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 78, 205-217.

Jolley, R.P., Fenn, K. & Jones, L. (2004). The development of children's expressive drawing. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 22, 545-567.

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.

Bekhit, N. S., Thomas, G.V., Lalonde, S. & Jolley, R. (2002). Psychological assessment in clinical practice in Britain. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 9, 285-291.

Jolley, R. P. & Vulic-Prtoric, A. (2001). Croatian children’s experience of war is not reflected in the size and placement of emotive topics in their drawings. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40, 107-110.

Jolley, R.P., Knox, E., & Foster, S. (2000). The relationship between children’s production and comprehension of realism in drawing. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18, 557-582.

Zhi, Z. & Jolley, R. P. (1999). Child’s understanding of moods metaphorically expressed in abstract picture and its cultural relevance. Chinese Journal of Applied Psychology, 5, 25-30.

Thomas, G. V., Jolley, R. P., Robinson, E. J. & Champion, H. (1999). Realist errors in children’s responses to pictures and words as representations. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 74, 1-20.

Jolley, R. P., Zhi, Z. & Thomas, G. V. (1998). The development of understanding moods metaphorically expressed in pictures: A cross-cultural comparison. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29, 358-377.

Jolley, R. P., Zhi, Z. & Thomas, G. V. (1998). How focus of interest in pictures changes with age: A cross-cultural comparison. International Journal of Behavioural Development, 22, 127-149.

Thomas, G. V. & Jolley, R. P. (1998). Drawing conclusions: an examination of empirical and conceptual bases for psychological evaluation of children from their drawings. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 37, 127-139.

Zhi, Z., Jolley, R.P. & Thomas, G.V. (1998). A comparative study of children’s understanding of metaphorically expressed moods. Chinese Journal of Applied Psychology, 4, 3-8.

Zhi, Z., Jolley, R. P. & Thomas, G. V. (1997). Development of child perception in perceiving pictures: A Chinese-British comparison. Chinese Journal of Applied Psychology, 3, 32-38.

Jolley, R. P. & Thomas, G. V. (1995). Children’s sensitivity to metaphorical expression of mood in line drawings. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 12, 335-346.

Jolley, R. P. & Thomas, G. V. (1994). The development of sensitivity to metaphorical expression of moods in abstract art. Educational Psychology, 14, 437-450.

Conferences/invited speakers

  • Presented around 50 talks at various UK and international conferences
  • Invited to University of Oxford discussion panels on “Art and the Brain” (2020) and “The Decline in the Arts” (2018)