Teaching Dissertation Supervision Interests

  • Infant social cognition and communication in typical and atypical populations, including joint attention and early musicality;
  • Selected topics in early development, particularly communication, language and music;

  • The relationship between language and music, and selected topics in music psychology.


Externally funded ongoing projects

BPS Seminars on The Music of Language, the Language of Music (2010-2011). (£3,000) – 2010-11.

SEMPRE (Arnold Bentley Fund) Speech and music tone processing in function of musical and language background (tonal v non-tonal) - with Marcia Chew (named RA) and Martin Rohrmeier (Cambridge Centre for Music and Science). Starting October 2010 (£3,000).

BRITISH ACADEMY Small Grant Scheme, “If you are happy and you know it ....": Can preschoolers recognise emotion in music?, with Joel Swaine (Cambridge University, Centre for Music & Science) and Marcia Chew (named RA). Starting October 2010 (£7,250).

NUFFIELD Small Grant Scheme, Young children recognition of emotion in the human voice, with Martin Rohrmeier (Cambridge, Centre for Music and Science) and Jana Martiskova (named RA). Starting January 2011 (£17,900).

DFG (PAntrag im Programm „Initiierung und Intensivierung bilateraler Kooperationen“ der DFG, Deutschland – Großbritannien ), The intertwining of Speech and Song: is there a relationship between perceptive and interactional aspects of parental singing and language development? - with Simone Falk (LMU Munich). Starting spring 2011 (4,900 Euro).


Selected Publications/ Seminars/ Presentations

Franco, F., Brunswick, N., & de Mornay Davies, P. (2010). Music of language, language of music. The Psychologist, 11 (3), 913-914.

Franco, F. (2011). Embodied attention in infant pointing. In J. Metcalfe & H. Torrace (Eds), Agency & Joint Attention.Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

Franco, F., & Martiskova, J. (2011). Can young children recognize emotion in the human voice? Proceedings of Trnava Annual Psychology Conference (exact title not available yet). Trnava (Slovakia): Typi Universitatis Tyrnaviensis (in press).

Major, A., Zotovic, M., & Franco, F. (2010). Preschoolers understanding of implicit causality in emotion, cognition and vision verbs: A comparison between Serbian and Hungarian monolingual children. Psihologija, 43 (1), 185-196 (in Engish, DOI: 10.2298/PS11002187M).

Franco, F., Perucchini, P. & March, B. (2009). Is infant initiation of joint attention by pointing affected by type of interaction? Social Development, 18 (1), 51-76.

D'Odorico, L., Assanelli, A., Franco, F., & Jacob, V. (2007). A follow-up study on Italian Late Talkers: Development of Language, Short-Term Memory, Phonological Awareness, Impulsiveness and Attention. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28, 157-169.

Levorato, C., Franco, F., Tasso, A. & Russell, J. (2005). Implicit causality in verbs of visual perception: A crosslinguistic comparison between English and Italian. Giornale Italiano di Psicologia, XXXII N. 3, 131-154.

Assanelli, A., D'Odorico, L., Franco, F. & Salerni, N. (2005). Language delay and joint attention. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, IX N.2, 289-314.

Franco, F. (2005). Infant pointing: Harlequin, servant of two masters. In N. Eilan, C. Hoerl, T. McCormack, J. Roessler (Eds.) Joint attention: Communication and other minds. Problems in philosophy and psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press (129-164).

Butterworth, G., Franco, F., McKenzie, B., Graupner, L. & Todd, B. (2002). Dynamic aspects of visual event perception and the production of pointing by human infants. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20, 1-24.

Franco, F., Gagliano, A. (2001). Toddler's pointing when joint attention is obstructed. First Language, 21, 289-321.

Russell, J., Hill, E. & Franco, F. (2001. )The role of belief veracity in understanding intentions-in-action: Preschool children's performance on the transparent intentions task. Cognitive Development, 16, 775-792.

Franco, F., Levorato, C., Tasso, A. & Russell, J. (2000). Cross-linguistic developmental evidence? of implicit causality in visual perception and cognition verbs. In M. Perkins S. Howard (Eds.) New directions in language development and disorders. New York: Plenum (pp. 189-198).

Franco, F. (1997). The development of meaning in infancy: Early communication and social understanding. In S. Hala (Ed.) The development of social cognition. Hove: Psychology Press (pp. 95-160).

Franco, F., Butterworth, G. (1996). Pointing and social awareness: Declaring and requesting in the second year. Journal of Child Language, 23, 307-336.

Jenkins, J., Franco, F., Dolins, F. & Sewell, A. (1995). Toddlers' reactions to negative emotion displays: Forming models of relationships. Infant Behavior and Development, 18, 273-281.

Franco, F., & Wishart, J. (1995). The use of pointing and other gestures by young children with Down syndrome. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 100/2, 160-182.

D'Odorico, L., & Franco, F. (1991). Selective production of vocalisations in different communication contexts. Journal of Child Language, 18, 475-99.

Franco, F. & Arcuri, L. (1990). Implicit causality of verbs: Effects of semantic valence. British Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 61-70.

Franco, F., & D'Odorico, L.(1988). Baby Talk from the perspective of discourse production.Journal of Psycholinguistic Research,17, 29-63.

D'Odorico, L., &Franco, F. (1985). The determinants of Baby Talk: Relationship to context. Journal of Child Language, 12, 567-586.

D'Odorico, L., Franco, F., & Vidotto, G. (1985). Temporal characteristics in infant cry and non-cry vocalisations. Language and Speech, 1985, 28, 29-46.

Franco, F. (1984). Differences in manner of phonation of infant cries: relationship to communicative context.Language and Speech,27, 59-78.


Recent conference presentations

Major, A., Franco, F., & Zotovic, M. Adult’s and preschooler’s understanding of implicit causality. International conference on New trends in Psychology NoviSad (Serbia), 23-24 October 2009.

Major, A., Franco, F., & Zotovic, M. “Head is for thinking, heart is for loving”- Naïve theories in preschoolers and adults. Conference “Banjalucki novembarski susreti”. Banja Luka (Bosnia and Hercegovina), 27-28 November 2009.

Franco, F., Baluch, B., Çatal, T., Danaye Tousi, M., Leivo, K., Major, A., Sigger, J., Skoczen, S., Zotovic, M. Implicit causality revisited: A cross-linguistic study of different domains of verbs in Western and Non-Western languages. 1st Joint Conference of the EPS and SEPEX. Granada (Spain), 15-17th April 2010.

Franco, F., Baluch, B., Çatal, T., Danaye Tousi, M., Leivo, K., Major, A., Sigger, J., Skoczen, S., Zotovic, M. Implicit causality revisited: A cross-cultural study of causal biases in interpersonal scenarios from different domains of verbs. 4th International Conference on Language, Culture and Mind (LCM 4). Turku (Finland), 21st-23rd June 2010.

Franco, F., Baluch, B., Çatal, Danaye Tousi, M., Leivo, K., Major, A., Sigger, J., Skoczen, S., Zotovic, M. Language, cognition or culture? Implicit causality and folk psychological beliefs in different domains of verbs in eight Western and non-Western languages. 3rd UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference (UK-CLC3). University of Hertfordshire, 6-8th July 2010 (accepted).

Franco, F., Falk, S., & Swaine, J. Sing for Me Mama: Maternal singing and language development in infancy. 1st Language & Music BPS Seminar (July 2010).

Major, A., Franco, F., & Zotovic, M. et al. Family dynamics and socio-political transitions: A cross—cultural comparison of adolescents. 5th International Conference on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. London, 12-13 July 2010.

Franco, F., & Martiskova, J. Can preschoolers identify emotion in the human voice? British Psychological Society – Developmental Section Annual Conference. London, 13-14 September 2010.

Franco, F., & Martiskova, J. A new test of preschoolers ability to match emotion in the human voice/face. Annual Psychology Conference, Trnava University (Slovakia), 15 October 2010.

Franco, F., Chew, M., and Rohrmeier, M. Tone and melody processing by musicians and speakers of tonal and non-tonal languages. Presented at the 2nd Language & Music BPS Seminar (14 December 2010).

Franco, F., Mattock, K., & Turgeon, M. BOUNCE PROJECT: A mechanism underlying song facilitation of speech segmentation in infants. To be presented at the 3rd Language & Music BPS Seminar (September 2011).


Conferences organised

BPS Seminars on The Music of Language, the Language of Music (2010-2011) - three interdisciplinary international meetings as follows:

1. Development / Evolution, 19-20 July 2010 (London, Middlesex University)

2. Meaning / Entrainment, 13-14 December 2010 (Cambridge, Centre for Music and Science)

3. Pragmatics / Literacy, July 2011 (London, Middlesex University)


Scientific Programme:

Fabia Franco (Middlesex), Ian Cross (Cambridge) & Simone Falk (Munich)


Organization: Language & Communication Research Group (Middlesex) & Centre for Music and Science (Cambridge)






Administrative and professional duties/roles

  • Chair of the Psychology Ethics team.
  • babyLab @ Middlesex (Director).
  • Member of the Psychology Department Research Committee.
  • PSY3014 Language Communication & Literacy, Module Leader
  • PSY3011 Observation Workshop leader and Developmental Psychology tutor (early development)
  • Language and Communication Research Group Co-ordinator

Languages spoken

Italian and French (fluent), Spanish (basic).

  • Language and Communication;
  • Developmental psychology, particularly early development;
  • Observational methods.
  • Social, cognitive and communicative development in infancy.
  • Joint attention.
  • Language and cognition in young children.
  • Music psychology.