Naomi Sweller

Associate Professor

  • 334 Citations
  • 11 h-Index
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Personal profile


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. I conduct research in the broad field of cognitive development, more specifically examining the use of gesture by both child and adult learners and communicators, as well as concept learning by children and adults. I have partnered extensively with researchers in the fields of early childhood education and special education, as well as education more generally.

I completed my doctoral study, titled "Learning and decision processes in classification and feature inference" at UNSW in 2007. After completing Postdoctoral positions at the University of Sydney in the Department of Psychology and at Macquarie University in the then Institute of Early Childhood, I moved to a continuing academic position in the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University.

Research interests

Cognitive development; gesture; learning; communication; early childhood; concept learning


I teach primarily in research methods and statistics. My current teaching duties are on the upper level undergraduate, Honours and Masters of Research statistics units:

  • PSY 349 Design and Statistics III
  • PSY 418 Design and Statistics IV
  • PSYC718 Advanced Research Design and Statistics

Research student supervision

I supervise students on a range of topics, primarily in the areas of:

  • Children’s use of gesture in their reporting of previously experienced events,
  • The use of gesture in performing novel cognitive tasks, and
  • The consequences of both observing and producing gesture for task performance.

Community engagement

I am currently the Chair of the Faculty of Human Sciences Research Ethics Sub-Committee, and a member of the Department of Psychology Learning and Teaching Committee. 

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Gestures Medicine & Life Sciences
parents Social Sciences
child care Social Sciences
teacher Social Sciences
school Social Sciences
Parents Medicine & Life Sciences
childhood Social Sciences
student Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2009 2022

Research Outputs 2004 2019

Emotional Intelligence
Self Report
Statistical Factor Analysis

When our hands help us understand: a meta-analysis into the effects of gesture on comprehension

Dargue, N., Sweller, N. & Jones, M. P., Aug 2019, In : Psychological Bulletin. 145, 8, p. 765-784 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


A preliminary study of the internal consistency and validity of the Traditional Chinese adaptation of the Impact on Family Scale

Tait, K., Sweller, N., Carter, M., Fung, F., Hu, A. & Djajic, J., 2018, In : International Journal of Special Education. 33, 1, p. 77-93 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Cross-Cultural Comparison
intercultural comparison
Hong Kong

Caught between a rock and a hard place: disruptive boys’ views on mainstream and special schools in New South Wales, Australia

Graham, L. J., Van Bergen, P. & Sweller, N., 2018, Alternative educational programmes, schools and social justice. McGregor, G., Thomson, P., Pennacchia, J. & Mills, M. (eds.). London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, p. 35-54 20 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch

Practice Guidelines
Intellectual Disability
best practice
Mental Health