Naomi Sweller

Associate Professor

  • 455 Citations
  • 14 h-Index

Research output per year

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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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Research Outputs

I should have known better: development of a self-report measure of gullibility

Teunisse, A. K., Case, T. I., Fitness, J. & Sweller, N., 1 Mar 2020, In : Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 46, 3, p. 408-423 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Learning stories through gesture: gesture’s effects on child and adult narrative comprehension

    Dargue, N. & Sweller, N., Mar 2020, In : Educational Psychology Review. 32, 1, p. 249–276 28 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
  • The effects of observing and producing gestures on Japanese word learning

    Sweller, N., Shinooka-Phelan, A. & Austin, E., Jun 2020, In : Acta Psychologica. 207, p. 1-11 11 p., 103079.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle