Thusha Rajendran

BSc (Hons.), MPhil, PhD

Reader in Psychology

+44 (0)131 451 3456
Room 1.14
Mary Burton Building
Heriot-Watt University
Roles and responsibilities

Research Leader.

Postgraduate supervisor.

Teaching responsibilities

Year 3: Research Methods and Analysis 5.


Thusha is primarily interested in developing and understanding the impact of new technologies on children. Thusha is also interested more generally in social, linguistic, and executive development.

Research Grants and Fellowships

2008-11: ESRC/EPSRC Technology Enhanced Learning programme: 'ECHOES II'. Lemon, O., Porayska-Pomsta, K., Good, J., Guldberg, K., Kay Bright, W., Pain, H., Rajendran, G., Smith, T., & Waller, A. (£1.2 million).

2008-09: Research and Development Grant, the University of Strathclyde (£8k): 'Investigating multitasking in adolescents with Asperger syndrome'.

2005-06: Developmental Trust Research Fund, University of Edinburgh (£5k): 'Investigating multi-tasking in Asperger syndrome using ICT'.

2003-04: ESRC Research Fellowship (£26k): 'Computer-mediated communication in autism and Asperger syndrome'.

Selected publications

Hislop, M., Sivanathan, A., Lim, T., Ritchie, J.M., Rajendran, G., & Louchart, S., (under review). Beyond simulators: Using F1 games to predict driver performance, learning and potential.

Rajendran, G. (2013). Virtual environments and autism: a developmental psychopathological approach. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 29(4), 334-347. 

Pritchett, R., Minnis, H., Puckering, C., Rajendran, G., & Wilson, P. (in press). Can behaviour during immunisation be used to identify attachment patterns? A feasibility study. International Journal of Nursing Studies.

Porayska-Pomsta, K., Frauenberger, C., Pain, H., Rajendran, G., Smith, T., Menzies, R.,...Lemon, O. (2012). Developing technology for autism: an interdisciplinary approach. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 16(2), 117-127. [Theme Issue on Technologies for Autism].

Rajendran, G., Law, A.S., Logie, R.H., van der Meulen, M.A., Fraser, D., & Corley, M. (2011). Investigating multitasking in high-functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorders using the Virtual Errands Task. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41, 1445-1454.

Allen, M.L., Haywood, S., Rajendran, G., & Branigan, H. (2011). Evidence for syntactic alignment in children with autism. Developmental Science, 14(3), 540-548.

Stieglitz Ham, H., Bartolo, A., Corley, M., Rajendran, G., Szabo, A., & Swanson, S. (2011). Exploring the relationship between gestural recognition and imitation: Evidence of dyspraxia in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41, 1-12.

Alcorn, A., Pain, H., Rajendran, G., Smith, T., Lemon, O., Porayska-Pomsta, K., Bernardini, S. (2011). Social communication between virtual characters and children with autism. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 6738, 7-14.

Ham, H.S., Bartolo, A., Corley, M., Swanson, S., & Rajendran, G. (2010). Case report: Selective deficit in the production of intransitive gestures in an individual with autism. Cortex, 46(3), 407-409.

Alloway, T.P., Rajendran. G., & Archibald, L.M.D. (2009). Working memory in children with developmental disorders. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42(4), 372-382.

Stieglitz Ham, H., Corley, M., Rajendran, G., Carletta, J., & Swanson, S. (2008). Brief Report: Imitation of meaningless gestures in adolescents with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(3), 569-573.

Rajendran, G., & Mitchell, P. (2007). Cognitive theories of autism. Developmental Review, 27(2), 224-260.

Rajendran, G., & Mitchell, P. (2006). Text chat as a tool for referential questioning in Asperger syndrome. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 49, 102-112.

Rajendran, G., Mitchell, P., & Rickards, H. (2005). How do individuals with Asperger syndrome respond to nonliteral language and innappropriate requests in computer-mediated communication? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35(4), 429-442.

Mitchell, P., Ropar, D., Ackroyd, K., & Rajendran, G. (2005). How perception impacts on drawings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(5), 996-1003.

Rajendran, G., & Mitchell, P. (2000). Computer mediated interaction in Asperger's syndrome: the Bubble Dialogue program. Computers and Education, 35, 187-207.

Publications under revision/review/preparation:

Rajendran, G., Fraser, D., Durkin, K., & Minnis, H. (submitted). Indiscriminate friendliness in maltreated adopted children.

Ham, H.S., Bartolo, A., Corley, M., Rajendran, G., & Swanson, S. (in prep.). The Comparison of Gesture Production Across Multiple Input Modalities in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Rajendran, G., & Corley, M. (in prep.). What does it take to characterise a Developmental Disorder?



Thusha graduated with undergraduate and masters degrees in Psychology from the University of Birmingham, followed by a PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of Nottingham. He was an ESRC Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, before becoming a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, and then a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. Thusha joined Heriot-Watt University in 2012 as a Reader.

Further information

Professional Memberships

Member of the British Psychological Society.

Chartered Scientist.

Member of the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.


In his spare time, Thusha practices Aikido at Edinburgh Aikido Club. He also enjoys swimming, running, cycling, and Latin dancing.