Sarah Barrett

Research group:
Developmental & Health Psychology
029 208 70482
Tower Building, Park Place

Research summary

I am interested in imagination in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and its possible relationship to other aspects of ASD such as repetitive behaviour and anxiety.

Teaching summary

Level 4/5 (Year 1) Practical Tutor
Level 5 (Year 2) Practical Support

Selected publications (2014 onwards)


Full list of publications


Research topics and related papers

My MSc examined the differences between measures of restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRB) in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), as well as their relationship to imagination and sensory symptoms.  High levels of RRB in ASD may be a result of underlying difficulties with imagination, but this has not yet been thoroughly researched.  I will be continuing this work in my PhD by developing tasks to assess aspects of imagination such as thinking about the future.  I will also be looking at the relationship between imagination, RRB and anxiety in ASD.  Imagination has a theoretical relationship to anxiety; however this has not been explored in typical development or in developmental disorders.  RRB has been shown to be related to anxiety so I will also explore the possibility of a three-way relationship.


Economic & Social Research Council, School of Psychology

Research group

Developmental & Health Psychology
Wales Autism Research Centre

Research collaborators

Prof Sue Leekam (1st Supervisor)
Dr Catherine Jones (2nd Supervisor)
Wales Autism Research Centre

Undergraduate education

2008-2011: BA (Hons) Experimental Psychology, Somerville College, University of Oxford

Postgraduate education

2013-2016: PhD Psychology, Cardiff University
2012-2013: MSc Social Science Research Methods (Psychology Pathway), Cardiff University


2013-2014: Year 1 & 2 Practical Tutor, Cardiff University
2012-2013: Note Taker, Cardiff Metropolitan University Disability Service
2011-2012: Teaching Assistant (Autistic Spectrum Conditions Base), Cathays High School