Megan Spencer-Smith


Accepting PhD Students


Research output per year

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Personal profile


I am a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences. I am Deputy Lead of the Neurodevelopment Program at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Sciences at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

I completed a PhD in the area of child neuropsychology at the University of Melbourne (2008), and during this time spent three months as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada (2006). My postdoctoral research has been conducted at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (2008-2011) and University of Melbourne (2009) in Australia. I was a Swiss National Science Foundation Visiting Fellow at the Bern Children’s Hospital (2011) in Switzerland, and a Department of Neuroscience Research Fellow at the Karolinska Institute (2011-2013) in Sweden.


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Research interests

My research aims to achieve a deeper understanding of the development of children's cognitive abilities, behavioural and academic functioning, and how to improve these. The themes of my research are: 

1. Cognitive training in paediatric populations: My recent research focuses on the conditions under which training leads to long-term benefits, the application of cognitive training in paediatric populations, and identifying the subgroups of children who benefit most from training.

2. Development of cognitive abilities, academic and behavioural functions: Much of my research has centred on understanding variability in developmental outcomes. I work with normally developing children and clinical populations, including children born preterm or with agenesis of the corpus callosum.

I conduct cohort studies and randomised controlled trials using a combination of measures, including neuropsychological, behavioual and clinical assessments, and neuroimaging.

Monash teaching commitment

PSY2071 - Developmental Psychology

PSY4130 - Developmental Psychology and Clinical Neuroscience

PSY4271 - Psychological Assessment and Intervention

Research area keywords

  • child neuropsychology
  • academic performance
  • working memory
  • cognitive training
  • developmental cognitive neuroscience
  • executive function
  • mathematical performance

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Research Output

Callosal agenesis and congenital mirror movements: outcomes associated with DCC mutations

Spencer-Smith, M., Knight, J. L., Lacaze, E., IRC5 Consortium, Depienne, C., Lockhart, P. J., Richards, L. J., Heron, D., Leventer, R. J. & Robinson, G. A., 14 Feb 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Tracking regional brain growth up to age 13 in children born term and very preterm

Thompson, D. K., Matthews, L. G., Alexander, B., Lee, K. J., Kelly, C. E., Adamson, C. L., Hunt, R. W., Cheong, J. L. Y., Spencer-Smith, M., Neil, J. J., Seal, M. L., Inder, T. E., Doyle, L. W. & Anderson, P. J., 4 Feb 2020, In : Nature Communications. 11, 1, 11 p., 696.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Working memory training and brain structure and function in extremely preterm or extremely low birth weight children

Kelly, C. E., Thompson, D. K., Chen, J., Josev, E. K., Pascoe, L., Spencer-Smith, M. M., Adamson, C., Nosarti, C., Gathercole, S., Roberts, G., Lee, K. J., Doyle, L. W., Seal, M. L. & Anderson, P. J., 15 Feb 2020, In : Human Brain Mapping. 41, 3, p. 684-696 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Anterior and posterior commissures in agenesis of the corpus callosum: Alternative pathways for attention processes?

Siffredi, V., Wood, A. G., Leventer, R. J., Vaessen, M., McIlroy, A., Anderson, V., Vuilleumier, P. & Spencer-Smith, M. M., 1 Dec 2019, In : Cortex. 121, p. 454-467 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Child Motivation and Family Environment Influence Outcomes of Working Memory Training in Extremely Preterm Children

Pascoe, L., Spencer-Smith, M., Wiley, J., Lee, K. J., Roberts, G., Josev, E., Nosarti, C., Seal, M., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Doyle, L. W., Thompson, D. & Anderson, P., 3 Jun 2019, In : Journal of Cognitive Enhancement. 3, p. 396-404 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review