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Personal profile


I am a developmental cognitive neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychological Sciences. I am Deputy Director of the Attention and Memory Program at the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences 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 skills, academic and behavioural functioning, and how to improve these outcomes. The themes of my research are: 

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

2. Development of cognitive skills, 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 cognitive, behavioual, neuroimaging and genetics.

Monash teaching commitment

PSY2071 - Developmental Psychology

PSY4130 - Developmental Psychology and Clinical Neuroscience

PSY4271 - Psychological Assessment and Intervention


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

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

Research Output 2008 2019

Dorsal language stream anomalies in an inherited speech disorder

Liégeois, F. J., Turner, S. J., Mayes, A., Bonthrone, A. F., Boys, A., Smith, L., Parry-Fielder, B., Mandelstam, S., Spencer-Smith, M., Bahlo, M., Scerri, T. S., Hildebrand, M. S., Scheffer, I. E., Connelly, A. & Morgan, A. T., 1 Apr 2019, In : Brain : a journal of neurology. 142, 4, p. 966-977 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Influence of Fathers' Early Parenting on the Development of Children Born Very Preterm and Full Term

McMahon, G. E., Spencer-Smith, M. M., Pace, C. C., Spittle, A. J., Stedall, P., Richardson, K., Cheong, J. L. Y., Doyle, L. W., Anderson, P. J. & Treyvaud, K., Feb 2019, In : Journal of Pediatrics. 205, p. 195-201 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Neonatal brain abnormalities and brain volumes associated with goal setting outcomes in very preterm 13-year-olds

Haebich, K. M., Willmott, C., Scratch, S. E., Pascoe, L., Lee, K. J., Spencer-Smith, M. M., Cheong, J. L. Y., Inder, T. E., Doyle, L. W., Thompson, D. K. & Anderson, P. J., 1 Jan 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Brain Imaging and Behavior. 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

A neuropsychological profile for agenesis of the corpus callosum? Cognitive, academic, executive, social, and behavioral functioning in school-age children

Siffredi, V., Anderson, V., McIlroy, A., Wood, A. G., Leventer, R. J. & Spencer-Smith, M. M., 1 May 2018, In : Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 24, 5, p. 445-455 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Can working memory training improve children's sleep?

Quach, J., Spencer-Smith, M., Anderson, P. J. & Roberts, G., 1 Jul 2018, In : Sleep Medicine. 47, p. 113-116 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review