Gnanathusharan Rajendran

Professor, Dr

  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Willing to speak to media


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in how digital technologies influence the social, emotional and cognitive development of both typicallly and atypically developing (e.g. autistic) children and adults - and also using developmental theories in cognitive, socially assitive and developmental robotics, for example in Trust in Human-Robot Interaction.



I 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. I 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. I joined Heriot-Watt University in 20212 as a Reader before being promoted to Professor.

Research Group Contact Details

The Developmental Psychology in Action Lab is based in the Department of Psychology,  School of Social Sciences (SoSS) at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. We research how people, especially children, use new technology. Working with interdisciplinary partners in Computer Science at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and Heriot-Watt Robotics Lab, Heriot-Watt Social Robotics Group and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) Group, Digital Education, EPSCR's Human-Like Computing Network and Engineering –  we develop and evaluate technologies at the cutting edge of human computer interaction. 

Our theoretical heart is psychological, notably developmental theory of both typical and atypical development, which we use to inform all our work. Our focus is across many disciplines from STE(A)M (science, technology, engineering [Arts] and maths) to sport science and outdoor education. We are currently moving to reproducibility through the Open Science Framework.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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