After completing my Bachelors degree in Psychology, English Literature and Political Science (1975) and Masters in Psychology (1977) in Hyderabad India, I did my PhD at Edinburgh University (between 1977 and 1983). Returning to India I taught Psychology at the University College for Women in Hyderabad for three years. I have been teaching at British universities from 1986.
I am interested in the origins and development of social cognition, mainly in young infants. For twenty years now I have been exploring the role of emotional engagement in social understanding, focusing on the everyday, ordinary engagements (such as teasing and joking and showing-off or feeling shy) which often tend to get ignored in mainstream theories. I am Director of the Centre for Situated Action and Communication which explores ideas of context and situation on different kinds of psychological phenomena. My interest in engagement as the route to understanding has led me to questions about the nature and influence of cultural engagements on social understanding.
In the context of my broader interest in infant social cognition, I have become fascinated by kinematics and motor development. I am currently intrigued - in relation to infants, in relation to adults and indeed in relation to psychologists - how engagement must constantly either alternate or somehow integrate with dis-engagement. I have also become very interested in emotional openness and genuineness of connection in everyday life.
I was funded by the EU 6th framework for a project on the origins and development of compliance with directives (conducted in Hyderabad and in Portsmouth).
I am currently funded by the Marie Curie Initial Training Network TESIS (Towards an Embodied Science of Intersubjectivity) with the Universities of Heidelberg, San Sebastian, Parma, Copenhagen, Munich, Hertfordshire, Arhus, Chieti, and with Lego Learning Institute, and Springer Science.