Abbie Cahoon
  • Phone+442870123617
  • Cromore Road, Coleraine Campus

    BT52 1SA Coleraine

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile



Dr Abbie Cahoon is a Lecturer in Psychology (Developmental and Cognitive) at Ulster University (UU). Abbie completed their PhD at UU in Developmental Psychology in 2019. Abbie’s doctoral thesis was titled, “Early mathematical learning: As easy as 1, 2, 3?”. Abbie worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at University College Dublin (UCD) from 2018 to 2020. Abbie then joined UU as a Research Associate from 2020 to 2021 before becoming a Lecturer in Developmental Psychology in 2021.


Research Focus

Dr Abbie Cahoon’s research has a specific specialism in early mathematical development and mathematical cognition. Abbie’s research focuses on investigating the impact of the home learning environment on early mathematical development through various mixed-method analyses. Abbie has a keen interest in the longitudinal development of early mathematical skills and early childhood education. Abbie is interested in the ways that children engage with and learn from their environments and the impact these interactions and learning opportunities have on early mathematical development across educational transitions.


Research Interests

Abbie’s doctoral thesis involved various methodologies including qualitative analyses, questionnaire development and validation of the measure called the Pre-School Home Mathematics Questionnaire (PHMQ), and the execution of a longitudinal research project. The longitudinal project aimed to understand how preschool children develop mathematical skills overtime, during their school transition from preschool to primary school education, considering social and cognitive factors that may influence mathematical development. The importance of this longitudinal research was to understand what impacted children’s mathematical development pathways, across children’s first school transition. This research demonstrated that some children persistent in mathematical difficulties due to their understanding of early numerical concepts, working memory and language ability. Abbie was recently successful in a research funding bid from Nuffield Foundation to robustly develop an intervention to support early mathematical skills in the year before children start formal schooling.


After her PhD, Abbie worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at University College Dublin (UCD) working on a large-scale longitudinal study called Children’s School Lives (CSL) funded by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA; 2018-2026). CSL explores the experiences of over 4000 children in 189 primary schools across Ireland providing Ireland’s first nationally representative study of primary schooling. Abbie’s research interests in this project included school transitions, mathematical concepts and outcomes, children’s motivation and wellbeing. Abbie has been involved in many longitudinal projects which have involved analysing data from both a person-centred and variable-centred approach.


Abbie joined UU in 2020 as a Research Associate working on an international project investigating child development cross-culturally across Mexico, Cuba, and the UK. Abbie was funded by the British Academy and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to replicate her PhD research and execute additional projects such as utilising wearable technology (i.e., Language ENvironment Analysis; LENA) to measure talk with children in the home environment. The questionnaire that Abbie developed and validated during her PhD measures the home learning environment (i.e., the PHMQ). This measure has been updated and validated for use in both Mexico and Cuba. Abbie is committed to Open Science practices demonstrated through her Open Science Framework profile (i.e., Here you can gain access to the PHMQ available in both English and Spanish, as well as R script and data used in a meta-analyses which investigated home-based interventions to improve literacy and mathematics outcomes for children between the ages of 3-5 years old.


Overall, Abbie’s research has involved international research collaborations (e.g., Mexico, Cuba, USA), longitudinal transitions in early childhood, experimental designs with children and young people and mixed-method analyses with multiple cohorts.


Research Awards

Abbie has contributed to successful research funding bids of over £700,000 in the following areas improving early mathematical skills by supporting the home learning environment (funded by Nuffield Foundation) and understanding the impact of the home environment on early mathematical development in a global context (funded by British Academy and the GCRF. Abbie has been successful in funding bids for research workshops (funded by Experimental Psychology Society and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Social Sciences Festival), rapid reviews (funded by Education Authority) and travel bursaries.



Abbie has lectured at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Some undergraduate modules include Introduction to Psychology (PSY131), Introduction to Research Methods (PSY105), Cognitive Psychology (PSY309), Developmental Psychology (PSY305) and Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology (PSY561). Abbie has lectured Professional Doctorate and Master students in Research Methods and Statistics.


Research Supervision

Abbie has supervised undergraduates and doctorial students to completion.



Abbie is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy. Abbie has been the Chairperson and Early Career Representative of the Centre of Longitudinal Studies Ireland (CLSI).

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
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Early mathematical learning: As easy as 1, 2, 3?


Award Date: 1 Jul 2019




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