Students Staff

26 October 2014

Professor Christine Temple 1958-2014

Professor Christine Temple

Professor Christine Temple

It is with great sadness that the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex informs you of the death of Emeritus Professor Christine Temple. Christine had been a member of the University for 23 years and served as the Founding Professor and first Head of the Department of Psychology. Christine, who only retired through ill health in the summer, died at St Helena Hospice in Colchester on Wednesday 22 October.

Christine came to Essex from Royal Holloway where she had established and directed the Developmental Neuropsychology Unit. A first-class honours graduate from the University of St Andrews in her native Scotland, she studied for her MA at the University of California and undertook her doctoral studies at Oxford University.

Christine’s doctoral research at Oxford University under the supervision of John Marshall brought her immediate international prominence. In collaboration with Freda Newcombe, his colleague at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, Marshall had earlier published a ground-breaking account of the reading performance of individuals with acquired dyslexia following brain injury.

Christine’s research successfully extended Marshall and Newcombe’s dual-route model of word recognition to developmental reading disorders. In a series of classic papers in the early 1980s, Christine convincingly demonstrated that individuals with developmental dyslexia could suffer from impairments in single word reading that were just as selective as those that had recently been observed in cases of acquired phonological dyslexia and acquired surface dyslexia. In the next few years,

Christine extended her work into areas such as the study of children’s arithmetical disorders and developmental word finding impairments. In so doing, she pioneered the use of single case studies in the investigation of developmental disorders and was instrumental in the emergence of an area of research known as developmental cognitive neuropsychology. In her monograph of the same name published in 1997, Christine demonstrated how this modular approach to the study of developmental disorders could provide insights into the nature of cognitive development in a variety of different areas. Such work set in train a debate about the merits of using models of adult performance to explain cognitive development that continues today.

Between 2004 and 2010, a lot of Christine’s time was occupied by her work as a pro-vice chancellor and member of the University of Essex’s senior management team. Nevertheless, she maintained a steady output of important research into the effects on cognitive development of genetic impairments including Williams syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome and Turner syndrome. A highlight of these latter years was the work of her PhD students, Sally Robinson and Paul Richardson, who extended the single case approach to studies of developmental amnesia and childhood semantic memory impairment.

The Department remembers Christine for her energy, intellect and vision. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends and colleagues.

It is anticipated that Christine's funeral will take place at 2pm on Wednesday 5 November at Weeley Crematorium, Colchester Road, Weeley, Essex, CO16 9JP. The funeral will be followed by a Reception at Wivenhoe House at the University of Essex's Colchester Campus from 3pm.

Professor Rick Hanley and Professor Geoff Ward, Department of Psychology, University of Essex

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