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Dr Christianne Pollock

School of Social Science and Social Work (Faculty of Health, Education and Society)


2007- present PhD student. 


2007 MSc (Distinction) Psychological Research Methods, University of Plymouth

1997 DPhil (Biology), University of York

1992 BA (Hons) Zoology, Oxford University

Research interests

My research uses Conversation Analysis (CA) to examine the interactions of children with severe autism. Despite the recent increase in research into autism there has been little consideration given to those at the more severe end of the spectrum. Autism has often been examined in an experimental situation, an environment which highlights deficits. Studying autism in a naturalistic environment where interactions take place within a framework of shared understanding and mutual knowledge offers the opportunity for competencies to be observed.

My work to date has included looking at how different types of therapy alter interactions and how children work with co-participants to construct conversation. 

I am particularly interested in how children with severe autism engage in interactions that could be recognised as 'teasing' as this raises potent questions about a child's understanding of other minds. I have been examining this as part of a wider project looking at how children with severe autism use, and respond to laughter.

This research by focusing on what children with severe autism can do as accomplishments with others, counteracts the 'deficit' view often associated with standard psychological theories of autism.

I am a member of CARP (Conversation Analysis Research in Plymouth) which meets weekly.

Refereed Conference Contributions

Pollock, C. and Auburn T. Joking in teaching contexts by children with severe autism. International Conference on Conversation Analysis, 4-8 July 2010, Mannheim, Germany, 

Pollock, C. and Auburn T. 'Laughter is the shortest distance between two people' (Victor Borge). Laughter in the interactions of children with severe autism. International Conference on Laughter and Humour in Interaction. Huddersfield, 24-25 June 2009

Pollock, C, Auburn, T., Clibbens, J. and Phillips, C. (2008) Interactions of Children with Severe Autism. International Meeting for Autism Research, London, England. 15th – 17th May, 2008

Additional information

Winner of 2006 Business Ideas Challenge

I am a partner in CA Transcription Services which provides specialist transcription services to qualitative researchers. 


CA Transcription Services(my business website)