Dr Lou Thomas
My main role is as the research manager on the national autism team, which is part of the Learning Disability and Autism Programme at NHS England. Alongside this, I am an honorary researcher (continuing on from my postdoc) at the Centre for Autism at the University of Reading, with Dr. Cathy Manning, and a visiting lecturer in the psychology department at Royal Holloway, University of London. I also host the PsychologiCALL podcast.
I am autistic, and an ADHDer (both adult diagnoses). I am passionate about increasing the involvement of autistic people into research about autism. I am open to talking about my experiences both from a personal and a research perspective!
Postdoctoral (/honorary researcher role) research
I am exploring sensory processing in autistic and non-autistic children using behavioural tasks and computational modelling. I am currently recruiting children and adolescents aged 6-14. You can learn more about the study I am running by checking out the two related pre-registration documents, find them here, and here.
My PhD research (with Dr. Josh Balsters at Royal Holloway, University of London) focused on using a Bayesian approach to explore individual differences in reward processing and contagion of value preferences, using computational modelling and neuroimaging (fMRI). Find out more here. I submitted my thesis in May 2021, and passed my viva with no corrections in July 2021. My viva examiners were Dr. Joe Bathelt, and Dr. Rebecca Lawson.
I am the current host for the PsychologiCALL podcast, and have recorded one full season, and season 4 episodes are currently being recorded and released. Find out more about the podcast, and listen to all the episodes here or on your podcast app!
If you’ve got a paper that you would like to come onto the podcast to talk about, please don’t hesitate to email me, I’d love to hear from you!
I also supervised Georgina Dayanc in 2022, my project student for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) at the University of Reading. Georg is also autistic, and developed a podcast called NeuroDives: Diving into Neurodiversity. Season 1 was created as part of the UROP project, and it focuses on all things autism.