My team and I study socially relevant psychological signals, from basic perception (e.g., of bodily signals, faces) to higher-order cognition (e.g., decision-making, mentalising). We are interested in how these processes differ between neurodivergent people, and thereby aim to improve understanding of mental health conditions.

I teach undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Applied (Clinical) Psychology.


I have restricted interests in the K&A towpath, Epicurean philosophy, and birds of prey in Bath.

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Dr Punit Shah

Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Psychology



p.shah (at)

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* Joint Contribution

Shah, P. (2012). Toward a neurobiology of unrealistic optimismFrontiers in Psychology.

Cook, R.*, Brewer, R.*, Shah, P., & Bird, G. (2013). Alexithymia, not autism, predicts poor recognition of emotional facial expressionsPsychological Science.


Cage, E., Pellicano, E., Shah, P., & Bird, G. (2013). Reputation management: Evidence for intact ability but reduced propensity in adults with autismAutism Research.


Harris, A. J. L, Shah, P., Catmur, C., Bird, G., &  Hahn, U. (2013). Autism, optimism and positive events: Evidence against a general optimistic bias. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.


Shah, P., Gaule, A., Bird, G., & Cook, R. (2013). Robust orienting to protofacial stimuli in autismCurrent Biology. Commentary by Johnson (2014).


Cook, R.*, Brewer, R.*, Shah, P.*, & Bird, G. (2014). Intact facial adaptation in autistic adultsAutism Research.


Santiesteban, I., Shah, P., White, S., Bird, G., & Heyes, C. (2014). Mentalizing or submentalizing in a communication task? Evidence from autism and a camera control. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.


Sowden, S., & Shah, P. (2014). Self-other control: a candidate mechanism for social cognitive functionFrontiers in Human Neuroscience.


Shah, P., Gaule, A., Gaigg, S., Bird, G., & Cook, R. (2015). Probing short-term face memory in developmental prosopagnosiaCortex.


Shah, P. & Sowden, S. (2015). Insights into social perception in autismThe Journal of Neuroscience.


Shah, P., Happé, F., Sowden, S., Cook, R., & Bird, G. (2015). Orienting towards face-like stimuli in early childhoodChild Development.


Shah, P., Gaule, A., Sowden, S., Bird, G., & Cook, R. (2015). The twenty-item prosopagnosia index (PI20): A self-report instrument for identifying developmental prosopagnosiaRoyal Society Open Science


Shah,P., Sowden, S., Gaule, A., Catmur, C., & Bird, G., (2015). The twenty-item prosopagnosia index: Relationship to the Glasgow Face Matching TestRoyal Society Open Science[Download Questionnaire] 

Shah, P. (2016). Identification, diagnosis and treatment of developmental prosopagnosiaThe British Journal of Psychiatry.


Shah, P., Bird, G., & Cook, R. (2016). Face processing in autism spectrum disorder: Reduced integration of cross-feature dynamicsCortex.


Shah, P., Hall, R., Catmur, C., & Bird, G. (2016). Alexithymia, not autism, is associated with impaired interoceptionCortex


Shah, P. (2016). Book review: Interoception - the eighth sensory systemJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.


Shah, P., Harris, A. J. L, Bird, G., Catmur, C., & Hahn, U. (2016). A pessimistic view of optimistic belief updating. Cognitive Psychology.


Shah, P, Catmur, C., & Bird, G. (2016). Emotional decision-making in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The roles of interoception and alexithymiaMolecular Autism.


Shah, P, Catmur, C., & Bird, G. (2017). From heart to mind: Linking interoception, emotion, and theory of mindCortex


Livingston, L. A. & Shah, P.  (2017). People with and without prosopagnosia have insight into their face recognition abilityQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Ventura, P., Livingston, L. A., & Shah, P. (2018). Adults have moderate-to-good insight into their face recognition ability: Further validation of the 20-item prosopagnosia index (PI20) in a portuguese sampleQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Livingston, L.A., Shah, P., & Happé, F. (2018). Compensation in autism is not consistent with social motivation theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Livingston, L.A., Carr, B., & Shah, P. (2019). Recent advances and new directions in measuring theory of mind in autistic adults. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Shah, P*., Livingston, L. A.*, Callan, M. J., & Player, L. (2019). Trait autism is a better predictor of empathy than alexithymia. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Livingston, L. A., Shah, P., & Happé, F. (2019). Compensatory strategies below the behavioural surface in autism. The Lancet Psychiatry.

​Taylor, E. C., Livingston, L. A., Callan, M. J., & Shah, P.  (2019). Divergent contributions of autistic traits to social psychological knowledge. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Livingston, L. A., Shah, P., Milner, V., & Happé (2020). Quantifying compensatory strategies in adults with and without diagnosed autism. Molecular Autism.

Taylor, E. C, Livingston, L. A., Clutterbuck, R. A., & Shah, P. (2020). Psychometric concerns with the 10-item Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ10) as a measure of trait autism in the general population. Experimental Results.

Livingston, L. A., Ashwin, C., & Shah, P. (2020). Electronic communication in autism spectrum conditions. Molecular Autism.

Hanel, P. H. P. & Shah, P. (2020). Simplifying the measurement of attitudes towards autistic people. Experimental Results

Taylor, E.C., Clutterbuck, R. A., Player, L., Shah, P., & Callan, M. J. (2020). The role of karmic beliefs in immanent justice reasoningPsychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Shand, A. J.*, Close, S. A. D.*, & Shah, P. (2020). Greater autism knowledge and contact with autistic people 
are independently associated with favourable attitudes towards autistic people
. Experimental Results.


Livingston, L. A., Kumarendran, S., & Shah, P. (2021). Compensation. Cortex.


Clutterbuck, R. A., Callan, M. J., Taylor, E. C., Livingston, L. A., & Shah, P. (2021). Development and validation of the four-item mentalising index (FIMI). Psychological Assessment. [Online Questionnaire][Downloadable Questionnaire].

Taylor, E. C., Livingston, L. A., Callan, M. J., Ashwin, C., & Shah, P. (2021). Autonomic dysfunction in autism: The roles of anxiety, depression, and stress. Autism

Waldren, L. H., Clutterbuck, R. A, Shah, P. (2021). Erroneous NICE guidance on autism screening. The Lancet Psychiatry

Livingston, L. A.*, Shah, P.*, White, S., & Happé, F. (2021). Further developing the Frith-Happé animations: A quicker, more objective, and web-based test of theory of mind for autistic and non-autistic adultsAutism Research.

Taylor, E. C., Livingston, L. A., Callan, M. J., Hanel, P. H. P., & Shah, P. (2021). Do autistic traits predict pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors, and climate change belief? Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Clutterbuck, R. A.*, Shah, P.*, Leung, H. S, Callan, M. J., Gjersoe, N., Livingston, L. A. (in press). Anthropomorphic tendencies in autism: A conceptual replication and extension of White and Remington (2019) and preliminary development of a novel anthropomorphism measure. Autism.

White, R., Livingston, L. A., Taylor, E. C., Close, S. A., Shah, P., Callan, M. J. (in press). Understanding the contributions of trait autism and anxiety to extreme demand avoidance in adulthood.

Burton, J., Harris, A. J. L., Shah, P., & Hahn, U. (in press). Optimism where there is none: Asymmetric belief updating observed with valence-neutral life events. Cognition.

Hobbs, C., Shah, P., & Button, K. (in press). Is depression associated with reduced optimistic belief updating? Royal Society Open Science.

Taylor, E. C., Farmer, G. D., Livingston, L. A., Callan, M. J.*, & Shah, P*. (in press). Rethinking fast and slow processing in autism. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Clutterbuck, R. A., Livingston, L. A., & Shah, P. (in press). The Four-Item Mentalising Index (FIMI) is a valid, reliable, and practical way to assess mentalising: Reply to Murphy et al. (2021). Psychological Assessment.



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Science Communication

Shah, P., Happe, F., & Bird, G. (2014) The social brain' and its disorders. Brain Awareness Day, King's College, London.














Shah, P. (2014). BSA/EPS Prize Talk: A pessimistic view of optimistic belief updating. British Science Festival, Birmingham.

Shah, P. (2015). Big Picture Prize: A baby’s view of the protofaceThe Psychologist.

Shah, P. (2016). Guide to... you and your baby: Babies love facesThe Psychologist.

Shah, P. (2016). People with autism make more logical decisions. Scientific American.

Shah, P. (2017). Reality in the face of optimism. Wellcome Collection - When Species Meet: Hope, Wellcome Collection, London.

Livingston, L. A. & Shah, P. (2017). How coping mechanisms allow autistic people to manage their condition. The Conversation.

Shah, P. (in press). Face processing and social situations. The Psychologist.

Taylor, E., Livingston, L. A., & Shah, P. (2019). Autism is linked to lower levels of empathy – but that may not be a bad thing. The Conversation.


Livingston, L.A., Happé, F., Shah, P. (2019). How autism can be hidden from society using psychological strategies. The Conversation.

Livingston, L.A., Happé, F., Shah, P. (2019). How autistic people use compensatory strategies to cope with daily life. Spectrum.

Shah, P. (2019). Has 'mental health' awareness gone too far? TedXBath.

Clutterbuck, R., Taylor, E., & Shah, P. (2020). Are autistic personality tests reliable? The Conversation.

Shah, P. (2020). Staff Spotlight on... Punit Shah, Senior Lecturer, Psychology.

Clutterbuck, R., Livingston, L. A., Callan, M. J., & Shah (2021). The science of ‘mind-reading’: our new test reveals how well we understand others. The Conversation.

Waldren, L., Clutterbuck, R., & Shah, P. (2021). Mistake discovered in autism guidelines – many could have missed a diagnosis. The Conversation.




Emily C Taylor (BSc Bath) - Whorrod PhD Student - Unimpaired processes and strengths in autism


Rachel A Clutterbuck (BSc Cardiff, MA St Andrews) - ESRC PhD Student - Quantification of mind reading


Ross Robinson (BSc, MSc Sussex) - DClinPsych Student - Social cognition in the clinic


Lucy Waldren (MSci York) - ESRC MRes/ PhD Student - Advancing measurement of autism


Alanna Shand - Research Assistant - Attitudes to Autism


Lois Player (BSc Bath, MRes Bath - PhD Student - Psycho(patho)logical predictors of environmental behaviours


Sanjay Kumarendran - MSci Student - Compensation in autism


Scarlett Close - Research Assistant - Socially challenging behaviours in autistic children


Victoria Coleman (BSc Bath, MPhil Cantab) - PhD Student - hidden strenghts in neurodevelopmental conditions


Rhianna White (BA Cantab, MSc Exeter) - ESRC PhD Student - Avoidance behaviours in autism

I welcome interest from students/ fellows interested in (social) cognition, autism, neurodevelopmental conditions and, more generally, experimental psychology and mental health. I am also happy to support undergraduate and masters students who are interested in a research rotation. Please send your cv and an email request to