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My team and I are interested in socially relevant psychological signals, from perception (e.g., of bodily signals, faces), to cognition (e.g., decision-making, mentalising, creativity), and behaviour (e.g., masking, pro-environmental). We are especially interested in how these processes operate in neurodivergent people and thereby aim to improve understanding of mental health conditions.

I teach undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Applied Psychology.


I have restricted interests in the K&A towpath, Epicureanism, Bergamo, and my beautiful son Cass.

Dr Punit Shah 

Associate Professor



p.shah (at)

  • LinkedIn
  • The Conversation
  • neurodiversity_edited



* Joint Contribution

Livingston, L. A., Hargitai, L. D., & Shah, P. (in press). The Double Empathy Problem: A derivation chain analysis and cautionary note. Psychological Review.

Jones, C. R. G., Livingston, L. A., Fretwell, C., Uljarevic, M., Carrington, S., Shah, P., Leekam, S. (in press). Measuring self and informant perspectives of restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRBs): Psychometric evaluation of the Repetitive Behaviours Questionnaire-3 (RBQ-3) in adult clinical practice and research settings. Molecular Autism.

Waldren. L.H., Livingston, L. A., Clutterbuck, R. A., Walton, E., Callan, M. J., & Shah, P. (accepted). The importance of using an optimal cut-off value for the 10-Item Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ10). Psychological Assessment.

Leung, Y. N. F., Livingston, L. A., Mason, D., & Shah, P. (in press). Quantifying the contribution of specific autistic traits to quality of life in autistic adults. Neurodiversity.

Callan, M. J., Sutton, R. M.,...Shah, P.,...Skylark, W. J (under revision). Personal relative deprivation and locus of control. Journal of Personality.

Layinka, O. Hargitai, L. D., Shah, P., Waldren, L. H., Leung, Y. N. F. (2024). Five interdisciplinary tensions and opportunities in neurodiversity research. eLife.

Mears, K., Cooper, K., Shah, P., Rai, D., & Ashwin, C. (in press).
A systematic review of gender dysphoria measures in autistic samplesArchives of Sexual Behavior. 

Shah, P. & Holmes, J. (2024). Neurodiversity: Towards an interdisciplinary approach. Neurodiversity.

Waldren, L. H., Leung, Y. N. F., Hargitai, L. D., Burgoyne, A. P., Licerald, V. R. T., Livingston, L. A., Shah, P. (2024). Unpacking the overlap between Autism and ADHD in adults: A multi-method approach. Cortex

Leung, Y. N. F., Shah, P., Mason, D., & Livingston, L. A. (2023). Re-examining the association between the age of learning one is autistic and adult outcomes. Autism.

Clutterbuck, R. A., Callan, M. J., & Shah, P. (2023). Socio-demographic and political predictors of theory of mind in adulthood. PLoS One

Livingston, L. A., Shah, P., & Happé, F. G. E. (2023). Linearly integrating speed and accuracy to measure individual differences in theory of mind: Evidence from autistic and neurotypical adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Taylor, E. C., Livingston, L. A., Clutterbuck, R. A., Callan, M. J., & Shah, P. (2023). Psychological strengths and wellbeing: Strengths use predicts quality of life, wellbeing and mental health in autism. Autism

Hargitai, L. D., Livingston, L. A., Waldren, L. H., Robinson, R., Jarrold, C., & Shah, P. (2023). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder traits are more predictive of internalising problems than autistic traits. Scientific Reports.

Nørkær, E.,, Guðbjörnsdóttir, E., Roest, S. B., Shah, P., Gerlach, C., & Starrfelt, R. (2023). The Danish version of the 20-item prosopagnosia index (PI20): Translation, validation and the link to face perception. Brain Sciences.

Waldren, L. H., Livingston, L. A., & Shah, P. (accepted). Is there an optimal self-report measure to investigate autism-related sex differences? Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Player, L. K., Prosser, A. M. B., Thorman, D., Tirion, A., Whitmarsh, L., Kurz, T.*, & Shah, P* (2023). Quantifying the importance of socio-demographic, travel-related, and psychological predictors of low emission zone acceptability. Journal of Environmental Psychology.

Taylor, E. C., Farmer, G. D., Livingston, L. A., Callan, M. J.*, & Shah, P*. (2022). Rethinking fast and slow processing in autism. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.


Livingston, L. A., Waldren, L. H, Walton, E., & Shah, P. (2022). Emotion processing differences mediate the link between sex and autism spectrum disorder traits in young adulthood. JCPP Advances.

Waldren, L. H., Livingston, L. A., Leung, Y. N. F., & Shah, P. (2022). Using network analysis to improve understanding and utility of the 10-item autism-spectrum quotient (AQ10). Experimental Results.

Waldren. L.H., Livingston, L. A., Clutterbuck, R. A., Callan, M. J., Walton, E., & Shah, P. (2022, preprint). Using incorrect cut-off values in autism screening tools: the consequences for psychological science.

Clutterbuck, R. A., Livingston, L. A., & Shah, P. (2022). The Four-Item Mentalising Index (FIMI) is a valid, reliable, and practical way to assess mentalising: Reply to Murphy et al. (2022). Psychological Assessment.

Hobbs, C., Shah, P., & Button, K. (2022). Is depression associated with reduced optimistic belief updating? Royal Society Open Science.

Burton, J., Harris, A. J. L., Shah, P., & Hahn, U. (2022). Optimism where there is none: Asymmetric belief updating observed with valence-neutral life events. Cognition.

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.

White, R., Livingston, L. A., Taylor, E. C., Close, S. A., Shah, P.*, Callan, M. J.* (2022). Understanding the contributions

of trait autism and anxiety to extreme demand avoidance in adulthood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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

Clutterbuck, R. A.*, Shah, P.*, Leung, H. S, Callan, M. J., Gjersoe, N., Livingston, L. A. (2021). Anthropomorphic tendencies in autism: A conceptual replication and extension of White and Remington (2019) and preliminary development of a novel anthropomorphism measure. Autism.

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., Ashwin, C., & Shah, P. (2021). Autonomic dysfunction in autism: The roles of anxiety, depression, and stress. Autism

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].

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

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.

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.

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

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

​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., & Happé, F. (2019). Compensatory strategies below the behavioural surface in autism. The Lancet Psychiatry.

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

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

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.  (2017). People with and without prosopagnosia have insight into their face recognition abilityQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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



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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. (2018). 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.

Shah, P. (2022). The underclass psychologist. The Psychologist.

Shah, P., Hargitai, L. D., & Livingston, L. A. (2022). Elon Musk: how being autistic may make him think differentlyThe Conversation.

Hargitai, L., Livingston, L. A., Shah, P. (2023). ADHD more strongly linked to anxiety and depression compared to autism. The Conversation.

Hargitai, L., Livingston, L. A., Shah, P. (2023). Do we have more empathy for people who are similar to us? New research suggests it’s not that simple. The Conversation.


Current Team


Florence Leung (BSc Bristol, MSc York, PhD Reading) - Post-doc - challenging behaviours in autistic children


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

Luca Hargitai

Luca Hargitai (BA Oxon, MSc Bath) - ESRC PhD Student - Improving concetualisation and measurement of ADHD traits


Jola Layinka (BSc Exeter, MSc Cardiff) - Adaptive Strengths in Neurodevelopmental Conditions


Alanna Shand - Research Assistant - Attitudes to 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 

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