Professor Ian Apperly BA PhD

Professor Ian Apperly

School of Psychology
Professor of cognition and development
Director of Research for the School of Psychology

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Ian Apperly is an experimental psychologist, and his main research interest is in “mindreading” – the ability to take other people’s perspectives for communication, co-operation, competition or deception. He is the author of over 80 journal articles, and the 2010 book, entitled “Mindreaders: The cognitive basis of theory of mind”.


  • BA, University of Cambridge
  • Ph.D., University of Birmingham


Ian Apperly attended Ivybridge Community College in Devon, studied Natural Sciences at St John’s College, Cambridge, and came to Birmingham in 1995 to study for his Ph.D. with Liz Robinson.


His research interests inform Ian Apperly’s teaching, which includes a Second Year module on Cognitive Development, and part of a Final Year module on Higher Cognitive Functions.

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students in the lab work on all topics related to Ian Apperly’s research interests, and students interested in joining the lab should email Ian in the first instance. Further information about current and past PhD students is available here:


The research focus of Ian Apperly’s group is on the processes involved in “higher cognitive functions”, such as mindreading, self-control and mental flexibility. The work of students and postdocs in the group usually varies in its emphasis on developmental, cognitive or neuroscientific methods, and often involves collaboration with other colleagues in the School of Psychology.

More information can be found here:

Other activities

Ian Apperly has received early career prizes from the British Psychological Society and the Experimental Psychological Society. He is on the editorial board of the journal Cognition, and has been treasurer of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and a member of the Psychology committee of the British Science Association. 


Apperly, I.A. (2010). Mindreaders: the cognitive basis of “theory of mind”. Hove: Psychology Press / Taylor & Francis Group.


A full list of Ian Apperly’s publications can be found here:

View all publications in research portal