Department of Psychology


Photo of Professor Vasu Reddy

Professor Vasu Reddy

  • Qualifications: BA, MSc, PhD
  • Role Title: Professor of Developmental and Cultural Psychology
  • Address: King Henry Building, King Henry 1st Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2DY
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6307
  • Email:
  • Department: Department of Psychology
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science


After completing my Bachelors degree in Psychology, English Literature and Political Science (1975) and Masters in Psychology (1977) in Hyderabad India, I did my PhD at Edinburgh University (between 1977 and 1983). Returning to India I taught Psychology at the University College for Women in Hyderabad for three years. I have been teaching at British universities from 1986.

I am interested in the origins and development of social cognition, mainly in young infants. For twenty years now I have been exploring the role of emotional engagement in social understanding, focusing on the everyday, ordinary engagements (such as teasing and joking and showing-off or feeling shy) which often tend to get ignored in mainstream theories. I am Director of the Centre for Situated Action and Communication which explores ideas of context and situation on different kinds of psychological phenomena. My interest in engagement as the route to understanding has led me to questions about the nature and influence of cultural engagements on social understanding. I am currently Chair of the Developmental Section of the British Psychological Society.

Teaching Responsibilities

I currently teach on the Year 1 unit The Psychology of Everyday Life, the Year 2 unit Social and Developmental Psychology and contribute to other teachingthe Year 3 unit Self and Subjectivity. 


In the context of my broader interest in infant social cognition, I have become fascinated by kinematics and motor development. I am currently intrigued - in relation to infants, in relation to adults and indeed in relation to psychologists - how engagement must constantly either alternate or somehow integrate with dis-engagement. I have also become very interested in emotional openness and genuineness of connection in everyday life.

My research has ranged from the study of interpersonal playfulness in infancy and pre-school children with autism, the origins and development of parental directives and compliance in infants across, anticipatory adjustments and object use in infant engagements, humility and emotional openness in adults and body movements in second and third person engagements. I have been funded by the ESRC, EU 6th and 7th Frameworks, the Templeton Foundation and the British Academy.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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