About us

We all perceive the sensory world around us differently. Our research is dedicated to deepening our understanding of sensory reactivity. Sensory reactivity symptoms include hyperreactivity (stronger response to sensory stimuli such as sounds), hyporeactivity (slower or less of a response) and sensory seeking (an unusual sensory interests). The Sensational lab is investigating individual differences and underlying mechanisms of sensory reactivity and the impact on daily life.

Current and past members


Group Leader

Dr Teresa Tavassolli

Teresa Tavassoli completed her psychology training in Germany at the University of Constance before conducting her PhD at the University of Cambridge in the UK under the tutelage of Prof. Baron-Cohen. Following she worked as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor at the Seaver Autism Center in New York, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She then returned to the UK to work as a postdoc at the University College London (UCL). Since 2017 Dr Tavassoli is working at the University of Reading, first as a Lecturer and since 2019 as an Associate Professor.  Her research is dedicated to deepening our understanding of sensory reactivity in autism and its variation across the population. Her work is using a multidisciplinary approach to identify reliable ways to measure sensory reactivity as well as to elucidate underlying mechanisms, and examine links to mental health symptoms.  

Doctoral Researchers (now and then)

Timothy Rossow

Tim was a PhD researcher exploring sensory reactivity and mental health in autism. He is also an HCPC registered Clinical and Counselling Psychologist with a background in child and adolescent mental health and neurodevelopment. Tim hopes to use the results of his research both in his clinical practice and as a foundation for further research into mental health interventions in autism. Since completing his PhD  in 2022 Tim has worked as a clinical psychologist.


Keren MacLennan 

Keren was a PhD researcher exploring the relationship between sensory reactivity differences, intolerance of uncertainty, and anxiety in autism. She is also an experienced  Assistant Clinical Psychologist, specialising in autism and mental health. Keren is passionate about improving mental health outcomes for autistic children and is an advocate for participatory research practices. Since completing her PhD in 2021 Keren has completed postdoctoral training and then started a Lectureship at Durham University. 


                                   Hannah Marcham

Hannah is a PhD researcher exploring the learning experiences of autistic children in special needs schools through a better understanding of the indoor environment. Hannah is enthusiastic about understanding how we might adapt special needs classrooms to better support the learning of autistic children to reach their full learning potential. 




Research Assistants (now and then)  

Sophie Jesson   

Sophie was an undergraduate at The University of Reading completing her placement year as Dr Teresa Tavassolli’s research assistant for her degree, BSc Psychology with Professional Placement. Sophie is particularly interested in working with children with autism and is enthusiastic about pursuing this line of work when she graduates.