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Erland Hjelmquist

Professor emeritus

Erland Hjelmquist
Professor emeritus
Academic degree: Docent
+46 31 786 1657

Room number: 488
Postal Address: Box 500, 40530 Göteborg
Visiting Address: Haraldsgatan 1 , 41314 Göteborg

Department of Psychology (More Information)
Box 500
405 30 Göteborg
Visiting Address: Haraldsgatan 1 , 413 14 Göteborg

About Erland Hjelmquist


After undergraduate studies in psychology, sociology, philosophy , education and ethnology, I received a psychologist´s degree and a teacher´s college degree in 1972 and defended my doctoral thesis in psychology 1975. I became an associate professor in 1980 and a professor in 1994 at the Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg. Beside research and teaching I have held a number of administrative positions, among others as head of the psychology department at the University of Gothenburg for about 10 years. During the years 2008-2013 I was an leave for the position as secretary general and head of the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research; from 2013 the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare.


My teaching is mainly supervision of doctoral students.

Research interests

My research has focused on language, communication, cognition and thinking; children as well as adults. Initially, the studies targeted aspects of face-to-face interaction. They included structural aspects of dialogue and memory for conversations. Rather soon, disabilities and communication became another focal point of research. We conducted some very early studies of comprehension of speech synthesis for blind people. Studies of infants and children have been an essential part of my research for a very long time. Among other things, we have studied basic functions of children´s conception of language in a developmental perspective, not least how children understand and reason about form and content aspects of linguistic communication. Much of my research has been devoted to infants and children with functional disabilities such as cerebral palsy, ADHD, Asperger syndrome, autism, deafness/severe hearing loss, and dyslexia. A variety of issues related to language, communication, memory and cognition has been investigated.

Current research

We are analysing a large empirical set of data from a cross-cultural study of reading, writing and dyslexia. We have collected data on linguistic and cognitive functions among children aged 8-9 years with reading and writing problems in Sweden, Estonia, Canada and Croatia. The research questions concern similarities and differences of the pattern of relationships among the linguistic and cognitive variables within each language, across the four languages. The four different languages vary considerably in terms of the depth of the orthography. Estonian orthography and pronunciation is very close, whereas English orthography and pronunciation are very distant from each other with the two other languages somewhere in between. In another dyslexia project, we use a specific intervention method for children who lag behind in reading and writing skills; in this project we compare Sweden and Croatia, using the same testing and intervention methods in both countries. The studies of deaf children concern the development of social cognition, or theory of mind, related to language experience and schooling. In particular, we are interested in early access to, or lack of, sign language among deaf children for the emergence of social cognition. We have studied deaf children and adolescents, and recently young deaf children and normal hearing children using eye-tracking technique and nonverbal testing methods. Looking patterns are used as a measure of attention to various aspects of a sequence of animated actions on a screen, indicating the presence or absence of social cognition.


 Selected publications

Morgan, G., Meristo, M., Mann, W., Hjelmquist, E., Surian, L., Siegal, M. Mental state language and quality of conversational experience in deaf and hearing children. (2014). Cognitive Development, 29, 41-49.

Meristo, M., Falkman, K.W., Hjelmquist, E., Tedoldi, M., Surian, L., & Siegal, M. (2014). Language access and theory of mind reasoning: Evidence from deaf children in bilingual and oralist environments . In A. Antonietti, E. Confalonieri, & A. Marchetti (Eds.), Reflective Thinking in Educational Settings: A cultural framework (pp. 170-199). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Meristo, M., Hjelmquist, E., & Morgan, G. (2012). How access to language affects theory of mind in deaf children. In M. Siegal & L. Surian (Eds.), Access to Language and Cognitive Development (pp. 44-61). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Meristo, M., Morgan, G., Geraci, A., Iozzi, L., Hjelmquist, E., Surian, L., & Siegal, M. (2012). Belief attribution in deaf and hearing infants. Developmental Science, 15, 633-640.

Svensson, I., Nilsson, S., Wahlström, J., Jernås, M., Carlsson, L.M., & Hjelmquist, E. (2011). Familial dyslexia in a large Swedish family: A whole genome linkage scan. Behavior Genetics, 41, 43-49.

Siegal, M., Frank, C.K., Surian, L., & Hjelmquist, E. (2011). Theory of mind and bilingual cognition. In Cook, V., & Bassetti, B. (Eds.), Language and Bilingual Cognition (431-452). London. Routledge/Psychology Press.

Meristo, M. & Hjelmquist, E. (2009). Executive functions and theory-of-mind among deaf children – different routes to understanding other minds? Journal of Cognition and Development,10, 67-91.

Hjelmquist, E. (2008). Funktionshinder/handikapp, kultur och hälsa (Disabilities/handicaps, culture and health). I G. Bjursell & L. Vahlne Westerhäll (Red.), Kulturen och hälsan (Culture and health) (sid. 139-160). Stockholm: Santérus Förlag.

Hjelmquist, E. (2007) Review of: “Handbook of adolescent psychology (2nd edition)”, by R.M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,16, 416.

Meristo, M., Falkman, K.W., Hjelmquist, E., Tedoldi, M., Surian, L., & Siegal, M. (2007). Language access and theory of mind reasoning: Evidence from deaf children in bilingual and oralist environments. Developmental Psychology.43, 1156-1169.

Falkman, K., Roos, C., & Hjelmquist, E. (2007). Menatlizing skills of non-native, early signers: A longitudinal perspective. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 4, 178-

Latest publications

Environment and language experience in deaf children’s theory of mind development.
Gary Morgan, Marek Meristo, Erland Hjelmquist
Slaughter, V. (Ed.), de Rosnay, M. (Ed.). Theory of Mind Development in Context, London, Routledge, Chapter in book 2017
Chapter in book

Teachers ́ assessment of children’s oral language and literacy achievement: a multilevel approach
Irma Brkovic, Gordana Kerestes, Erland Hjelmquist, Tomas Tjus
18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology. Utrecht, Netherlands: August 29 - September 1, Poster 2017

Predicting reading achievement from reading self-concept, leasure time reading, and gender
Gordana Kerestes, Irma Brkovic, Erland Hjelmquist, Tomas Tjus
18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology. Utrecht, Netherlands: August 29 - September 1, Poster 2017

Computerized orthographic training of severely reading disabled children in Croatia and Sweden
Tomas Tjus, Erland Hjelmquist, Gordana Kerestes, Linda Fälth, Irma Brkovic et al.
18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology. Utrecht, Netherlands: August 29 - September 1, Conference contribution 2017
Conference contribution

Environment and language experience in deaf children's theory of mind development
G. Morgan, M. Meristo, Erland Hjelmquist
Theory of Mind Development in Context, Routledge, Chapter in book 2016
Chapter in book

Long-term predictors of reading and writing in transparent orthography: A 4-year longitudinal study of Croatian
Gordana Kerestes, Irma Brkovic, Linda Siegel, Tomas Tjus, Erland Hjelmquist
17th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, September 8-12, Braga, Portugal, Conference contribution 2015
Conference contribution

Cognitive abilities and socio-economic status as predictors of reading and writing skills in early schooling
Irma Brkovic, S Strnad-Jerbic, N Dujic, D Kovac, M Maljkovic et al.
Paper presented at the Ramiro and Zoran Bujas Days, April, 15-18, Zagreb, Croatia., Conference contribution 2015
Conference contribution

Fluency matters: A cross-linguistic study of the role of fluency in reading comprehension and spelling
Linda Siegel, Gordana Kerestes, Marika Veisson, Erland Hjelmquist, Tomas Tjus
Cognitive and Neurocognitive Aspects of Learning Abilities and Disabilities - International conference in memory of Prof. Zvia Breznitz. University of Haifa, Israel: 19-21 May, Conference contribution 2015
Conference contribution

Showing 51 - 52 of 52



Språk och tanke
Jens Allwood, Karin Aronsson, Sten-Olof Brenner, Erland Hjelmquist, Marton Ference et al.
Språk och socialisation symposiet, Graninge, Journal article 1977
Journal article

Showing 51 - 52 of 52

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