Dr Terhi Korkiakangas

I am a social interaction researcher and have developed expertise in the methodology of conversation analysis. I currently work at the Institute of Education as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (see page). My principal research interests involve the use of eye-gaze, facial expressions, body movement and talk in interactions, autism spectrum disorders, and social understanding. Prior to joining Imperial College as a Research Associate, I had a fixed-term Lectureship in Psychology at the University of Roehampton where I also recently completed my PhD.

Principal Research Interests

Autism Spectrum Disorders

My PhD thesis (2011) examines everyday interactions involving Finnish children with autism and their parents, teachers and siblings. I used conversation analysis to examine how these children accomplish interaction with others and what kind of competencies and difficulties they have in these interactions. In particular, I examined these children’s use of eye-gaze in real-life contexts.

Conversation Analysis and Multimodal Interaction

I am interested in institutional and everyday interactions with a specific focus on multimodality – the use of talk and non-vocal resources in interactions. The consideration of multimodality is of great importance in institutional environments, such as the unique environment of operating theatre, where much of the surgical work is accomplished through a careful orientation to the conduct of others, namely, their body movement, gaze, gesture, and talk.

Social Understanding

I am inclined to understand human conduct outside experimental contexts and to examine social cognition as situated social action. Experimental tasks might fail to capture subtle interactional competencies that can manifest outside formal/artificial settings, for example, through participants’ use of eye-gaze, gestures and body movement. This is an important consideration with regards to children with autism who often perform poorly in experiments measuring social understanding.

Identity, Interaction, Dementia

In my forthcoming work, I use conversation analysis to explore how an elderly person with dementia negotiates an identity of a competent interactant in mundane interactions with her familiars.

 (Non-human) Primate Interactions

I am interested in how chimpanzees and humans interact, and how the methodology of conversation analysis could be used to examine such communication. I am particularly keen to understand the ways in which human carers make sense of the conduct of chimpanzees.


Korkiakangas, T., Rae, J. & Dickerson, P. (2012). The interactional work of repeated talk between a teacher and a child with autism. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 3, 1-25. http://www.equinoxpub.com/JIRCD/article/view/11759

Korkiakangas, T. (2011). Eye-gaze in Multimodal Interactions involving Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Doctoral Thesis. http://roehampton.openrepository.com/roehampton/bitstream/10142/216712/1/Terhi_Kirsi_Korkiakangas_PhD_Thesis%202011_encrypted.pdf

Conference Papers

Korkiakangas, T. (2012, Feb 8). Dementia, interaction and identity. Among Others: Different approaches to the organization of social action, Symposium, Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, United Kingdom.

Korkiakangas, T. & Rae, J. (2011, July 13). Children with autism in object-mediated social interactions. 10th Conference of the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Rae, J. & Korkiakangas, T. (2011, July 13). Smiling as an interactional resource: A case study of a boy with autism. 10th Conference of the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Korkiakangas, T. (2010, July 5). The Interactional use of eye-gaze in children with autism spectrum disorders. 3rd International Conference on Conversation Analysis. Mannheim, Germany.

Under Review

Korkiakangas, T. & Rae, J. Gearing up to a new activity: How teachers use object adjustments to manage the attention of children with autism.

Korkiakangas, T., & Rae, J. The interactional use of eye-gaze in children with autism.


Korkiakangas, T., & Rae, J. The sequential placement of gaze aversion in children with autism.

Korkiakangas, T., & Rae, J. Smiling as an interactional resource: A case study of a boy with autism.

Korkiakangas T. Keskustelua isoäidin kanssa: Arkista orientoitumista muistinmenetykseen.  A Conversation Analytic book examining the everyday conversations between a speaker with dementia and her familiars (in Finnish).



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