Staff profile

Dr Darren

Dr Darren Hocking

Senior Research Fellow , ARC DECRA Fellow

College of Science, Health and Engineering

School of Psychology and Public Health

Department of Psychology and Counselling

Biological Sciences Building 2, Level 1, Room 119, Melbourne (Bundoora)

Qualifications

BA (Hons) (Murdoch), PhD (Monash)

Role

Academic

Membership of professional associations

Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Australasian Society for Autism Research, International Society for Autism Research, Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes (SSBP)

Area of study

Psychology

Brief profile

Darren is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Developmental Neuromotor & Cognition Lab (DNCLab) within the School of Psychology and Public Health. He holds Hononary Research Fellow positions at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Macquarie University. Since receiving his PhD in 2010, he has held Research Fellow positions at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Monash University (under a Monash Research Fellowship). Darren has broad research interests in executive function, dual-task processing and motor control, especially the effects of early cerebellar dysfunction on motor, cognitive and affective outcomes. He explores these interests using a range of motor, gait, posture and neuroimaging technologies in several model disorders of cerebellar dysfunction including Williams syndrome, autism, Down syndrome and fragile X premutation. Another line of research focuses on the impact of variations in oxytocin on structure and function of the amygdala as related to social and emotional functioning in Williams syndrome and autism. Darren has published more than 40 peer-reviewed publications in highly regarded journals such as Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, Developmental Science and Neurology. He is a recipient of funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), ARC Linkage and a range of internal and philanthropic funding schemes to support his work. Darren is commited to supporting the training of research students, and has supervised 7 Honours students, 2 Masters of Clinical Neuropsychology and 2 PhD students through to completion. 

 

Recent publications

Book chapters

Hocking, D.R. (2017). Williams syndrome. In N.J. Rinehart, J.L. Bradshaw, & P.G. Enticott (Eds.), Developmental Disorders of the Brain. Psychology Press, New York: Taylor Francis Group.

Hocking, D.R. (2017). Cerebellar-frontal-parietal axis in developmental disorders. In N.J. Rinehart, J.L. Bradshaw, & P.G. Enticott (Eds.), Developmental Disorders of the Brain. Psychology Press, New York: Taylor Francis Group.

Refereed journal articles

*Note the first two authors shared first authorship and contributed equally to this work.

Keech, B., Crowe, S., & Hocking, D.R. (accepted 26/9/17). Intranasal oxytocin, social cognition and neurodevelopmental disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Hocking, D.R., & Caeyenberghs, K. (2017). What is the nature of motor impairments in autism, are they diagnostically useful, and what are the implications for intervention? Current Developmental Disorder Reports, doi: 10.1007/s40474-017-0109-y.

Vivanti, G., Fanning, P.A.J., Hocking, D.R., Sievers, S., & Dissanayake, C. (2017). Social attention, joint attention and sustained attention in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Williams syndrome: Convergences and divergences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3107-4.

Fanning, P.A.J., Hocking, D.R., Dissanayake, C., Vivanti, G. (2017). Delineation of a spatial working memory profile using a non-verbal eye tracking paradigm in young children with autism and Williams syndrome. Child Neuropsychology, DOI: 10.1080/09297049.2017.1284776.

Vivanti, G., Hocking, D.R., Fanning, P., Uljarevic, M., Postorino, V., Mazzone, L., Dissanayake, C. (2017). Attention to novelty versus repetition: contrasting habituation profiles in autism and Williams syndrome. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.01.006.

Vivanti, G., Hocking, D.R., Fanning, P.A.J, Dissanayake, C. (2017). The social nature of overimitation: Insights from autism and Williams syndrome. Cognition, 161, 10-18.

Vivanti, G., Hocking, D.R., Fanning, P., Dissanayake, C. (2016). Verbal labels increase the salience of novel objects for preschoolers with typical development and Williams syndrome, but not in autism. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 8:46, doi: 10.1186/s11689-016-9180-7.

Vivanti, G., Hocking, D.R., Fanning, P., Dissanayake, C. (2016). Social affiliation motives modulate spontaneous learning in Williams syndrome but not autism. Molecular Autism, 7;40, doi: 10.1186/s13229-016-0101-0.

Hocking, D.R., Birch, R.C., Bui, Q.M., Menant, J.C., Lord, S.R., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Godler, D.E., Wen, W., Hackett, A., Rogers, C., Trollor, J.N. (2017). Cerebellar volume mediates the relationship between FMR1 mRNA levels and voluntary step initiation in males with the premutation. Neurobiology of Aging, 50, 5-12.

Birch, R.C., Hocking, D.R., Cornish, K.M., Menant, J.C., Lord, S.R., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Godler, D.E., Wen, W., Rogers, C., Trollor, J.N. (2017). Selective subcortical contributions to gait impairments in males with the FMR1 premutation. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 88(2), 188-190.

Birch, R.C., Hocking, D.R., & Trollor, J.N. (2016). Prevalence and predictors of subjective memory complaints in adult male carriers of the FMR1 premutation. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 30(6), 834-48. 

Hocking, D.R. Reeve, J., & Porter, M.A. (2015). Characterising the profile of everyday executive functioning and relation to IQ in adults with Williams syndrome. PLoS One, 10(9):e0137628.

Birch, R.C., Hocking, D.R., Cornish, K.M., Menant, J.C., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Godler, D.E., Wen, W., Hackett, A., Rogers, C., Trollor, J.N. (2015). Preliminary evidence of an effect of cerebellar volume on postural sway in FMR1 premutation males. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 14(3), 251-259.

Hocking, D.R., Kraan, C.M., Godler, D.E., Bui, Q.M., Li X., Bradshaw, J.L., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Melcalfe, S.A., Archibald, A.D., Turbitt, E., Fielding, J., Trollor, J., Cohen, J., Cornish, K.M. (2015). Evidence linking FMR1 mRNA and attentional demands of stepping and postural control in women with the premutation. Neurobiology of Aging, 36(3), 1400-1408.

Cornish, K.M., Kraan, C.M., Bui, Q.M., Bellgrove, M.A., Metcalfe, S.A., Trollor, T., Hocking, D.R., Slater, H.R., Inaba, Y., Li X., Archibald, A.D., Turbitt, E., Cohen, J., Godler, D.E. (2015). Novel methylation markers of the dysexecutive-psychiatric phenotype in FMR1 premutation females. Neurology, 84(16), 1631-1638.

Kraan, C., Hocking, D.R., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Metcalfe, S., Archibald, A., Fielding, J., Trollor, J., Bradshaw, J.L., Cohen, J., Cornish, K.M. (2014). Impaired response inhibition is associated with self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety and ADHD in female FMR1 premutation carriers. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 165B(1), 41-51.

*Milne, S., *Hocking, D.R., Murphy, A., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Delatycki, M., Corben, L.A. (2014) Sensitivity of spatiotemporal gait parameters in measuring disease severity in Friedreich ataxia. Cerebellum, 13(6), 677-688.

Birch, R.C., Cornish, K.M., Hocking, D.R., Trollor, J.N. (2014). Understanding the neuropsychiatric phenotype of fragile X-associated tremor ataxia syndrome: A systematic review. Neuropsychology Review, 24(4), 491-513.

Hocking, D.R., Corben, L.A., Fielding, J., Cremer, P.D., Millist, L., White, O.B., Delatycki, M.B. (2014). Saccade repogramming in Friedreich ataxia reveals impairments in the cognitive control of saccadic eye movement. Brain and Cognition, 87, 161-167.

*Kraan, C., *Hocking, D.R., Bradshaw, J.L., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Metcalfe, S., Archibald, A., Fielding, J., Trollor, J., Cohen, J., Cornish, K.M. (2014). Age and CGG-repeat length are associated with neuromotor impairments in at-risk females with the FMR1 premutation. Neurobiology of Aging, 35(9), 2179 e7-13.  

Kraan, C., Hocking, D.R.,  Bradshaw, J.L., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Metcalfe, S., Archibald, A., Fielding, J., Trollor, J., Cohen, J., Cornish, K.M. (2014). Symbolic sequence learning is associated with cognitive-affective profiles in female FMR1 premutation carriers. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 13(4), 385-393.

Grigsby, J., Cornish, K., Hocking, D., Kraan, C., Olichney, J.M., Rivera, S.M., Schneider, A., Sherman, S., Wang, J.Y., Yang, J-C. (2014). The cognitive neuropsychological phenotype of carriers of the FMR1 premutation. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 6(1), 28.

Shelton, A., Cornish, K., Kraan, C., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Metcalfe, S., Bradshaw J., Hocking, D.R., Archibald, A., Cohen, J., Trollor, J., Fielding, J. (2014), Exploring inhibitory deficits in female premutation carriers of fragile X syndrome through eye movements. Brain and Cognition, 85, 201-208.

Hocking, D.R., Menant, J.C. Kirk, H.E., Lord, S., Porter, M.A. (2014). Gait profiles as indicators of domain-specific impairments in executive control across neurodevelopmental disorders. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(1), 203-14.

Riby, D.M., Hanley, M., Kirk, H., Clark, F., Little, K., Fleck, R., Janes, E., Kelso, L., O'Kane, F., Cole-Fletcher, R., Allday, M.H., Hocking, D., Cornish, K., Rodgers, J. (2014). The Interplay Between Anxiety and Social Functioning in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(5), 1220-1229.

Ternes, A-M., Fielding, J., Corben. L., White. O., Bradshaw, J.L., Hocking. D., Georgiou-Karistianis, N. (2014). Analysis of planning and online control of movement in Multiple Sclerosis using a Fitts' law reciprocal aiming paradigm. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 27(3), 139-47. 

Kirk, H.E., Hocking, D.R., Riby, D., & Cornish, K.M. (2013). Linking Social Behaviour and Anxiety to Attention to Emotional Faces in Williams syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34, 4608-4616.

Kraan, C., Hocking, D.R., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Metcalfe, S., Archibald, A., Fielding, J., Trollor, J., Bradshaw, J.L., Cohen, J., Cornish, K.M.  (2013) Cognitive-motor interference during postural control indicates at-risk cerebellar profiles in females with the FMR1 premutation. Behavioural Brain Research, 253, 329-336.

Kraan, C., Hocking, D.R., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Metcalfe, S., Archibald, A., Fielding, J., Trollor, J., Bradshaw, J.L., Cohen, J., Cornish, K.M. (2014). Impaired response inhibition is associated with self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety and ADHD in female FMR1 premutation carriers. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 165(1), 41-51.  

Hocking, D.R., Thomas, D., Menant, J., Porter, M.A., Smith, S., Lord, S., Cornish, K.M. (2013). The interplay between executive control and motor functioning in Williams syndrome. Developmental Science, 16(3), 428-442.

Kraan, C.M., Hocking, D.R., Bradshaw, J.L., Fielding, J., Cohen, J., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., & Cornish, K.M. (2013). Neurobehavioral evidence for the involvement of the FMR1 gene in female carriers of fragile X syndrome. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 37(3), 522-547.

Hocking, D.R., Kogan, C.S., & Cornish, K.M. (2012). Selective spatial processing deficits in an at-risk subgroup of the fragile X premutation. Brain and Cognition, 79(1), 39-44.

Hocking, D.R., Rinehart, N.J., McGinley, J.L., Galna, B., Moss, S.A., & Bradshaw, J.L. (2011). Gait adaptation during obstacle crossing reveals impairments in the visual control of locomotion in Williams syndrome. Neuroscience, 197, 320-329.

Cornish, K.M., Savage, R., Hocking, D.R., Hollis, C.P. (2011). Association of the DAT1 genotype with inattentive behaviour is mediated by reading ability in a general population sample. Brain and Cognition, 77(3), 453-458.

Corben, L.A., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Bradshaw, J.L., Hocking, D.R., Churchyard, A.J., Delatycki, M.B. (2011). The Fitts task reveals impairments in planning and online control of movement in Friedreich ataxia: reduced cerebellar-cortico-connectivity? Neuroscience, 192, 382-90.

*Cornish, K.M., *Hocking, D.R., Moss, S.A., & Kogan, C.S. (2011). Selective executive markers of at-risk profiles associated with the fragile X premutation. Neurology, 77, 618-622.

Hocking, D.R., Rinehart, N.J., McGinley, J.L., Moss, S.A., & Bradshaw, J.L. (2011). A kinematic analysis of visually-guided movement in Williams syndrome. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 301, 51-58.

Hocking, D.R., Fielding, J., Corben, L.A., Cremer, P.D., Millist, L., White, O.B., & Delatycki, M.B. (2010). Ocular motor fixation deficits in Friedreich ataxia. Cerebellum, 9(3), 411-418.

Hocking, D.R., McGinley, J.L., Moss, S.A., & Bradshaw, J.L. (2010) Effects of external and internal cues on gait function in Williams syndrome. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 291(1-2), 57-63.

Hocking, D.R., Rinehart, N.J., McGinley, J.L., & Bradshaw, J.L. (2009). Gait function in adults with Williams syndrome. Experimental Brain Research, 192(4), 695-702.

Hocking, D.R., Bradshaw, J.L., & Rinehart, N.J. (2008). Fronto-parietal and cerebellar contributions to motor dysfunction in Williams syndrome: A review and future directions. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 32(3),497-507.

Research projects

Current Students

Doctoral Students

Joanne McIntyre (PhD): Neurobehavioural effects of integrated listening and motor training in children with developmental disabilities.

Kelsie Boulton (PhD): The underpinnings of social dysfunction in autism and Williams syndrome: from genes to brain to hormones (recipient of the Rotary Illawara Sunrise PhD scholarship) 

Peter Fanning (DPsych): The influence of early learning on intellectual and adaptive outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Williams syndrome.

Jessica Reeve (PhD): Neuropsychological functioning in preschool children with Williams syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A longitudinal study.

Britney Keech (PhD): A neurobiological comparison of social cognitive deficits in Willliams syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Masters of Clinical Psychology/Neuropsychology

Kenneth Yu (2016). Endogenous oxytocin as biomarker of social anxiety.

Emily Zou (2016). Comparing motor planning and feedback mechanisms in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Williams syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Britney Jane Keech (2016). Effects of intranasal oxytocin on social cognitive deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. (Completed)

Alicia Wilcox (2013). Dual-task processing in Down syndrome: an exploratory study of the interaction between cognitive and gait in Down syndrome. (Graduated with Distinction) 

Honours (Psychology)

Kezia Matheson (2016). Developmental changes in perceptual-motor associations and relation to autism traits in young typically developing children (First Class Honours)

Rebecca Bobin (2015): Exploring the interrelationships between anxiety, behavioural flexibility and fear conditioning in typical and atypical development (First Class Honours)

Deniz Ozbilgin (2014): The role of early motor constraints in shaping social communicative development in young children with autism spectrum disorder (First Class Honours)

Christine Garnham (2012): Exploring the interplay between cognitive and motor domains in Williams syndrome (First Class Honours)

Daniel Thomas (2011): Exploring the cognitive-motor phenotype in Williams syndrome (First Class Honours)

Laura Bell (2011): Mapping behavioural inattention onto cognitive inattention in typically developing children and in Williams syndrome (Second Class, Division A).  

Completed Doctoral Students

Claudine Kraan (2014): Neurocognitive and neuromotor evidence for the involvement of the FMR1 gene in female carriers of fragile X syndrome (PhD, awarded Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal, Monash University; NHMRC Peter Doherty Early Career Research Fellow, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute).

Rachael Birch (2015): Evidence for specific neurobehavioural signatures in male carriers of the FMR1 premutation (PhD awarded, University of New South Wales).

Current and Recent Research Support

La Trobe University Research Infrastructure Capital Funding (2016). Biological and eye tracking systems for decision making in complex environments. Schulz, A., Hocking, D.R. Alahakoon, D., Dissanayke, C., Headley, D. $331,892

Australian Catholic University Research Funding (2017-2018). Epigenetic and hormonal influences on brain mechanisms underlying sex differences in human social behaviour: a pilot study. Labuschagne, I., Hocking, D.R., Heinrichs, M., Rabinak, C., Craig, J. $52,000

RFA Understanding Disease Express Grant (2016). The influence of oxytocin and early parenting on neurobiological mechanisms underlying human social behaviour. Hocking, D., Labuschagne, I., Treyvaud, K., Craig. J., Heinrichs, M. $4,500

SPPH Small Research Grant (2016). Exploring the interrelationships between anxiety, sensory processing and behavioural inflexibility across typical and atypical development. Hocking, D. $4,467

La Trobe University Research Infrastructure Capital Funding (2016). Motion capture system for young children with developmental disabilities. Hocking, D. $80,000

ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2016). Multitasking effects on motor control in childhood through adolescence. Hocking, D. $325,000

ARC Discovery Project Near Miss Funding (2015). Social and non-social learning in intellectual development. Dissanayake, C., Vivanti, G., Hocking, D., Porter, M. $17,107

RFA Understanding Disease Small Projects Grant (2015). Understanding the role of oxytocin in shaping social affiliation and social processing in young children with autism and Williams syndrome. D. Hocking, G. Vivanti, N. Bishop, T. Iacono, C. Dissanayake, S. Kent. $29,033

Australian Catholic University Research Funding (2015) A neurobiological comparison of social cognitive deficits in young adults with neurodevelopmental and anxiety disorders. I. Labuschagne, D. Hocking. $50,400

Macquarie University Research Development Grants (2014-2015). The role of oxytocin in modulating anxiety and social behaviour in neurodevelopmental and anxiety disorders. Porter, M., Hocking, D., Wong Q., Williams, M., Rapee, R., Dissanayake, C., Kent, S. $49,737

Monash Psychology Research Initiative Fund (2012). PIs Tsuchiya, N., Stout J., Fielding J., Mundy M., Anderson, C., Hocking, DR. $15,000

Apex Foundation for Research into Intellectual Disability (2013): Exploring attention and motor control in William syndrome. *Porter, MA, *Hocking DR, Menant J. *Joint chief investigators. $17,867

National Fragile X Foundation (USA) (2012). Gait analysis as a biomarker for early FXTAS identification. Kraan, C., Cornish, K., Hocking, D. $2,500

ARC Linkage Projects Scheme. Enhancing learning capacity and academic outcomes using novel game technology in primary school children with developmental disabilities. (2012 - 2016). Cornish, K, Gray, K, Hocking, D, Ellis, K, Harcourt, J, McIntosh, K. $227,495

APEX Foundation for Research into Intellectual Disability (2012): Exploring the cognitive-motor profile in individuals with intellectual disability. Hocking, D. Porter, M., Menant, J., Smith S., Lord, S., Cornish, K. $20,140.

APEX Foundation for Research into Intellectual Disability (2009): Understanding unique neuromotor profiles associated with intellectual disability. Rinehart, N., Tonge, B., Fielding, J., Bradshaw, J. Hocking, D., $16,151.

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (2009). Identification of biomarkers for disease progression in neurogenetic disorders. Hocking, D.R. Laboratory and Community Genetics Research Theme Funding. $15,000.