UMass Amherst is home to a highly active and interdisciplinary psycholinguistics community, comprising researchers both in the Linguistics department and in the Psychological and Brain Sciences department. Psycholinguistic research at UMass focuses on integrating linguistic theory with psycholinguistic theory, in the areas of speech perception, adult sentence comprehension and phonology. Research on sentence comprehension focuses on syntactic, semantic, and discourse processing with adult native speakers, both in English and in other languages spoken in our local community (e.g. Korean, Chinese, and Spanish). Sentence processing research at UMass also focuses on the interface between linguistic processing and other cognitive systems, such as working memory or extra-linguistic reasoning. Research on speech perception focuses on the contributions of auditory processes, linguistic knowledge, and their interaction to recognizing and discriminating speech sounds. The interface between phonetics and phonology is studied by examining how listeners’ perceptual response to speech sounds influences sounds’ behavior in phonological grammars and sound change. Phonological psycholinguistics at UMass investigates native speaker knowledge, and learning of artifical languages. Psycholinguists at UMass explore these areas using a wide variety of experimental techniques, such as eye-tracking while reading and listnening, ERP/EEG recordings, and behavioral experiments in the lab and on the web. Psycholinguistic research at UMass also involves computational modeling of language processing and learning.

Faculty in Linguistics

Brian Dillon
Research interests:
Psycholinguistics, Syntax
Lyn Frazier
Research interests:
Psycholinguistics, Syntax and its interfaces
Gaja Jarosz
Research interests:
Phonology, Learnability, Computational Modeling, Acquisition
John Kingston
Research interests:
Phonetics, Phonology, Psycholinguistics
Shota Momma
Research interests:
Psycholinguistics, Syntax, Sentence Production
Joe Pater
Research interests:
Phonological Theory and Learning, Computational and Experimental Methods
Kristine Yu
Research interests:
Prosody from the Speech Signal on Up, Phonetics, Phonology

Faculty in Psychological and Brain Sciences

Charles Clifton

Lisa Sanders

Adrian Staub

Graduate students

Carolyn Jane Anderson
andersonResearch interests:
Psycholinguistics, Computational Linguistics, Semantics, Fieldwork
Year started:
Bethany Dickerson
DickersonResearch interests:
speech perception and our phonological grammars
Year started:
Alex Göbel
GöbelResearch interests:
Psycholinguistics, semantics
Year started:
Christopher Hammerly
HammerlyResearch interests:
Syntax, morphology, psycholinguistics
Year started:
Ericka Mayer
MayerResearch interests:
Research interests:
Semantics, psycholinguistics, in particular the processing of presuppositions, negation, NPIs, and monotonicity.
Year started:
Anissa Neal
NealResearch interests:
Psycholinguistics, syntax, syntax-semantics interface
Year started:
Alex Nyman
NymanResearch interests:
Phonetics and phonology, language acquisition, computational linguistics, and psycholinguistics
Year started:
Michael Wilson
WilsonResearch interests:
Syntax, semantics, psycholinguistics
Year started:

Recent Dissertations

Caroline Andrews.2019.There and Gone Again: Syntactic Structure in Memory

Sakshi Bhatia.2019.Computing Agreement in a Mixed System

Thuy Bui.2019. Binding and Coreference in Vietnamese

Shayne Sloggett. 2017. When errors aren’t: How comprehenders selectively violate Binding Theory. 

Amanda Rysling. 2017. Preferential early attribution in segmental parsing.

Claire Moore-Cantwell. 2016. The representation of probabilistic phonological patterns: Neurological, behavioral, and computational evidence from the English stress system.

Presley Pizzo. 2015. Investigating Properties of Phonotactic Knowledge Through Web-Based Experimentation.

Brian Smith. 2015. Phonologically Conditioned Allomorphy and UR Constraints.

Helen Majewski. 2014. Comprehending Each Other: Weak Reciprocity and Processing.

Margaret Ann Grant. 2013. The Parsing and Interpretation of Comparatives: More than Meets the Eye.

Jesse Aron Harris. 2012. Processing Perspectives.

Michael Key. 2012. Phonological And Phonetic Biases In Speech Perception.

Wendell Kimper. 2011. Competing Triggers: Transparency And Opacity In Vowel Harmony.