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 language production focuses on understanding the mechanisms involved in mapping meaning to linguistic structure in language production, focusing on how this varies cross-linguistically and across different types of linguistic structures. 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 artificial languages. Psycholinguists at UMass explore these areas using a wide variety of experimental techniques, such as eye-tracking while reading and listening, 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

Özge Bakay
OzgeResearch interests:
Sentence Processing, Prosody, Turkish and Laz
Year started:
Mari Kugemoto
AlessaResearch interests:
Psycholinguistics, syntax, Japanese
Year started:
Ericka Mayer
MayerResearch interests:
Research interests:
Semantics, psycholinguistics, in particular the processing of presuppositions, negation, NPIs, and monotonicity.
Year started:
Yosho Miyata
MiyataYear 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:
Breanna Pratley
PratleyYear started:

Recent Dissertations

Caroline Anderson. 2021. Shifting the Perspectival Landscape: Methods for Encoding, Identifying, and Selecting Perspectives.

Caroline Andrews. 2021. There and Gone Again: Syntactic Structure In Memory

Alexander Goebel. 2020. Representing Context: Presupposition Triggers and Focus-sensitivity

Christopher Hammerly. 2020. Person-based Prominence in Ojibwe

Rudmila-Rodica Ivan. 2020. TALKING ABOUT HER(SELF): AMBIGUITY AVOIDANCE AND PRINCIPLE B. A Theoretical and Psycholinguistic Investigation of Romanian Pronouns

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.