I received my PhD from the Department of Psychology at Harvard University where I worked with Jesse Snedeker on a variety of questions under the umbrella of developmental psycholinguistics - how does moment-by-moment language processing change from early childhood to adulthood?
Before coming to Harvard, I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology, with a minor in Philosophy, at University of Toronto at Mississauga. While there, I worked with Meredith Daneman on my undergraduate thesis. We used an eye-tracking-while-reading paradigm to look at whether younger and older adults spontaneously and immediately interpret man-suffix terms, such as policeman, as referring to males, and how they recover when this expectation is violated. I was also fortunate to spend some time as a research assistant in Craig Chambers' lab, working on a variety of studies looking at how different aspects of the visual context influence referential processing.
Spontaneous Verbal Encoding
(with Amy Geojo, Shanshan Wang, Whitney Fitts, Tracy Brookhyser and Jesse Snedeker)
My dissertation work looks at the development of language processing from a slightly unusual angle. In age groups ranging from 2-year-olds to college age adults, we use eye tracking to see whether the label for an object affects looking behaviour, even when the label is neither spoken nor heard. To the extent that this occurs, we gain evidence that children and adults recruit linguistic representations outside of communicative contexts, for other aspects of cognition.
Pupillometry as a window into sentence processing
(with Jesse Snedeker)
Classic work in cognitive psychology has found a reliable relationship between pupil dilation and cognitive processing - the more difficult/effortful the computation, the greater the increase in pupil size. Although initially this was a slow and laborious technique to implement, current eye tracking technologies have renewed the attractiveness of pupillometry as a measure of processing. One area where this methodology could be particularly informative is in children's language processing, as it provides an index of processing that is not tied to reference resolution and does not require reading or a dual-task. In this project, we are exploring the usefulness of pupillometry in investigating online sentence comprehension in children and adults using pronoun resolution and semantic anomaly detection as test cases.
Are presuppositions incrementally integrated during sentence processing? (with Jacopo Romoli, Yasutada Sudo and Jesse Snedeker)
Plural interpretation as a species of implicature (with Hazel Pearson and Jesse Snedeker)
The role of working memory in interpreting scalar quantifiers (with Qingqing Wu and Jesse Snedeker)
Executive function depletion and recovery from garden-path analyses (with Jesse Snedeker)
How specific are speaker-specific pragmatic inferences in online sentence comprehension? (with Joshua Hartshorne and Jesse Snedeker)
Structural priming within and across constructions - what can we learn about continuity and change in the representations active in sentence processing in preschoolers and adults? (with Margarita Zeitlin and Jesse Snedeker)