Dr. Laine Stranahan is a psycholinguist currently teaching visual world eye-tracking in the Linguistics Department at the University of Potsdam. Before coming to Potsdam, she was an XPrag.de intern at the University of Osnabrück, where she worked with Michael Franke on Bayesian modeling of online speaker adaptiation as rational belief update. She received her PhD in Linguistics in 2018 from Harvard University, where she worked with Jesse Snedeker in the Lab for Developmental Studies on the processing of pragmatic inferences, including scalar implicature and contrastive inference. Using eye-tracking in the visual world paradigm, Laine expanded on previous research showing that listeners compute fewer contrastive inferences when their interlocutor produces redundant descriptions. Her dissertation showed that such sensitivity to interlocutor behavior is reduced when listeners are under working memory load. The first component of her master's research, also at Harvard, showed that some puzzling data on the distribution of the present tense in English is predicted by the sequential application of logical form and pragmatic maximization principles (e.g., presupposition maximization and general utterance-strength maximization). The second addressed the debate concerning the semantic- vs. pragmatic-upper-boundedness of numerals as compared with other quantifiers like "some" and "all". She did her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan in linguistics and philosophy with Ezra Keshet and John Lawler, focusing on the semantics and metaphysics of tense. Before coming to Harvard, she managed the 300 Languages Project with Laura Welcher at the Long Now Foundation.


Stranahan, L. (2018.) Effects of Working Memory Load and Speaker Reliability on Contrastive Inference and Quantifier Processing (Doctoral dissertation). Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.