Rachael Hulme and Chudi Gong to present at the July meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society

Rachael Hulme ( @Rach_Hulme ) will give a talk at this meeting entitled “Sleep protects against forgetting of new meanings for familiar words learned though stories.”.

See here for her abstract.


Chudi Gong will present a poster entitled “Comparing note-taking modalities for vocabulary learning: A cognitive offloading perspective”.



Rachael Hulme presents at Sleep and Development Scientists Network

The ‘Sleep and Development Scientists Network‘ met in York on 4th June.

Rachael Hulme (@Rach_Hulme) who is now a research fellow at Aston University presented work from her PhD looking at the role of sleep in learning new word meanings from stories.

See here for a copy of her poster.



New pre-print from Becky Gilbert

Sentence structure and listening task affect the retuning of lexical-semantic representations, Gilbert, R.A., Davis, M.H., Gaskell, M.G., Rodd., J.M.


In this pre-preprint by Becky Gilbert (@beckyannegilbert) and co-authors reports a set of four web-based experiments that use a word-meaning priming method to investigate how/when listeners retune their representations of familiar, ambiguous words.

This results are consistent with a‘good enough’ view of sentence processing in which:

  • representations of sentence meanings can remain as (im)precise as mandated by the situation
  • learning about the words within sentences varies according to the extent to which participants have produced accurate, precise representations of sentence meaning


New ESRC Grant funding!

Dr Jenni Rodd has been awarded a grant for £573,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to study individual differences in language comprehension across the lifespan. This research will be collaborative with:

This funding will support 2 postdoctoral resesarchers and and a graduate research assistant. Information about these vacancies will appear on this website in the coming weeks.



New paper from Eva Poort in PeerJ

Poort, E.D., Rodd, J.M. (2019). Towards a distributed connectionist account of cognates and interlingual homographs: evidence from semantic relatedness tasks. PeerJ. 7:e6725 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6725

In this paper Eva reports two pre-registered online experiments looking at how bilingual participants respond to word forms that exist in both their languages: cognates and interlingual homographs. The results show a striking similiarity to the pattern of results seen in monolingual participants for words that are ambiguous within their single language. She proposes a theoretical approach to unifying these two areas of research.

New pre-print from Lena Blott: Individual differences in sentence comprehension

Blott, L.M., Rodd, J.M., Ferreira, F., Warren J. (2019). Semantic ambiguity resolution during sentence comprehension is more efficient in individuals with greater lexical expertise. https://psyarxiv.com/3ejqy/

This pre-print reports an eye-tracking study (N=96) That Lena conducted while visiting Fernanda Ferreira’s lab in UCSD.

The results highlight the importance of reading experience and vocabulary knowledge for the efficiency of on-line reading processes in adult readers.



Article in the Observer Magazine on Maintaining Data Quality in Web-based Psychological Experiments

Jenni Rodd has written an article for the APS Observer Magazine. She emphasizes the importance of prepregistering exclusion cirterial when testing online:

“… you will inevitably collect some data that will be unusable — you simply cannot ensure that all participants will behave as instructed. It is therefore necessary to devise a set of experiment-specific criteria for excluding participants’ datasets from your analyses.”


Congratulations to Dr Hannah Betts on Passing her Viva

L-R: Eva Poort, Rachael Hulme, Becky Gilbert, Hannah Betts, Jenni Rodd, Matt Davis

Congratulations to Dr Hannah Betts who passed her viva with very minor corrections on Monday 14th May 2018. Her thesis is on ‘Retuning lexical-semantic representations on the basis of recent experience’. Thanks to Dr Jane Warren and Dr Matt Davis who were Hannah’s examiners.

Leverhulme DTC PhD Studentship Available for the Ecological Study of the Brain


Interested in joining The Word Lab? Dr Jenni Rodd is looking to recruit a PhD student to work on a project on ‘Using natural language environments to study vocabulary
development across the lifespan’, starting October 2018.

Further information about the project is available here: Leverhulme Doctoral Training Programme for the Ecological Study of the Brain

Further information about the studentship is available here: http://ecologicalbrain.org/prospective-students/

Please note that the deadline to apply for the studentship is: 28th March 2018

Interested applicants should contact Dr Jenni Rodd in the first instance: j.rodd(at)ucl.ac.uk