Papers We’re Reading: 2019

This is a place where members of the lab can write up short notes about the papers that they have read (and found useful).

  1. Learning Words Via Reading: Contextual Diversity, Spacing, and Retrieval Effects in Adults

New paper from and

Nice paper! Careful experimental design looking at how contextual diversity, temporal spacing, and retrieval opportunity influence adult learning of meanings of rare words (eg glaucous) during silent sentence reading. Eye-tracking measures during training and test.

Key finding: Repeated presentation of word in the SAME sentence context produces faster reading of that word during learning, but then slower reading of then target word in later, neutral test context.

Interpretation: Contextual variation during learning produces lexical representations that are either: – more context independent – of enhanced quality. Either way, the word becomes easier to identify/retrieve and integrate into new (neutral) sentence.

Key limitation: Use of repeated presentation of the same exact sentence in ‘low diversity’ is problematic –  the authors note we need complementary studies that vary contextual diversity without using verbatim repetition.





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:

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)


Jenni Rodd is Looking to Recruit PhD Students for October 2018 Entry

Some current members of The Word Lab: Jenni Rodd, Rachael Hulme, Eva Poort, Hannah Betts, and Becky Gilbert

Interested in joining The Word Lab? Dr Jenni Rodd is looking to recruit PhD students to work on language comprehension/learning for October 2018 entry.

Funding is available through competitive ESRC Studentships, application for which is now open:

The deadline for preliminary applications for funding through this scheme is TUESDAY 9 JANUARY 2018 at 4.00pm (GMT).

Potential applicants are encouraged to get in touch: j.rodd(at)

Article Approved for Entry to the Preregistration Challenge


Eva Poort’s preregistered article entitled ‘The cognate facilitation effect in bilingual lexical decision is influenced by task demands’ has been approved by the Centre for Open Science for entry into the Preregistration Challenge (Experiment 2 of the paper was preregistered through the Open Science Framework). Eva is eligible to win a $1000 award in the next awards round on January 1, 2018.

Eva was recently interviewed about her first experience of preregistration, you can read the interview in full here: The “Preregistration Challenge” – Interview with Eva Poort