Prof Jennifer Rodd

Jenni is Professor of Cognitive Psychology in the Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL.

She is currently Director of the BSc Psychology Programme

Her research aims to discover how we learn and process word meanings. She has a particular interest in how we use our recent and long-term experience with language to improve the efficiency of language processing.

Email: j.rodd(at) Twitter: @jennirodd

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Dr Lena Blott

Lena is an ESRC-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on a project that aims to understand individual differences in language comprehension ability.

Her PhD research investigated how we determine the meanings of words when we read or listen to sentences. When we encounter a sentence such as “The coach is full”, how do we know whether “coach” refers to a vehicle that is full of people or a person that is full of food? And, crucially, what happens if we get it wrong?

A major focus of her work is to find out more about mistakes in interpretation, and how the language system recovers from them. She uses behavioural, eye-tracking and functional neuroimaging methods to investigate these questions. Currently, she is developing browser-based tasks to measure people’s ability to use context to select the appropriate meanings of words like “coach”.

Email: lena.blott.12(at) Twitter: @LenaMBlott

Dr Rachael Hulme

Rachael is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working with Professor Jenni Rodd on an ESRC-funded project investigating the causal factors that lead to high-quality lexical-semantic knowledge.

Before joining UCL she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychology at Aston University (2018-2021). Prior to this she gained her PhD in Experimental Psychology from UCL (2014-2018). She completed her MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of York (2013-2014), and her MA (joint Hons) in Psychology and French at the University of Glasgow (2007-2012).

Her previous research investigated how we learn new vocabulary through reading, and the different factors that can affect this process, such as the amount of exposure, spelling-to-sound mappings, and previous language experience. Her PhD research examined incidental learning of new meanings for familiar words using web-based language learning experiments.

Email: rachael.hulme.14(at) Twitter @Rach_Hulme

César Gutiérrez

César is from Chile specifically from Santiago de Chile the capital.

He studied Psychology at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He completed a master’s degree in Neuroscience at King`s College London, and now is doing his PhD at UCL under the supervision of Jenni Rodd and Jo Taylor.

The focus of his work is to understand how adults can improve their disambiguation skills. For example, when people read or listen an ambiguous word like “crane”, how do they know if this word refers to the machine for lifting or to the bird? And how can they improve the access and processing of these different meanings? He uses web-based behavioural experiments to find answers to these questions.

His PhD work investigates how reading and listening natural language sentences can improve the access and processing of subordinate meanings of ambiguous words like “crane”.

Email: ucjucag(at) Twitter: @CesarAntonioGS

Anna Gowenlock

Anna is a Research Assistant working with Professor Jenni Rodd on projects funded by an ESRC grant. Her role involves assisting on multiple projects exploring the different factors that can impact disambiguation skills and meaning comprehension.

She studied Linguistics at the University of Cambridge before joining UCL in 2020 to complete an MSc in Language Sciences. Here she developed an interest in running behavioural experiments online and using these tools to understand more about how we process language. Her masters project explored how we make use of visual cues to enhance auditory perception of speech.


Po-Heng Chen

Po-Heng is a PhD student in the Graduate Institute of Linguistics at National Taiwan University, where he works with Dr. Chia-Lin Lee. Before that, he accomplished his master’s thesis at National Chengchi University by using eye tracking and ambiguous words to examine whether syntax is processed prior to semantics in Taiwan Mandarin. Funded by Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology, he is currently visiting The Word Lab and supervised by Prof Jenni Rodd at UCL for 12 months to investigate how older adults learn novel meanings. 

By taking advantage of different technologies (e.g., behavioral experiment, eye tracking, ERPs, MEG, and fMRI), he is interested in knowing how humans learn and deploy syntactic and semantic information. Through examining individual variations and age-related differences, his ultimate goal is to understand the dynamic changes of the interaction between language-specific and domain-general cognitive and neural mechanisms across lifespan.

Email: po-heng.chen at Twitter: @BobbyPoHengChen

Yifei Hu

I am a master’s student at UCL doing one-year taught master’s programme, MSc Language Sciences (Language Development). I recently joined the lab to work on my dissertation project, studying the reasons for individual differences in lexical disambiguation ability.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh (2017-2021). During my undergraduate years, I developed my interest in language comprehension, including lexical and syntactic disambiguation, reference resolution, and perspective taking.

Email: at


The Word Lab is high collaborative and we work with a number of researchers both within the UK and overseas including:

Dr Jo Taylor (University College London)

Prof Kate Nation (University of Oxford)

Prof Gareth Gaskell (University of York)

Prof Courtenay Norbury (University College London)

Dr Matt Davis (MRC CBU, Cambridge)

Prof Rogier Kievit (Radbaud University)

Dr Lucy MacGregor (MRC CBU, Cambridge)


Other Past Members

Dr Eva Poort (Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen)

Dr Becky Gilbert (MRC CBU, Cambridge UK)

Dr Greg Maciejewski (University of the West of Scotland)

Dr Zhenguang (Garry) Cai (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Dr Jane Warren (University College London) 

Dr Sylvia Vitello (Cambridge Assessment)