New Pre-Print Published on Open Science Framework


Eva Poort and Jenni Rodd have a new pre-print published on the Open Science Framework, the details of which can be found below:

Title: “The cognate facilitation effect in bilingual lexical decision is influenced by stimulus list composition”

Authors: Eva D. Poort and Jennifer M. Rodd


Cognates share their form and meaning across languages: “winter” in English means the same as “winter” in Dutch. Research has shown that bilinguals process cognates more quickly than words that exist in one language only (e.g. “ant” in English). This finding is taken as strong evidence for the claim that bilinguals have one integrated lexicon and that lexical access is language non-selective. Two English lexical decision experiments with DutchEnglish bilinguals investigated whether the cognate facilitation effect is influenced by stimulus list composition. In Experiment 1, the ‘classic’ version, which included only cognates, English control words and regular non-words, showed significant cognate facilitation (31 ms). In contrast, the ‘alternative’ version, which also included interlingual homographs, pseudohomophones (instead of regular non-words) and Dutch-only words, showed a significantly different profile: a non-significant disadvantage for the cognates (8 ms). Experiment 2 examined the specific impact of these three additional stimuli types and found that only the inclusion of Dutch words significantly reduced the cognate facilitation effect. Additional exploratory analyses revealed that, when the preceding trial was a Dutch word, cognates were recognised up to 50 ms more slowly than English controls. We suggest that when participants must respond ‘no’ to non-target language words, competition arises between the ‘yes’- and ‘no’-responses associated with the two interpretations of a cognate, which (partially) cancels out the facilitation that is a result of the cognate’s shared form and meaning. We conclude that the cognate facilitation effect is a real effect that originates in the lexicon, but that cognates can be subject to competition effects outside the lexicon.

Word Lab Poster at the International Symposium on Bilingual Processing in Adults and Children (ISBPAC)

Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Eva Poort will be presenting a poster about her research at the International Symposium on Bilingual Processing in Adults and Children (ISBPAC) which takes place 14-15th April 2016 in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

The title of the poster and a link to the abstract can be found below:

‘Does the cognate facilitation effect depend on task demands?’ – Eva Poort and Jennifer Rodd.

A pdf of the poster can be downloaded HERE.

Recent Experience with Words Affects Later Processing in another Language


In a just-published experiment, we have shown that recent experience with a word in your first language affects how you process that same word some time later in your second language. What’s more, whether this recent experience has a positive or negative effect depends on whether that word has the same or a different meaning in the two languages. Our participants read sentences in their first language, Dutch, that contained words like “film”, which has a similar meaning in both languages, and words like “room”, which confusingly means “cream” in Dutch. When the participants were later asked to decide whether these words were real English words, they were faster with words like “film”, but slower for words like “room”. These results show that the representations of words from different languages are strongly interconnected, and that whenever bilinguals switch between languages, this will influence how easily they can process certain words.

Recent experience with cognates and interlingual homographs in one language affects subsequent processing in another language.

Authors: Eva Poort, Jane Warren and Jennifer Rodd

Keywords: Lexical decision; Cognates; Interlingual homographs; Language switching; Word-meaning priming

Word Lab Poster at Psycholinguistics in Flanders Conference

Eva will be presenting a poster about her research at the Psycholinguistics in Flanders 2015 conference in Marche En Famenne, Belgium on 21st-22nd May.

The title and a link to the poster can be found below:

‘Processing of cognates and interlingual homographs in L2 is affected by recent experience with these words in L1’ – Eva Poort, Jane Warren and Jennifer Rodd.

PhD Posters at the UCL PPG Cumberland Lodge Conference

Three PhD students in the Word Lab will be presenting posters of their research at the UCL PPG Cumberland Lodge Conference which will take place 27th-28th April. Links to these posters can be found below:


Following the Cumberland Lodge conference this week, we are pleased to announce that Eva was named the runner up in the poster competition. Congratulations, Eva!

Three New Papers Published

Congratulations to Garry who has recently had three new papers published! Links to the articles can be found below.

Zhenguang Garry Cai, Martin J. Pickering, Ruiming Wang, and Holly P. Branigan (2015) It is there whether you hear it or not: Syntactic representation of missing arguments. Cognition, 136 (March).

Zhenguang Garry Cai and Louise Connell (2015) Space-time interdependence: Evidence against asymmetric mapping between time and space. Cognition, 136 (March).

Ruiming Wang, Xiaoyue Fan, Cong Liu and Zhenguang Garry Cai (in press) Cognitive control and word recognition speed influence the Stroop effect in bilinguals. International Journal of Psychology.


Annual Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society: 9-10 January 2014, University College London

Jenni Rodd  was the local organiser for this meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society: 9-10 January 2014, University College London, and organised a symposium on “The Cognitive Neuroscience of Sentence Comprehension”.

The lab contributed to four talks and a poster at this meeting:

1) Sylvia Vitello, Joseph Devlin and Jennifer Rodd: Time course of resolving ambiguous speech when disambiguating information is delayed.

2) Patti Adank: The neural locus of semantic and syntactic processing: a meta-analysis.

3) Jane Warren: Resolving semantic ambiguity during sentence comprehension: the role of inferior frontal cortex.

4) Eva Denise Poort* and Jennifer Rodd: Cross-language long-term word-meaning priming of cognates and interlingual homographs.

All abstracts available HERE