Psychology of language

The Psycholinguistic Research community in Edinburgh is internationally recognised as one of the foremost groups working on the psychology of language

Students in the group are able to work on a wide variety of topics: studying the representation of language in the brain, analysing communicative processes in dialogue, and researching the earliest stages of language development in infants and young children. Our methodological expertise is diverse, ranging from traditional reaction-time studies, through experiments with EEG/ERPs and fMRI, to eye movement studies of adults, children and babies. We also have particular expertise analysing big data sets to investigate statistical regularities in language (in English and a range of languages), and in developing experimental games to analyse hard-to-study processes such as dialogue.

Current research topics of interest

Thomas Bak Language learning and bi-/multilingualism, cognitive functions and wellbeing, language-specificity of memory and changes in language use/preference in multilinguals across the lifespan (particularly in ageing); cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and multilingual aspects of cognitive assessment, management and treatment (including psychotherapy).
Martin Corley "The little voice inside your head": understanding the relationship of inner speech to articulated speech - looking at ways of measuring inner speech, e.g., Corley et al (2011), and looking at evidence for inner speech in ultrasound measures of articulation, e.g., Drake & Corley (2015); "It's the way that you say it": the processes underlying pragmatic comprehension of spoken utterances - looking at real-time dialogue, and measures on online comprehension, e.g., Loy, Rohde, & Corley (2018), and looking at scalar implicature in social contexts, e.g., Loy, Rohde, & Corley (2019).
Daniel Mirman Functional communication deficits in aphasia; using intracranial EEG to investigate the neurobiology of language.
Martin Pickering Psychology of Language; Language processing.
Hugh Rabagliati Development of early language production skills; links between early language and later reading.
Neil Bramley* Causal cognition, active learning, hypothesis generation, control, judgment and decision making, resource rationality, game theory, optimal teaching, iterated learning, rational analysis, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science.
Holly Branigan* Language production, dialogue, language development, bilingualism.
Leonidas Doumas* Analogy, relational reasoning, mental representation, cognitive development, computational modelling, neural networks.
Paul Hoffman* Behavioural and neuroimaging studies of semantic knowledge and its role in language. Effects of healthy ageing, stroke and dementia on semantic memory.
Peter Lamont* The history and psychology of magic and the paranormal, wider history and theory of psychology (Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology).
Patrick Sturt* Syntactic processing in language comprehension, computational models of incremental parsing, anaphor resolution, eye movements in reading.
Sue Widdicombe* Identity, the self, culture, qualitative methods.

* Staff member is not accepting new PhD students for 2022 entry.

Staff working in Language, Cognition, and Communication


For queries about general admissions, please contact the Postgraduate Office.

To discuss academic matters, contact the Programme Director, Rene Mottus.

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Fees, funding and how to apply

Labs and facilities at the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences