Alice Rees



My work asks how we use language to communicate. Communication relies on more than producing and understanding words; there is a lot of meaning that we need to infer beyond what a speaker has chosen to say. Consider the following interaction:

Frankie: Have you tried Charlie's cake? It's moist and delicious

Ashley: Well, it's moist...

Here Ashley communicates that Charlie's cake is not delicious. Although they haven't said this, as listeners, we assume that if Ashley had agreed with this they would have said so. Since they did not say the cake was delicious we infer the cake is not delicious.  This is an example of an inference. As competent langauge users we have expectations for how other language users are going to interact with us. When these expectations are not met we often try to understand why which results in making inferences. My work looks at how we reconcile our expectations with our reality during communication.

I am interested in questions about:

  • how listeners make sense of the things people say
  • how speakers choose what to say
  • how people learn about the world from language
  • how our expectations shape communication


2019 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2014-2018 PhD Cardiff University "Priming pragmatic enrichment"

2011-2014 Bsc Psychology Hons (First Class)


Undergraduate teaching


Dissertation supervision

Postgraduate teaching


Research project supervision

Current PhD students supervised

Vilde Reksnes

Research summary

Experimental pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Developmental psychology

Research activities

View all 9 activities on Research Explorer

Past project grants

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship- Pragmatic priming in Children: from comprehension to production.

View all 13 publications on Research Explorer