Fang Jackson-Yang

PhD Psychology

  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room S35
7 George Square

Post code


I am a psycholinguist, linguist and Chinese-as-a-second-language teacher. I was born and grew up in central China. I worked as a Chinese-as-a-second-language teacher, an English-as-a-second-language teacher, and a national radio reporter before starting my career in academia in the UK. I have studied linguistics, applied linguistics and psycholinguistics at MSc and PhD levels at Beijing Language and Culture University, the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh.

Undergraduate teaching

Data Analysis for Psychology in R 1 (Year 1)

Psychology 1 (Year 1)

Data Analysis for Psychology in R 2 (Year 2)

Psychology 2 (Year 2)

Critical Analysis  (Year 3)

Psychology in Action (Year 3)

Psychology Outreach and Engagement (Year 4)

Workshop "The Psychology of Good Writing" (all undergraduates in PPLS)



Postgraduate teaching

MSc dissertation supervision, ILE, Moray House School of Education and Sport

Psychological Research Skills (MSc course), Psychology Department, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

Second Language Teaching Curriculum (MSc course), ILE, Moray House School of Education and Sport.

Online Language Learning (MSc course), ILE, Moray House School of Education and Sport.

Linear Mixed-effects Modelling in R (training course), CDCS, Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Null Hypothesis Testing (training course), CDCS, Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Advanced Writing in Quantitative Research : Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion (workshop), PPLS Skills Centre, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.

Research summary

My primary research interests lie in prominence in language and language-mediated attention. However, I am interested in all psycholinguistic and linguistic topics. I am always happy to discuss these topics with people both within my fields and beyond. Please see below for my current research and the projects I have done previously. If you are interested in my research, please get in touch!

Current research interests

Transitive action events such as “the boy hammering the coke can flat” occur in daily conversations often. Descriptions of such events often convey meaning about not only what happens in the event but also which event element is prominent in the speaker’s mental model such that they intend to direct their addressee’s attention to. For example, your attention may be drawn to the boy, the coke can, or the consequence of the event (the state change of the can), depending on how the speaker packages information in the sentence. Correctly indicating and understanding prominent event elements is an important part of communication and cognition. How do people do this? In particular, I am interested in how speakers encode and hearers decode conceptually prominent elements in transitive sentences in monologues and simulated dialogues. I design psycholinguistic experiments using factorial design that allow me to manipulate the prominence state of a particular event element and investigate how such manipulation influences people’ linguistic choices in sentences that they produce and their eye movement patterns during comprehension. My research contributes to the development of more sophisticated theories of language mediated attention and has practical implications for language use in everyday life.

Past research interests

In my previous MSc project, I investigated how people influence each other on emphasizing certain semantic components across messages in dialogue. For my previous MA projects, I conducted empirical studies on English speakers’ second language acquisition of Mandarin topic-comment constructions. I have also built a database of spontaneous speech of Mandarin and conducted a corpus-based study in Mandarin left-periphery.

Conference details


  • Poster “The Preposition BA shapes interpretation (but not prediction) of upcoming entities in Mandarin comprehension”. 29th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2022), BCBL - Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, 31 Aug – 2 Sept 2023, Donostia–San Sebastián, Spain.
  • Invited Talk “Predictive processing of Mandarin state-change transitive events using a morphosyntactic cue – Evidence from online eye movements and offline forced choices”, The Attentive Listener in the Visual World (AttLis 2022), University of Connecticut, 27-28 Oct 2022, Storrs, USA.
  • Poster “Speakers’ discourse expectations for the prominence status of entities in action events”, 28th Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2022), University of York, 7-9 Sep 2022, England, the UK.
  • Talk “The dynamic prominence status of thematic roles in simulated Mandarin conversations (with a focus on grammatical encoding)”, the 28th Annual Conference of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics (IACL-28), Chinese University of Hong Kong, 20-22 May 2022, Hong Kong, China.
  • Short talk “The dynamic prominence status of Patient in Mandarin sentence production (with a focus on message encoding)”, 34th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, University of Pennsylvania, 5 March 2021, Philadelphia, USA.
  • Talk “Pinning down prominence relations in action events: Evidence from Mandarin sentence production”, 2nd International Conference “Prominence in Language 2018”, University of Cologne, 11-13 July 2018, Cologne, Germany.
  • Talk “Is topicalised topic more prominent than left-dislocated topic? – Evidence from Mandarin sentence production”, the 1st International Workshop on the interface of Information Structure and Argument Structure (InfoStars), University of Seville, 25-27 Oct 2017, Seville, Spain.
  • Poster “How do speakers grammatically encode conceptually prominent information?”, the 23rd AMLaP conference: Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing, 7-9 Sep, 2017, Lancaster, the UK.
  • Talk “The persistence of prominence in production: Evidence from spoken Mandarin Chinese”, Discourse Expectations: Theoretical, Experimental and Computational Perspectives (DETEC 2017), Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics,  26-27 June 2017, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
  • Invited Talk: “The persistence of linguistic prominence in language production: Evidence from spoken Mandarin Chinese”, departmental lab meeting at the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting (FTI)’s 75th Anniversary Event, the University of Geneva, 28-30 Sep 2016, Switzerland.
  • Poster: “Corpus-based study on topic-comment realisation in spoken Mandarin Chinese”, Prosody and Information Structure in Stuttgart (PINS 2016), 23-24 March 2016, Stuttgart, Germany.


Dec 2023. Discourse Processes

Nov 2023. Linguistic Inquiry

June 2016. Conference "Discourse Expectations: Theoretical, Experimental, and Computational perspectives" (DETEC2019), Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS), Berlin, Germany.

Invited speaker

27-28 Oct 2022.  "Predictive processing of Mandarin state-change transitive events using morphosyntactic cues".  AttLis-2022 The Attentive Listener in the Visual World. University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.


2024, The 30th AMLaP (Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing), Edinburgh, UK

2013, Manchester Forum in Linguistics (mFiL), Manchester, UK

Papers delivered