Psychology of Language Student Projects

Happy New Year!

One of our most popular third year modules is Psychology of Language (EGH310), a course which examines how language is processed in real time. Students learn about a wide range of topics related to language perception and production, including speech errors, the mental processes underlying reading, sentence comprehension, and language disorders.

For their final assessment this year, the students formed groups of 4-5 to design their own hypothetical experiment linking real-time language processing to an area of linguistic theory, like syntax, semantics, phonetics, phonology. The students presented their proposals as posters at a mini-conference held in late December on the first floor of Jessop West.

Here are just a few of the fantastic proposals the students developed for the conference! To learn more about one of the topics, click the project title to download the students’ posters.

Is the process of syntactic parsing discrete or interactive?
Christabel Armitage, Felicity Lawrie, Lauren Mintey, Matthew Stanaszek, & Michael Grey

It is widely debated whether language processes occur independently, one after another (discretely), or whether multiple sources of information are used (interactively). We therefore aimed to provide more empirical evidence in support of either discrete or interactive models and to further inform psycholinguistic theory. Our group ultimately decided to investigate the principle of late closure and plausibility with regards to tense, to find out whether LC or the constraint of tense play a more significant role in influencing comprehension of temporal clauses.


Learning to read: To what extent does language transparency affect the development of phonological recoding ability?
Claire Fowler, Anna-Louise Parry, Mary Phillips, Rebecca Rowell, & Annabelle Speed


We decided to look at a cross-linguistic study with English and Italian, because we found little research in this area to begin with. Previous studies (Frith 1988) and Pritchard et al (2012) had focused on either English and German or just a variety of English. We didn’t find a previous study that compared the development of the dual route model in a Germanic language (English) and a Romance language (Italian).



How are compound words stored in the mental lexicon?
Elle Aspell-Sheppard, Jessica Beaver, Bronte Howard, & Danny Norton

Group 2



We chose to study morphology initially because each of us had an interest in the subject from previous studies. Further research revealed that there was a gap in research into the storing of compound words within the mental lexicon, so our study went from there.




An Investigation into the Semantic Priming of High Frequency Pseudohomophones
Ruth Buddle, Alex Johnson, Bethany Ralfs, Gemma Walker, & Connor Young



We were particularly interested in the pseudohomophone effect because reading is something we as students, particularly English students, do all the time we wanted to further understand the psychology behind that.




Priming Effects on Speech Comprehension
Leanne Burton, Samm Day, Rhiannon Dodds, Kat Elliott, & Laurie Petrucci




My group and I chose this topic to do an experiment design on because it was of personal interest to us all and something we genuinely wanted to explore. It was an enjoyable task to be a part of!





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