Past Team Members

PhDs (& dissertations), Postdocs, Post-bacs
Shota Momma

Shota Momma

Postdoc, UC San Diego

Shota led us fearlessly into the world of language production, in order to tackle important architectural questions about production-comprehension relations. He also works on electrophysiology, he has advanced our understanding of how we anticipate upcoming words, and he has a knack for devising ingenious new tasks. Shota is from Japan, did his BA in Linguistics and Psychology at the U of Washington, and is expanding his language production repertoire in his postdoc at UCSD.

home | cv | papers

Dustin Chacón

Dustin Chacón

Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota

Dustin is one of those people with a rare talent for languages: he’s bilingual in Spanish and English, but his true love is Bengali, which he somehow learned in high school in South Dakota. He combines his linguistic flair with analytical, experimental and computational skills that he uses to probe the nature of language diversity. He was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at UMD, and taught at NYU before taking his current position at his alma mater.

home | cv | google scholar

Sol Lago

Sol Lago

Postdoc, University of Potsdam

Sol started our annual debate tradition, and few can match her in the argumentative arts. She’s also a tough customer when it comes to data, and she taught us new ways of understanding our experimental results. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, her PhD work focused on cross-language differences in language processing in Spanish, English, and German, but she also worked on memory, speech perception, and electrophysiology.

home | cv

Dan Parker

Dan Parker

Assistant Professor, College of William and Mary

Dan just kept on digging until he found gold. He showed us how to turn off linguistic illusions that we regarded as robust, and how to turn on illusions that we regarded as impossible. Surprises like this keep us in business. Dan is a proud Ohioan. His BA was in English at the U of Toledo, and he studied linguistics at Eastern Michigan U. His position at America’s second oldest university combines psycholinguistics and computational linguistics.

home | cv | papers

Shevaun Lewis

Shevaun Lewis

Research Assistant Professor, University of Maryland

Shevaun gets us organized. In her PhD research she developed a framework for pragmatic learning and processing. She straightened out my thinking about cognitive architecture for language, led the coup that transformed our interdisciplinary graduate program, and designed countless cakes. She did a CogSci BA at Yale; in her postdoc at Johns Hopkins she studied children with neurocognitive disorders. Now part of the leadership team at the Maryland Language Science Center, she leads our graduate training initiatives.

home | cv | papers | google scholar

Wing Yee Chow

Wing Yee Chow

Lecturer (tenure-track), Univ. College London

Wing Yee made prediction in language processing a whole lot more interesting for us. It’s neat when people are really good at it, but it’s far more informative when people are only sometimes good at it. Wing Yee is originally from Hong Kong, did a BA in Psychology and Linguistics at McGill University in Montreal, and did a postdoc in the Basque Country before taking her current position at University College London.

home | cv | papers

Dave Kush

Dave Kush

Associate Professor, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

Dave is a syntactician and ace experimentalist. He studies the basic building blocks of sentence structures, and how those are used in real-time computation. In addition he has worked on comparative syntax, including notorious cases of island-immunity in Swedish, and semantics of Hindi. In his current postdoc position at Haskins Labs / Yale he is investigating individual differences. His faculty position at NTNU starts in 2016.

home | cv | papersgoogle scholar

Brian Dillon

Brian Dillon

Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts

Brian is a linguist, psycholinguist, and computational modeler. Brian showed us the importance of using implemented models in theory building, and was an all round experimental black belt, adding speed-accuracy tradeoff to our repertoire. His experiments have covered English, Hindi, Chinese, and French, and during his time as lab manager (2005-7) and then PhD student (2007-11) his research took him to Beijing, Potsdam, and Michigan.

home | cv | papers

Akira Omaki

Akira Omaki

Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Akira is a man with a plan. His overarching interest is in learning, but he investigates this through the window of language processing, how adults and children perceive the target language. He taught us about the importance, and the perils, of child language processing. And he’s pretty handy as a syntactician, too. Originally from Hokkaido in northern Japan, he has also worked in Hawaii and in Switzerland. He was on the faculty nearby at Johns Hopkins U from 2011-2016 before starting his current position in Seattle.

home | cv | papers | lab | google scholar

Ellen Lau

Ellen Lau

Assistant Professor, University of Maryland

Ellen finds order in chaos, whether in the lab or in the scientific literature. And she makes discovery fun. Ellen joined us as a 1-year post-bac in 2003, and we’ve managed to keep her from leaving ever since, aside from a short-ish stint as a postdoc in Boston. She got us thinking carefully about prediction, showed us how to learn from the conflicting results from different neuroimaging techniques, inspired the Baggett Fellows program, and started our now venerable tradition of cakes.

home & papers | cv

Matt Wagers

Matt Wagers

Associate Professor, UC Santa Cruz

Matt deserves much of the blame for our fascination with memory mechanisms, and their successes and failures. In his PhD he focused on English agreement and wh-dependencies, and also did some computational modeling. More recently he has turned his hand to languages that have traditionally been far out of the reach of psycholinguists, such as the Austronesian language Chamorro, which he apparently speaks rather well. He is an authority on diverse topics, ranging from biology to Buffy.

homepage | papers | google scholar

Clare Stroud

Clare Stroud

Program Officer, National Academy of Medicine

Clare took us down electrophysiological roads that we hadn’t dared to travel before, and started us thinking about the coupling between syntactic processing and semantic interpretation. Clare has a BA in Spanish and Linguistics from Queens University in Canada. After receiving her PhD in 2008 she remained in Washington DC to pursue her science policy interests at the National Academies, where she acts as a bridge between science and the corridors of power.

career advice | current work

Jon Sprouse

Jon Sprouse

Associate Professor, University of Connecticut

Jon was never officially part of our team when he was at UMD, but so many people assume that he was, and we’ve worked closely together since then, so it might as well have been true. Jon is adamant that he is a syntactician, not a psycholinguist, but he’s pretty handy at both. In addition to his well-known research on acceptability judgments and reductionism, he has done provocative work on the learnability of complex linguistic constraints. In 2013 he won the LSA’s Early Career Award.

home & papers | google scholar

Takuya Goro

Takuya Goro

Associate Professor, Tsuda College, Tokyo

Takuya can get children to do things that few others can. He combines this with his linguistic talents to uncover how children learn about meaning. Takuya’s PhD research on cross-lanuguage differences in scope interpretation is an underground gem, in both the linguistic analyses and the experimental ingenuity. Takuya nowadays works at Tsuda College in Tokyo, the Wellesley of Japan, together with Hajime Ono, a former part-time member of our team. Oh, and he took the frog picture.

Flickr stream (nice!) |

Ming Xiang

Ming Xiang

Assistant Professor, University of Chicago

Ming spent 2 years with us as a postdoc (2005-7), but it seemed like she was around for longer. She took the plunge that got us into studying linguistic illusions systematically, and we haven’t looked back since. Ming has a BA from Beijing University and a PhD from Michigan State, and she worked at Harvard and Victoria before moving to Chicago. Nowadays she’s developing new paradigms for investigating silent structure and invisible syntactic movement, in English, Chinese, and more.

home | paperslab | google scholar

Masaya Yoshida

Masaya Yoshida

Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Masaya is a fearless psycholinguist and syntactician. He takes the kinds of experiments that you don’t try because they’ll never work, and shows that they can somehow work. He did a postdoc in Edinburgh before taking his current faculty position at Northwestern U in Chicago. He recently received an NSF grant for his work on the syntax and processing of ellipsis, i.e., things that you don’t hear.  He was also the recipient of perhaps the largest ever thesis cake, a map of the islands of Japan.

home & papers | cv | google scholar

Leticia Pablos

Leticia Pablos

Research Scientist, University of Leiden

Leticia is bilingual in Spanish and Basque, and her PhD work included experiments on Spanish clitics and Basque agreement, neither of which is a topic for the faint-hearted. After finishing her PhD in 2006 she did a postdoc in the UK at the U of Reading, and in recent years she has been based at the U of Leiden in the Netherlands, where she has added Dutch and electrophysiology to her repertoire. Her current work focuses on comprehension of questions and the syntax-phonology interface.



Nina Kazanina

Nina Kazanina

Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol

If there was such thing as a Renaissance Psycholinguist, Nina would be it. She was our first team member at UMD and she showed that it’s possible to work in language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and cognitive neuroscience, in phonology, syntax, and semantics, and to make important contributions in all of them. Originally from Moscow, she has been a faculty member in Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol (UK) since 2007, where she has expanded her repertoire even further.

home | google scholar

Meesook Kim

Meesook Kim

Professor, Sangji University, Korea

Meesook was my (joint) first graduate student, at the U of Delaware. Her research on cross-linguistic differences in verb argument structure, and what children make of those differences, took me to an area that I would never have explored otherwise, and reinforced the value of a multi-lingual perspective in our experimental research, something that we have built on ever since.

Dave Schneider

Cycorp, Inc.

Dave was my (joint) first graduate student, at the U of Delaware, and I probably learned more from him than he did from me (a recurring theme). Dave built a minimalist parser for his PhD thesis. The explicitness of the model threw up many surprises, which led to experimental tests, which led to further surprises. This taught me to think more clearly. Since 2002 Dave has been the Lead Computational Linguist at Cycorp Inc. in Austin, TX.

Sachiko Aoshima

US Government Language Specialist

In her 2003 PhD thesis Sachiko showed us the value of studying the processing of verb-final languages and constructions. Her finding that Japanese speakers favor long-distance wh-dependencies over shorter ones — because they are linearly more local in Japanese — is the kind of surprise that I love. Sachiko had an established career in English pedagogy before she came to us, and her current position returns to those roots, though now via Japanese.

Natalie Chun-Chieh Hsu

Assistant Professor, National Tsinghua University, Taiwan

Natalie’s 2006 PhD was from the U of Delaware, but much of her research was based at UMD and she became an adoptive member of our team. She carried out impressive studies on the comprehension of head-final relative clauses in Chinese. Hers was one of our earlier demonstrations that comprehenders aren’t always so good at using the information that we put in front of them.

Ryuichiro Hashimoto

Associate Professor, Tokyo Metropolitan University

Ryu is an expert on language, neuroanatomy, and fMRI. He spent just a year with us as a postdoc, but he set us down a very fruitful path, investigating multi-modal neuroimaging, and trying to make sense of why identical linguistic manipulations elicit brain activity in different brain regions, depending on the recording technique. Nowadays he directs a cognitive neuroscience research group in suburban Tokyo.

PhD Dissertations

Momma, Shota: Parsing, generation, and grammar. University of Maryland, 2016. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Chacón, Dustin Alfonso: Comparative psychosyntax. University of Maryland, 2015. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Lago, Maria Sol: Memory and prediction in cross-linguistic sentence comprehension. University of Maryland, 2014. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Parker, Daniel: The cognitive basis for encoding and navigating linguistic structure. University of Maryland, 2014. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Chow, Wing Yee: The temporal dimension of linguistic prediction. University of Maryland, 2013. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Kush, Dave: Respecting relations: memory access and antecedent retrieval in incremental sentence processing. University of Maryland, 2013. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Lewis, Shevaun: Pragmatic enrichment in language processing and development. University of Maryland, 2013. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Dillon, Brian: Structured access in sentence comprehension. University of Maryland, 2011. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Omaki, Akira: Commitment and flexibility in the developing parser. University of Maryland, 2010. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Lau, Ellen: The predictive nature of language comprehension. University of Maryland, 2009. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Stroud, Clare: Structural and semantic selectivity in the electrophysiology of sentence comprehension. University of Maryland, 2008. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Wagers, Matthew: The structure of memory meets memory for structure in linguistic cognition. University of Maryland, 2008. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Goro, Takuya: Language specific constraints on scope interpretation in first language acquisition. University of Maryland, 2007. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Pablos, Leticia: Preverbal structure building in Romance languages and Basque. University of Maryland, 2006. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Yoshida, Masaya: Constraints and mechanisms in long-distance dependency formation. University of Maryland, 2006. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Kazanina, Nina: The acquisition and processing of backwards anaphora. University of Maryland, 2005. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Aoshima, Sachiko: The grammar and parsing of wh-dependencies. University of Maryland, 2003. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Kim, Meesook: A cross-linguistic perspective on the acquisition of locative verbs. University of Delaware, 1999. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)
Schneider, David: Parsing and incrementality. University of Delaware, 1999. (Type: PhD Thesis | Abstract | Links | BibTeX)

Lab Managers

Ilia Kurenkov

Lab Manager 2013-2014

BA, U of Massachusetts, 2013. Current: software developer, U of Maryland and Washington DC.

Glynis MacMillan

Lab Manager 2012-2013

BA, U of Massachusetts, 2012.

Cybelle Smith

Lab Manager 2011-2012

BA, Stanford University, 2011. Current: PhD student in Psychology, U of Illinois.

Shayne Sloggett

Lab Manager 2010-2011

BA, UC Santa Cruz, 2010. Current: PhD student, U of Massachusetts.

Alan Mishler

Lab Manager 2009-2010

BA U of Michigan, 2009. Current: Reearcher, Center for Advanced Study of Language, U of Maryland.

Mike Shvartsman

Lab Manager 2008-2009

BA, Yale University, 2008. Current: PhD student in Psychology, U of Michigan.

Brian Dillon

Lab Manager 2005-2007

BA, SUNY Buffalo, 2003; PhD, U of Maryland 2011. Current: Assistant Professor, U of Massachusetts.

Henny Yeung

Lab Manager 2003-2004

BA, Duke University, 2003; PhD, U of British Columbia, 2010. Current: Research Scientist, CNRS, Paris, France.

Alison Austin

Lab Manager 2003-2004

BA, Yale University, 2003; PhD, U of Rochester, 2010; postdoc: Haskins Labs. Current: business in Seattle area.

Ellen Lau

Lab Manager 2003-2004

BA, Michigan State U, 2003; PhD, U of Maryland, 2009; postdoc, Tufts/Harvard 2009-12. Current: Assistant Professor, U of Maryland.

Daniel Garcia-Pedrosa

Lab Manager 2002-2003

BA Harvard, MBA Wharton/UPenn.

Shani Abada

Lab Manager 2001-2002

BA U of Maryland; PhD McGill University, Communication Disorders. Current: Nuance Communications.