Language Development & Language Processing Lab



The Language Development and Language Processing Lab investigates how humans understand, produce, and learn language. Much of our work involves behavioral studies with children and adults, in which we record where someone is looking as they hear or produce speech about their surrounding environment. In this way, we can obtain a moment-by-moment record of what the person believes the speech is referring to, and by extension what kind of linguistic knowledge they must be deploying during language use. This work is highly interdisciplinary and makes direct ties to work done in PsychologyLinguistics, and Computer Science.

Happening Now

We are currently conducting studies with children ages 4-7 at many child organizations in Philadelphia. If you have a child this age that attends a charter school, Head Start, pre-k or after school program and would like us to reach out to them to see if they would like to participate in this research, let us know.


Stevens, J.S., Trueswell, J.C., Yang, C. & Gleitman, L.R. (2016). The pursuit of word meanings. Cognition.

Trueswell, J. C., Lin, Y., Armstrong, B., Cartmill, E. A., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Gleitman, L. R. (2016). Perceiving referential intent: Dynamics of reference in natural parent–child interactions. Cognition, 148, 117-135.

Woodard, T., Gleitman, L., & Trueswell, J.C. (2016). Two- and three-year-olds track a single meaning during word learning: Evidence for Propose-but-verify. Language Learning & Development

Gleitman, L., & Papafragou, A. (2016). New perspectives on language and thought. In K. Holyoak and R. Morrison (eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (2nd ed.).New York: Oxford University Press.

Pozzan, L., & Trueswell J. C. (2016). Second language processing and revision of garden-path sentences: a visual word study. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

Woodard, K, Pozzan, L., & Trueswell, J.C. (2016). Taking your own path: Individual differences in Executive Function and Language Processing Skills in Child LearnersJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 141, 187-209.

Pozzan, L. & Trueswell, J.C. (2015). Syntactic processing and acquisition: Commentary on Phillips and Ehrenhofer (2015), “The Role of Language Processing in Language Acquisition”, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 5, 516-521.

Pozzan, L., & Trueswell, J. C. (2015). Revise and Resubmit: Processing Effects on Grammar AcquisitionCognitive Psychology, 80, 73-108.

Pozzan, L., Gleitman, L. R. & Trueswell, J. C. (2015).  Semantic Ambiguity and Syntactic Bootstrapping: The case of Conjoined-Subject Intransitive Sentences. Language Learning and Development.

Koehne, J., Trueswell, J. C., & Gleitman, L. R. (2013). Multiple Proposal Memory in Observational Word Learning. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Socity (pp. 805-810). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Cartmill, E. A., Armstrong, B. F., Gleitman, L. R., Goldin-Meadow, S., Medina, T. N., & Trueswell, J. C. (2013). Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary 3 years later. PNAS; published ahead of print June 24, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1309518110

Bunger, A., Papafragou, A., & Trueswell, J. C. (2013). Event structure influences language production: Evidence from structural priming in motion event description. Journal of Memory and Language. Journal of memory and language, 69(3), 299-323.

Hafri, A., Papafragou, A., & Trueswell, J. C. (2013). Getting the Gist of Events: Recognition of Two-Participant Actions From Brief Displays.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0030045

Gleitman, L., & Papafragou, A. (2013). Relations between language and thought. In D. Reisberg (Ed.), Handbook of Cognitive Psychology (504-523). New York: Oxford University Press.

Andreu, L., Sanz-Torrent, M., & Trueswell, J.C. (2013). Anticipatory sentence processing in children with specific language impairment: Evidence from eye movements during listeningApplied Psycholinguistics, 34(01), 5-44.

Trueswell, J. C., Medina, T. N., Hafri, A., & Gleitman, L. R. (2013). Propose but verify: Fast mapping meets cross-situational word learning. Cognitive Psychology, 66(1), 126-156.

Gleitman, L. & Landau, B. (2012). Every child an isolate:  nature’s experiments in language learning. In M. Piattelli-Palmarini and R.C. Berwick (eds.), Rich Languages from Poor Inputs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Trueswell, J.C., Kaufman, D., Hafri, A., & Lidz, J. (2012). Development of parsing abilities interacts with grammar learning: Evidence from Tagalog and Kannada. In A.K. Biller et al. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 36th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 620-632). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Gleitman, L.R., Connolly, A.C., & Armstrong, S.L. (2012). Can prototype representations support composition and decomposition? In M. Werning and W. Hinzen and E. Machery (Eds.), Oxford handbook of compositionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sekerina, I.A. & Trueswell, J.C. (2012). Interactive processing of contrastive expressions by Russian children. First Language, 32(1-2), 63-87.

Thothathiri, M., Kim, A., Trueswell, J.C., Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2012). Parametric effects of syntactic-semantic conflict in Broca’s area during sentence processing. Brain and Language, 120(3), 259-264.

Medina, T.N., Snedeker, J., Trueswell, J.C., & Gleitman, L.R. (2011). How words can and cannot be learned by observationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 9014-9019.

Trueswell, J. C., & Papafragou, A. (2010). Perceiving and remembering events cross-linguistically: Evidence from dual-task paradigmsJournal of Memory and Language, 63, 64-82.

Trueswell, J.C., Papafragou, A. & Choi, Y. (2011). Syntactic and referential processes: What develops? In E. Gibson and N. Pearlmutter (eds.), The Processing and Acquisition of Reference. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Choi, Y. & Trueswell, J.C. (2010). Children’s (in)ability to recover from garden paths in a verb-final language: Evidence for developing control in sentence processingJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 106(1), 41-61.

Novick, J.M., Kan, I.P., Trueswell, J.C. & Thompson-Schill, S. (2010). A case for conflict across multiple domains: Memory and language impairments following damage to ventrolateral prefrontal cortexCognitive Neuropsychology, 26(6), 527-567.

January, D., Trueswell, J.C. & Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2009). Co-localization of Stroop and Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution in Broca’s Area: Implications for the Neural Basis of Sentence Processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(12), 2434-2444.

Gleitman, L.R. (2009). The learned component of language learning. Piattelli-Palmarini, M., P.Salaburu and J.Uriagereka (eds.), Of minds and language: Encounters with Noam Chomsky. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 239-256.

Nappa, R., Wessell, A., McEldoon, K.L., Gleitman, L.R., & Trueswell, J.C. (2009). Use of speaker’s gaze and syntax in verb learning. Language Learning and Development, 5(4), 203-234.

Kaiser, E. & Trueswell, J. C. (2008). Interpreting pronouns and demonstratives in Finnish: Evidence for a form-specific approach to referenceLanguage and Cognitive Processes, 23(5), 709-748.

Novick, J. M., Thompson-Schill, S. & Trueswell, J.C. (2008). Putting lexical constraints in context into the visual-world paradigm. Cognition, 107(3), 850-903.

Papafragou, A., Hulbert, J. & Trueswell, J.C. (2008). Does language guide event perception? Evidence from eye movements. Cognition, 108(1), 155-184.

Trueswell, J. C. (2008). Using eye movements as a developmental measure within psycholinguistics. In I.A. Sekerina, E. M. Fernández, and H. Clahsen (Eds.), Language Processing in Children (pp. 73-96). John Benjamins.

Arnold, J. E., Brown-Schmidt, S. & Trueswell, J. C. (2007). Children’s use of gender and order-of-mention during pronoun comprehensionLanguage and Cognitive Processes, 22(4), 527-565.

Gleitman, L., January, D., Nappa, R. & Trueswell, J. C. (2007). On the give and take between event apprehension and utterance formulationJournal of Memory and Language, 57(4), 544-569.

Papafragou, A., Cassidy, K. & Gleitman, L.R. (2007). When we think about thinking: The acquisition of belief verbsCognition, 105(1), 125-165.

Trueswell, J. C & Gleitman, L. R. (2007). Learning to parse and its implications for language acquisition. In G. Gaskell (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics.

Hurewitz, F., Papafragou, A., Gleitman, L. & Gelman, R. (2006). Asymmetries in the Acquisition of Numbers and QuantifiersLanguage Learning and Development, 2(2), 77-96.

Papafragou, A., Massey, C. & Gleitman, L. R. (2006). When English proposes what Greek presupposes: The cross-linguistic encoding of motion eventsCognition, 98(3), B75-B87.

Tanenhaus, M. K. & Trueswell, J. C. (2006). Eye movements and spoken language comprehension. In M. J. Traxler and M. A. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Handbook of Psycholinguistics, 2nd Edition. Elsevier Press.

Novick, J. M., Trueswell, J. C., & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2005). Cognitive control and parsing: Re-examining the role of Broca’s area in sentence comprehensionJournal of Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 5(3), 263-281.

Gleitman, L. R., Cassidy, K., Nappa, R., Papafragou, A., & Trueswell, J. C. (2005). Hard WordsLanguage Learning and Development, 1(1), 23-64.

Kaiser, E. & Trueswell, J. C. (2004). The role of discourse context in the processing of a flexible word-order language. Cognition, 94(2), 113-147.

Lidz, J. & Gleitman, L. (2004). Argument structure and the child’s contribution to language learningTrends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(4), 157-161.

Nappa, R., January, D., Gleitman, L. R., & Trueswell, J. C. (2004). Paying attention to attention: Perceptual priming effects on word orderProceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Snedeker, J. & Trueswell, J. C. (2004). The developing constraints on parsing decisions: The role of lexical-biases and referential scenes in child and adult sentence processingCognitive Psychology, 49(3), 238-299.

Trueswell, J. & Gleitman, L. R. (2004). Children’s eye movements during listening: evidence for a constraint-based theory of parsing and word learning. In J. M. Henderson & F. Ferreira (Eds.), Interface of Language, Vision, and Action: Eye Movements and the Visual World. NY: Psychology Press.

Lidz, J., Gleitman, H., & Gleitman, L. (2003). Understanding how input matters: Verb learning and the footprint of universal grammarCognition, 87(3), 151-178.

Novick, J. M., Kim, A., & Trueswell, J. C. (2003). Studying the grammatical aspects of word recognition: Lexical priming, parsing and syntactic ambiguity resolutionJournal of Psycholinguistic Research, 32(1), 57-75.

Snedeker, J. & Trueswell, J. C. (2003). Using Prosody to Avoid Ambiguity: Effects of Speaker Awareness and Referential ContextJournal of Memory and Language, 48, 103-130.

Fisher, C., & Gleitman, L. R. (2002). Language acquisition. In H. F. Pashler (Series Ed.) and C. R. Gallistel (Volume Ed.), Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental Psychology, Vol 1: Learning and motivation (pp. 445-496). New York: Wiley.

Kim, A., Srinivas, B., & Trueswell, J. C. (2002). The convergence of lexicalist perspectives in psycholinguistics and computational linguistics. In P. Merlo and S. Stevenson (Eds.), Sentence Processing and the Lexicon: Formal, Computational and Experimental Perspectives (pp. 109-135). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing.

Li, P. & Gleitman, L. (2002). Turning the tables: Language and spatial reasoningCognition, 83(3), 265-294.

Mintz, T. H. & Gleitman, L.R. (2002). The incremental and restricted nature of early adjectives acquisitionCognition, 84(3), 267-293.

Papafragou, A., Massey, C., Gleitman, L., (2002). Shake, rattle, ‘n’ roll: The representation of motion in language and cognitionCognition, 84(2), 189-219.

Arnold, J. E., Novick, J. M., Brown-Schmidt, S., Eisenband, J. G., & Trueswell, J. (2001). Knowing the difference between girls and boys: The use of gender during online pronoun comprehension in young childrenProceedings of the BU Child Language Conference. Boston, MA, pp 59-69.

Hurewitz, F., Brown-Schmidt, S., Thorpe, K., Gleitman, L. R., & Trueswell, J. C. (2001). One frog, two frog, red frog, blue frog: Factors affecting children’s syntactic choices in production and comprehension. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 29(6), 597-626.

Saffran, J. R., Senghas, A., & Trueswell, J. C. (2001). The acquisition of language by childrenProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(23), 12874-12875.

Snedeker, J., Thorpe, K., & Trueswell, J. (2001). On choosing the parse with the scene: The role of visual context and verb bias in ambiguity resolutionProceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 964-969).

Arnold, J. E., Eisenband, J., Brown-Schmidt, S., & Trueswell, J. C. (2000). The rapid use of gender information: Evidence of the time course of pronoun resolution from eyetrackingCognition, 76, B13-B26.

Kako, E. & Trueswell, J. C. (2000). Verb meanings, object affordances, and the incremental restriction of reference. Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 256-261). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Snedeker, J., Gleitman, L. R., Felberbaum, M., Placa, N., & Trueswell, J.C. (2000). Prosodic Choice: Effects of Speaker Awareness and Referential ContextProceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 481-486). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Trueswell, J. C. (2000). The organization and use of the lexicon for language comprehension. In B. Landau, J. Sabini et al. (Eds.), Perception, Cognition, and Language: Essays in Honor of Henry and Lila Gleitman (pp. 327-345). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gillette, J., Gleitman, L. R., Gleitman, H., & Lederer, A. (1999). Human simulations of vocabulary learningCognition, 73, 135-176.

Trueswell, J. C., Sekerina, I., Hill, N. M., & Logrip, M. L. (1999). The kindergartenpath effect: studying on-line sentence processing in young childrenCognition, 73, 89-134.

Trueswell, J. C., Sekerina, I., Hill, N. M., & Logrip, M. L. (1999). The development of on-line language comprehension abilities in childrenLanguage, Minds, & Brains: Studies in Languages, 34, 209-215.

Trueswell, J. C. & Kim, A. E. (1998). How to prune a garden-path by nipping it in the bud: Fast-priming of verb argument structures. Journal of Memory and Language, 39, 102-123.

Gleitman, L., Gleitman, H., Miller, C., & Ostrin, R. (1996). ‘Similar’, and similar conceptsCognition, 58(3), 321-376.

Trueswell, J. C. (1996). The role of lexical frequency in syntactic ambiguity resolution. Journal of Memory and Language, 35, 566-585.

Lederer, A., Gleitman, H., & Gleitman, L. (1995). Verbs of a feather flock together: Semantic information in the structure of maternal speechBeyond names for things, 277-297.

Tanenhaus, M. K. & Trueswell, J. C. (1995). Sentence Comprehension. In J. L. Miller and P. D. Eimas (Eds.), Handbook in Perception and Cognition, Volume 11: Speech Language and Communication (pp. 217-262). Academic Press.

Trueswell, J. C., Tanenhaus, M. K., & Garnsey, S. (1994). Semantic influences on parsing: Use of thematic role information in syntactic ambiguity resolution. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 285-318.

Trueswell, J. C. & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1994). Toward a lexicalist framework for constraint-based syntactic ambiguity resolution. In C. Clifton, L. Frazier and K. Rayner (Eds.), Perspectives in Sentence Processing (pp. 155-179). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Trueswell, J. C. & Hayhoe, M. M. (1993). Surface segmentation mechanisms and motion perceptionVision Research, 33(3), 313-328.

Trueswell, J. C., Tanenhaus, M. K., & Kello, C. (1993). Verb-specific constraints in sentence processing: Separating effects of lexical preference from garden-paths.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 19(3), 528-553.

Spivey-Knowlton, M. J., Trueswell, J. C., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1993). Context effects in syntactic ambiguity resolution: Parsing reduced relative clauses.Canadian Journal of Psychology: Special Issue: Reading and Language Processing, 47(2), 276-309.

Trueswell, J. C. & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1992). Consulting temporal context during sentence comprehension: Evidence from the monitoring of eye movements in reading. Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 492-497). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Trueswell, J. C. & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1991). Tense, temporal context and syntactic ambiguity resolutionLanguage and Cognitive Processes, 6(4), 303 – 338.

Tanenhaus, M. K., Carlson, G., & Trueswell, J. C. (1989). The role of thematic structures in interpretation and parsingLanguage and Cognitive Processes. 4(3-4), 211-234.