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When people speak, they strike a balance between information conveyed with language and information conveyed in other ways, e.g., through gestures, intonation, and the environment where conversation is taking place. Listeners, in turn, must draw on all these information sources to understand what the speaker means. The goal of research in my laboratory is to understand the mental components that underlie this comprehension process. Recently, we have been investigating how the real-time understanding of spoken language is influenced by aspects of action planning. This research uses a technique in which eye movements are recorded as listeners follow instructions to manipulate objects in a visual workspace ​

Current Graduate Students

Tiana Simovic (PhD, Psychology, in progress)

  • linguistic meaning and reference

  • ambiguity in language

  • real-time comprehension


Jida Jaffan (PhD, Psychology, in progress)

  • children's communicative interaction with artificial agents

  • individual differences in communicative development

  • connections to various psycholinguistic phenomena


Sonny Wang (PhD, Psychology, in progress)

  • visual perspective taking

  • linguistic perspective taking

  • individual differences in interpersonal communication

Outside Project Student

Madeleine Yu (PhD, Psychology, in progress)

  • L2 and child speech processing

  • voice recognition

  • dual-task processing with accented speech

Research Assistants

Joanne Nuque


Kelly Qi


Caren Khalaf


Graduate Students


Raheleh Saryazdi (MA, PhD, Psychology)

    Thesis: Aging and referential communication: Insights from interactions with artificial agents.

    Currently: Postdoctoral Researcher, KITE - Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

Mercedeh Mohaghegh (PhD, Linguistics)

    Thesis: Connected speech processes and lexical access in real-time comprehension.

    Currently: Speech Scientist, Nuance Communications


Mindaugas Mozuraitis (MA, PhD, Psychology)

    Thesis: Managing privileged knowledge about identity in language comprehension.

    Currently: Manager, Reporting & Analytics, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)


Cara Tsang (MA, PhD, Psychology)

    Thesis: Exploring impulsive activation during spoken language comprehension.

    Currently: Senior Designer-Researcher, MyPlanet Digital 

Jodi Edwards (MA, Linguistics)

    Thesis:The role of syntactic form in incremental referential interpretation

    Currently: Director, Brain & Heart Nexus Research Program, University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Justine Thacker (PhD, Psychology)

    Thesis: Children’s attention to emotional prosody: Selectivity in response to speaker conventionality

    Currently: Clinical Psychologist, Calgary, AB

Jared Berman (PhD, Psychology)

    Thesis: Preschoolers' use of vocal affect as a cue to referential intent

    Currently: Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI), Western University

Postdoctoral Researchers

Félix Desmeules-Trudel 

   Currently: Knowledge Mobilization Specialist at Research Impact Canada


Adriana Baltaretu 

   Currently: Data Scientist at 123FormBuilder

Daphna Heller

    Currently: Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Toronto 

BSc Thesis Students

Sonny Wang  (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: Does language based communicative perspective taking draw on domain general cognitive                   abilities?

Chris Klammer (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: My, what deceptive features you have!  Referential object identity in real-time spoken language



Agatha Rodrigues (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: Effects of overspecification and noise on downstream processing: Evidence from eye-movements


Robert Redford (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: The good, the bad, and the ugly: Incremental interpretation of evaluative adjectives.


Joshua Romano (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: Multimodal processing of speech: The relationship between beat gesture synchrony and speech



Daniel De Santis (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: Speech disfluencies and the elderly: Effects on online interpretation


Hilary Cooke (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: Using eye movements to measure parallel lexical activation in English-French bilinguals

Valerie San Juan (BSc, Psychology)

    Thesis: The point of knowing 'return': Presuppositions about prior actions constrain real-time reference


Recent Research Assistants and Independent Study Students


Jan Dizon

Simran Kanda

Jarrod Servilla

Samiha Ahmed

Alexandra Kljuseva

Tamara Mostarac

Tamim Fattah

Manraj Thind

Izzar Linares

Yvette Hou

Lena Donald

Sara MacDonald

Julie Bannon

Piumi Rajaskera

Ronda Lo

Aashita Pattni



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