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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

 My research expertise focuses on two areas of academic interest:

  1. Language processing: My research in this area centres on inferences made during the reading of sentences, with particular focus on quantification and pragmatics, and on the processing of individual words. I use paper and pencil (online) tasks and behavioural paradigms, as well as eye tracking and EEG technology to complete this research. I have am also interested in the effect of domain knowledge on reading words, particularly in relation to fictional domians.

  2. Cognition, social interaction and long-tem illness. My projects in this area examine the impact which COVID-19 and associated life-changes can have on cognitive processing. This includes the effects of social isolation ("lockdown") on cognitive functions; and tracking of cognitive function over a longer period in individuals with persistent symptoms of the virus. I have received funding from the Chief Scientists Office and the Royal Society of Edinburgh to examine the impact of the pandemic on cognitive function.

Current research activities

I currently have a broad range of research projects underway, these include:

  • Understanding the referential properties of natural language quantifiers (in English and Polish) and developing an account of pronominal reference.

  • A cross-cultural comparision of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on cognitive function in Scotland and Japan (funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh).

  • COVID-19: Tracking persistent symptoms on Scotland (TraPSS). Examining cognitive function over time in non-hospitalised people who test positive for COVID-19 (funded by Cheif Scientists Office).

  • Establishing the benefits of domain knowledge and a supportive context when processing fictional pseudowords, such as “quidditch".

Desired research direction

I intend to continue my research on cognition and psycholinguistics.

I will examine theories of quantifier focus whilst expanding to broader areas of pragmatics. I also wish to consider how established accounts of quantifier focus and scalar implicature, in English, may be reflected in other languages. 

I will also assess the impact of domain knowledge on readers’ knowledge and understanding of fictional words to develop an understanding of whether these words are unique or specialised. 

On-going projects assessing cognitive function will allow me to further develop my research profile in this area. In particular comparing pandemic related variation in cogntive function to the patterns of cognitive decline frequently linked to ageing.

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

I have experience of using eye trackingand behavioural techniques to deliver applied research projects for local government, including evaluation of road safety campaigns.  I have also delivered workshops on the applied uses of information framing to corporate delegates.

Target collaborative companies

Marketing, advertising and branding

Lobbyists and associated companies

Publishers of fiction based in pseudo-real locations

Target collaborative organisations

NHS Research Scotland

Local authorities (e.g. Renfrewshire Council or Glasgow City Council)

External positions

External Examiner, University of Wolverhampton

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