Professor in Psycholinguistics, Faculty of Arts
I am fascinated by how our mind represents and processes all of the complexities of a first (L1) and a second (L2) language. In particular, my research focuses on: 1. the learning, representation and processing of multi-word units (e.g. "bread and butter") in a first (L1) and second (L2) language; 2. implicit and explicit L2 word learning; and 3. automatic word activation in an L1/L2. While much of my work could be termed 'basic research', I believe that part of the value of research is its potential application. Therefore, other elements of my research are more 'applied' and have involved developing innovative interdisciplinary networks with academics from other fields, as well as external partners (e.g. Browne & Jacobson, LLP; Phone-paid Service Authority; BBC). In this research, I apply psycholinguistic techniques to address a range of real-world questions focusing on the readability of language in different contexts by varied segments of the population.
My research makes use of behavioral measures, eye-tracking, and EEG. You can view my video 'The Eyes Trackers' on YouTube or my podcast about '2nd Language Processing'
My teaching largely addresses topics like: is the human brain special, how do we learn language and what allows us to learn a first and second language, how do we produce and understand words and… read more
We constantly use language, and it becomes so practiced that we produce it and comprehend it automatically in a variety of contexts in our native language. However, in a nonnative language reduced… read more
CONKLIN, K. and SCHMITT, N., 2012. The processing of formulaic language Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. 32, 45-61 ZHANG, T., VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B. and CONKLIN, K., 2011. Fast automatic translation and morphological decomposition in Chinese-English bilinguals Psychological Science. 22(10), 1237-1242
SIYANOVA-CHANTURIA, A., CONKLIN, K. and VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., 2011. Seeing a phrase "time and again" matters: the role of phrasal frequency in the processing of multiword sequences Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 37(3), 776-784
My goal is for PhD students to establish themselves as researchers. This means ensuring they receive specialized training in experimental design, using specialized software and equipment (e.g. eye-tracker), data analysis, and writing-up their research for the thesis as well as for publication. Postgrads enter a very competitive global academic and professional market. Thus, I help my PhD students gain skills in applying for grants, presenting at conferences, publishing, and developing collaborative research.
Current PhD Students
Julian Kitagawa - Formulaic language in Japanese secondary school English
Marianna Kyriacou - Figurative language processing
Giulia Grisot - Examining reader's reaction to literary texts: a psycho-stylistics approach to modernist writing
Sara Alotaibi - Learning formulaic language in an L2
Benedict Neurohr - Genre expectations and fictional situations: a psycholinguistic investigation
Meredith Cicerchia - Arabic as a foreign language vocabulary learning
Pablo Aros Muñoz - Metaphor processing in an L2
Aziz Altamimi - Learning formulaic language in an L2
Completed PhD Students
Gareth Carrol (2015) Idiom processing in native and non-native speakers
David Allen (2013) Cross-linguistic similarity in Japanese-English bilingual processing and representation
Marie-Josée Bison (2013) Incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary through multi-modal situations
Taoli Zhang (2013) Activation of Chinese lexical information following automatic translation from English
Alice Doherty (2013) The use of gender and number cues in L1 and L2 pronoun processing
Emily Coderre (2012) Exploring the Cognitive Effects of Bilingualism: Neuroimaging Investigations of Lexical Processing, Executive Control, and the Bilingual Advantage
Anna Siyanova (2010) On-line processing of multi-word sequences in a first and second language: Evidence from eye-tracking and ERP
My teaching largely addresses topics like: is the human brain special, how do we learn language and what allows us to learn a first and second language, how do we produce and understand words and sentences, how do we use context to produce and understand meaning, and how do we use and understand idioms and metaphor, and understand literary texts?
Undergraduate Modules Taught
3rd Year - Language and the Mind
2nd Year - Language Development
1st Year - Language and Context, I contribute in the areas of "Language Science", "Language and the Brain" and "Language Acquisition"
1st Year - Academic Community
Postgraduate Modules Taught
Psychology of Language
MA by distance learning - Psycholinguistics 1 and Psycholinguistics 2
Nottingham Psycholinguistics and Language Learning Lab
We constantly use language, and it becomes so practiced that we produce it and comprehend it automatically in a variety of contexts in our native language. However, in a nonnative language reduced proficiency can lead to more mistakes in language production, having a recognizable accent, being slower in reading and comprehension, etc. With well over half the world being bilingual, determining what makes language processing automatic, or 'easier', in a native language, and less so in a nonnative language is an important undertaking. With this in mind, my research focuses on a number of key questions.
(1) Frequent multi-word sequences (fish and chips) are processed more quickly than infrequent or novel sequences (chips and fish). What underpins the processing advantage? And what might allow nonnative speakers to realize this same processing advantage?
(2) It seems impossible to achieve fluency in a L2 simply in the confines of the classroom. What aspects of language, like vocabulary, can be learned implicitly? And what factors impact implicit L2 learning?
(3) Words from a L1 are activated when processing in a L2. Thus, L1 coinEnglish is activated when reading L2 coinFrench. What factors influence this automatic activation? For example, what is the role of the amount of cross-linguistic overlap? Also, what is the impact of non-selective activation on cognitive control?
I also use psycholinguistic techniques to study language in real-world contexts. Together with Dr. Richard Hyde (School of Law) and Dr. Fabio Parente (School of English), we have been looking at the readability of language in legal and other contexts.
- Working with Browne and Jacobson, LLP, we used readability measures, questionnaires and eye-tracking to explore how various segments of the population read legal documents. Our findings allowed us to develop guidelines to reduce the reading age of one insurance policy by 10 years: from doctorate level to that of an eighth-grade student (i.e. a 12-13 year-old). This increased the percentage of the U.K. population that could understand the policy by some 75%, from 13.4% to 89% (an increase of 40.4 million people). We have also done work for: Beazley Insurance, Ecclesiastical Insurance, Cornish Mutual Insurance and Habito (online mortgage broker).
- Working with the Phone-paid Service Authority (PSA), which is the U.K. regulator for the content, goods and services that are charged to a phone bill, we looked at webpages with paid phone connection services to discover: 1) how people's web searches lead them to such webpages, 2) what people look at on these webpages (incorrect logos, misspellings, any disclaimers, etc.); and 3) people's ability to detect that they have landed on such webpages. Based on the results of this research, we helped PSA to develop an evidence-based Code of Practice that helps protect consumers from harm, which they have used as a basis for proposing regulatory changes in the U.K. for Information, Connection & Signposting Services (ICSS) (April 2019).
Notably, my research makes use of behavioral measures, eye-tracking, and EEG. You can view my video 'The Eyes Trackers' on YouTube or my podcast about '2nd Language Processing'. You can see more about what I research by clicking on the Research Supervision tab. My book on using eye-tracking technology in applied Linguistics was recently released.
CONKLIN, K.,PELLICER-SÁNCHEZ, A., & CARROL, G. (2018). An introduction to eye-tracking: A guide for applied linguistics research. Cambridge University Press.
KYRIACOU, M., CONKLIN, K. and THOMPSON, D., 2020. Passivizability of idioms: Has the wrong tree been barked up Language and Speech. 63(2), 404-435
CONKLIN, K. and GUY, J., 2020. English Language and Literature: Investigating Literariness Using a New Psycholinguistic Methodology. In: ADOLPHS, S. and KNIGHT, D., eds., Routledge Handbook of English Language and Digital Humanities Routledge.
CONKLIN, K., ALOTAIBI, S., PELLICER-SÁNCHEZ, A. and VILKAITE-LOZDIENE, L., 2020. What eye-tracking tells us about reading-only and reading-while-listening in a first and second language Second Language Research. 257-276(3), 257-276 GODFROID, A., WINKE, P. and CONKLIN, K., 2020. Exploring the depths of second language processing with eye tracking: An introduction Second Language Research. 36(3), 243-255 PELLICER-SÁNCHEZ, A., TRAGANT, E., CONKLIN, K., RODGERS, M., SERRANO, R. and LLANES, A., 2020. Young learners' processing of multimodal input and its impact on reading comprehension: An eye-tracking study Studies in Second Language Acquisition. 42(3), 665-665
CONKLIN, K. and CARROL, G., 2020. Words go together like “bread and butter”: The rapid, automatic learning of lexical patterns Applied Linguistics. Online first, 1-23
MASTROPIERRO, L. and CONKLIN, K., 2019. Racism and dehumanisation in Heart of Darkness and its Italian translations Language and Literature. 28(4), 309-325 PARENTE, F., CONKLIN, K., GUY, J., SCOTT, R. and CARROL, G., 2019. Reader expertise and the literary significance of small-scale textual features in prose fiction Scientific Study of Literature. 9(1), 3-33
PELLICER-SÁNCHEZ, A. and CONKLIN, K., 2019. Eye-tracking as a data collection method. In: MCKINLEY, J. and ROSE, H., eds., Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Applied Linguistics Routledge.
CONKLIN, K., 2019. Processing single- and multi-word items. In: WEBB, S., ed., Routledge Handbook of Vocabulary Studies Routledge. 174-188
GUY, J., CONKLIN, K. and SANCHEZ-DAVIES, J., 2018. Literary Stylistics, Authorial Intention and the Scientific Study of Literature Language and Literature. 27(3), 196-217
CONKLIN, K. and CARROL, G., 2018. First language influence on the processing of formulaic language in a second language. In: SIYANOVA-CHANTURIA, A. and PELLICER-SÁNCHEZ, A., eds., Understanding formulaic language: A second language acquisition perspective Routledge. 62-77
DOHERTY, A. and CONKLIN, K., 2017. How gender expectancy affects the processing of “them” Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 70(4), 718-735 ALLEN, D. and CONKLIN, K., 2017. Naturalistic Reading in the L2 and the Impact of Word Frequency and Cross-Linguistic Similarity Journal of the Ochanomizu University English Society. 7, 41-57 SIYANOVA-CHANTURIA, A., CONKLIN, K., CAFFARRA, S., KAAN, E. and VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., 2017. Representation and processing of multi-word expressions in the brain Brain and Language. 175, 111-122 CONKLIN, K. and PELLICER-SÁNCHEZ, A., 2016. Using eye-tracking in applied linguistics and second language research Second Language Research. 32(3), 453-467 GUY, J., SCOTT, R., CARROL, G. and CONKLIN, K., 2016. Challenges in Editing Late Nineteenth-and Early Twentieth-Century Prose Fiction: What Is Editorial “Completeness”? English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920. 59(4), 435-455 CARROL, G., CONKLIN, K., CONKLIN, K. and GYLLSTAD, H., 2016. Found in translation: the influence of L1 on the processing of idioms in L2 Studies in Second Language Acquisition. 38(3), 403-443 ALLEN, D., CONKLIN, K. and VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., 2015. Making sense of the Sense Model: Translation priming with Japanese-English bilinguals The Mental Lexicon. 10(1), 32-55 BISSON, M.-J., VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., CONKLIN, K. and TUNNEY, R.J., 2015. The role of verbal and pictorial information in multimodal incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY. 68(7), 1306-1326 BOO, P. and CONKLIN, K., 2015. The effects on RSVP on reading comprehension in an L1 and L2 Journal of Second Language Teaching and Research. 4(1), 111-129 CARROL, G., CONKLIN, K., GUY, J. and SCOTT, R., 2015. Processing punctuation and word changes
in different editions of prose fiction Scientific Study of Literature. 5(2), 200-228 BISSON, M.-J., VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., CONKLIN, K. and TUNNEY, R.J., 2014. Processing of native and foreign language subtitles in films: An eye-tracking study Applied Psycholinguistics. 35(2), 399-418 CARROL, G. and CONKLIN, K., 2014. Getting your wires crossed: Evidence for fast processing of L1 idioms in
an L2. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 17(4), 784-797 CARROL, G. and CONKLIN, K., 2014. Eye-tracking multi-word units: Some methodological challenges Journal of Eye Movement Research. 7(5), 1-11 BISSON, M-.J., VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., CONKLIN, K. and TUNNEY, R.J., 2013. Incidental acquisition of foreign language vocabulary through brief multi-modal exposure PLoS ONE. 8(4), e60912 CONKLIN, K. and SCHMITT, N., 2012. The processing of formulaic language Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. 32, 45-61 CODERRE, E., VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B. and CONKLIN, K., 2012. The timing and magnitude of Stroop interference and facilitation in monolinguals and bilinguals Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 16(2), 420-441 SIYANOVA-CHANTURIA, A., CONKLIN, K. and VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., 2011. Seeing a phrase "time and again" matters: the role of phrasal frequency in the processing of multiword sequences Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 37(3), 776-784 CODERRE, E., CONKLIN, K. and VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., 2011. Electrophysiological measures of conflict detection and resolution in the Stroop task Brain Research. 1413(21), 51-59 ZHANG, T., VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B. and CONKLIN, K., 2011. Fast automatic translation and morphological decomposition in Chinese-English bilinguals Psychological Science. 22(10), 1237-1242 VAN HEUVEN, W.J.B., CONKLIN, K., CODERRE, E., GUO, T. and DIJKSTRA, T., 2011. The influence of cross-language similarity on within- and between-language Stroop effects in trilinguals Frontiers in Psychology. 2(374), 1-15 KOENIG, J.-P., MAUNER, G., BIENVENUE, B. and CONKLIN, K., 2008. What with? The Anatomy of a (Proto)-Role Journal of Semantics. 25, 175-220
CONKLIN, K. and MAUNER, G., 2005. Bilingual semantic acess of homographs. In: COHEN, J., MCALISTER, K.T., ROLSTAD, K. and MACSWAN, J., eds., ISB4: Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism Cascadilla Press. 552-569
CONKLIN, K., KOENIG, J.-P. and MAUNER, G., 2004. The role of specificity in the lexical encoding of participants Brain and Language. 90(1-3), 221-230