School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Dr Lauren Ackerman

Research Associate


PhD, Northwestern University: Influences on Parsing Ambiguity

MA, Northwestern University: How the prosody of center-embedded sentences relates to their structure

BA, Boston University: The effect of linguistic environment on vowels sung at high pitches


My research examines how the real-time representation of syntactic structure is influenced by non-syntactic sources of information. The two sources my current work focuses on are: (1) prosody, and in particular, prosodic boundaries that are typically associated with syntactic clause boundaries; and (2) observed, deduced, or assumed information about the gender of human referents in the sentence, in particular exploring variation associated with the comprehender’s (reader’s or listener’s) exposure to and experience with people who are of a nonbinary gender.

To investigate the way these sources of information influence real-time processing, I use online (real-time) and offline (untimed) paradigms, including eye tracking while reading, self-paced reading, acceptability judgments, and other types of survey methods. I am also interested in the use of different methodologies can complement and supplement each other, and how their utility varies based on experiment design.