The Language and Cognition Lab is directed by Dr. Anna Papafragou, Professor of Psychology. Research in our lab focuses on language acquisition and the relation between linguistic and perceptual/conceptual representations.

This area of study draws on multiple disciplines including developmental and cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, and theoretical linguistics. We are particularly interested in exploring the differences between universal and language-specific aspects of language acquisition and whether and how those differences might affect (non-linguistic) cognition. To do so, we compare children and adults who speak different languages.

We have a wide network of collaborators, both in the US and internationally, and we conduct experiments around the world, including sites in the United States, Greece, Germany, Turkey, Korea, and indigenous Mayan communities in Mexico.

Our work has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.


2016: Anna Papafragou co-organized the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, which was held in Philadelphia August 11th-13th. Current PhD students Sarah Fairchild and Myrto Grigoroglou and former MA student Felix Gervits presented posters at the meeting.

2016: The lab will mentor two visiting undergraduate McNair scholars for Summer 2016, Raevyn Johnson and Victor Ike.

2016: Ercenur Unal successfully defended her dissertation, titled "The language-cognition interface: Evidence from the domain of evidentiality." She will go on to a postdoctoral researcher position at Radboud University & Max Planck Insitute for Psycholinguistics.

2015: Amelia Weiss, an undergraduate in our lab, received a travel award to present her research at the 2nd Annual Penn State Undergraduate Exhibition in Hispanic and General Linguistics (PSUxLing2).



Ünal, E., Pinto, A., Bunger, A. & Papafragou, A., Monitoring sources of event memories: A cross-linguistic investigation. Journal of Memory and Language More...


Ozturk, O., & Papafragou, A., The acquisition of evidentiality and source monitoring Language Learning and Development More...


Skordos, D., and Papafragou, A., Lexical, syntactic and semantic-geometric factors in the acquisition of motion predicates. Developmental Psychology 50: 1985-1998. More...


Hafri, A., Papafragou, A., and Trueswell, J., Getting the gist of events: Recognition of two-participant actions from brief displays. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 142: 880-905. More...


Bunger, A., Papafragou, A., and Trueswell, J., Event structure influences language production: Evidence from structural priming in motion event description. Journal of Memory and Language 69: 299-323. More...


Bunger, A., Trueswell, J., and Papafragou, A., The relation between event apprehension and utterance formation in children: Evidence from linguistic omissions. Cognition 122: 135-149. More...