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.


2015: Ercenur Unal was awarded the UD Office of Graduate and Professional Education Graduate Fellowship.

2015: Anna Papafragou and Satoshi Tomioka (Linguistics & Cognitive Science) will co-organize the next MACSIM conference (www.macsim.us) at the University of Delaware on October 3rd.

2015: Hannah Schwartz, an undergraduate in our lab, has been awarded an Undergraduate Science and Engineering Scholarship from the Undergraduate Research Office.
2014: Ercenur Unal's poster was selected as a finalist in the Poster Competition at the 13th International Congress for the Study of Child Language (IASCL).



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


Ozturk, O., and Papafragou, A., The acquisition of epistemic modality: From semantic meaning to pragmatic interpretation. Language Learning and Development online, 1-24. More...


Johanson, M., and Papafragou, A., What does children's spatial language reveal about spatial concepts? Cognitive Science 38: 1-30. 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...