Special Issue on “Laboratory in the Field: Advances in cross-linguistic psycholinguistics”

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We invite original and unpublished papers on psycholinguistic research on lesser-studied languages, for a special issue of Language and Cognitive Processes. Our purpose is to bring together researchers who are currently engaged in empirical research on language processing in typologically diverse languages, in order to establish the emerging field of cross-linguistic psycholinguistics as a cross-disciplinary research program. Both submissions that extend the empirical coverage of psycholinguistic theories (e.g., test whether supposedly universal processing mechanisms hold cross-linguistically) and submissions that revise and extend psycholinguistic and linguistic theory through quantitative data are welcome. The special issue will focus on the architecture and mechanisms underlying language processing (both comprehension and production) at the lexical and sentence level. This includes studies on phonological and morphological processing to the extent that they speak to the organization, representation, and processing of lexical units or the interaction of these processes with sentence processing. We seek behavioral, neurocognitive (e.g., ERP, fMRI), and quantitative corpus studies in any of these areas.

Guest editors

Elisabeth Norcliffe (Max Plank Institute for Psycholinguistics), T. Florian Jaeger (University of Rochester) & Alice C. Harris (University of Massachusetts).

Deadlines for submissions

03/15/13 300-1000 word abstract due (given the delay in posting this, we will accept abstracts until 3/25)

04/01/13 Feedback from the editors on framing and the extent to which your paper fits into the scope of the special issue. Based on the abstract we will invite submissions of manuscripts. Invitation will not guarantee acceptance, as papers will go through the regular review LCP review process.

06/15/13 Manuscript due

Background on topic

The processes underlying language understanding and production, which constitute the object of study of psycholinguistics, are generally assumed to hold universally. Yet the vast majority of psycholinguistic studies are based on a very small sample of the world’s languages. Since languages that are genealogically related tend to share lexical and structural properties, this means that psycholinguistic theories are being evaluated against a typologically narrow empirical base . The necessity of a broader, cross-linguistic empirical base for psycholinguistic theories is evidenced by a small, but growing, number of experiments on lesser-studied languages. Some of these studies have called into question widely held assumptions about sentence processing. Others have examined phenomena not found in better-studied languages. However, cross-linguistic coverage remains small and accordingly, the answers to some of the central questions in the field of psycholinguistics continue to lie beyond reach: what are the universal processing mechanisms that are general to the architecture of the human language processing system? To what extent, conversely, does the language one speaks exert an influence on how language is processed?

Abstract submission

Abstracts should be submitted to LabInField@bcs.rochester.edu.

Manuscript submission

Subsequently invited papers should be submitted through LCP’s online submission system:


All papers will be subject to standard peer-review through the LCP system.

Instructions and information on format requirements and length restrictions can be found on the publisher’s website: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/authors/plcpauth.asp


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