Research background

With a background in cognitive science, I am interested in how humans think. As it turns out (and philosophers have known for quite a while), language is integral to thinking. Previously, a popular ideas in cognitive science was a modular approach to understanding the mind and how language works within it, with the idea that there are separate systems for language, thinking, memory, perception and action. However, my research goal has been to understand the embedding of the language system in its broader context of a brain specialised for the goals of perception and action, rather than seeing language as an isolated modular system.

My research concerns the relationship of the language system with perception, action, sleep and memory. I have a specialisation in psycholinguistics and have conducted studies of language learning, sub-lexical processing, lexical processing and semantics, and discourse level processing. While psycholinguistics has been a focus in my research, understanding how language permeates across the brain naturally leads to investigating other areas. This research has used behavioural measures, eye tracking and cognitive neuroscience methods, including fMRI, TMS and polysomnography. Publications arranged by topic are below.

Word learning, sleep and memory

This work has concentrated on how adults learn new words. This research has been motivated by the idea that we can apply what we know about how learning and memory works to understand how language learning works. And in turn, understanding how language learning works can help inform models of memory. Some of this research was funded by an ERSC grant in colloboration with Gareth Gaskell and Scott Cairney.

Cairney, S. A., Sobczak, J. M., Lindsay, S., & Gaskell, M. G. (2017). Mechanisms of Memory Retrieval in Slow-Wave Sleep. Sleep, zsx114.

Cairney, S. A., Lindsay, S., Sobczak, J. M., Paller, K. A., Gaskell, M. G. (2017). The benefits of targeted memory reactivation for consolidation in sleep are contingent on memory accuracy and direct cue-memory associations.. Sleep, 39(5), DOI: pii: sp-00533-15

Tham, E., Lindsay, S., & Gaskell, M.G. (2015). Markers of automaticity in sleep-associated consolidation of novel words. Neuropsychologia, 71, 146-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.03.025

Lindsay, S., Frost, R., Guest, J., Snowden, R., & Stackhouse, A. (2014). Sleep underpins the plasticity of phonotactic constraints in language production. Psychological Science, 25(7), 1457-1465.

Satzuki, N., Lindsay, S., & Ota, M. (2015). A prerequisite to L1 homophone effects in L2 spoken-word recognition. Language Learning. 31(1), 29-52. DOI: 10.1177/0267658314534661

Lindsay, S., & Gaskell, M. G. (2013). Lexical integration of novel words without sleep. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39(2), 608-622.

Lindsay, S., Sedin, L., & Gaskell, M. G. (2012). Acquiring novel words and their past tenses: Evidence from lexical effects on phonetic categorisation. Journal of Memory and Language, 66(1), 210–225.

Lindsay, S. & Gaskell, M.G. (2012). Word learning and lexical development across the lifespan. In N. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of the Sciences of Learning (pp. 3465-3467), New York: Springer.

Lindsay, S. & Gaskell, M. G. (2010). A complementary systems account of word learning in L1 and L2. Language Learning, 60, 45-63.

Lindsay, S. & Gaskell, M. G. (2009). Spaced learning and the lexical integration of novel words. In N.A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2517-2522). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Langugage, vision and event representation

This research has investigated the interaction of visual processing in language comprehension, based on the idea that language comprehension is aided by the visual system in helping us understand events.

Kamide, Y., Lindsay. S., Scheepers, C., & Kukona, A. (2016). Event processing in the visual world: Projected motion paths during spoken sentence comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 42(5), 804-812.

Lindsay, S., Scheepers, C., & Kamide, Y. (2013). To Dash or to Dawdle: Verb-Associated Speed of Motion Influences Eye Movements during Spoken Sentence Comprehension. PLOS ONE, 8(6), e67187.

Bergen, B., Lindsay, S., Matlock, T., & Narayanan, S. (2007). Spatial and linguistic aspects of visual imagery in sentence comprehension. Cognitive Science, 31, 733–764.

Speech perception and the motor system

While some of my research has looked at the invovlement of motor and perceptual systems in language processin, contrary to some claims from embodied cognition, this research provides evidence against the idea that premotor component of the speech production system is involved in speech perception.

Krieger-Redwood, K., Gaskell, M.G., Lindsay, S., & Jefferies, B. (2013). The selective role of dorsal premotor cortex in speech perception: A contribution to phoneme judgements but not speech comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(12), 2179-2188.


I have an interest in Zen and Vipassana meditation, which led to this paper on what might be happening in the brain in certain meditative states.

Lindsay, S. (2014). Can hyper-synchrony in meditation lead to seizures? Similarities in meditative and epileptic brain states. Medical Hypotheses. 83(4), 465-472.DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2014.07.01

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