Speaker: 14th Sept, Dr. Kristen Syrett

CCR members may well be interested in the forthcoming talk in Psychology:
Speaker: Dr. Kristen Syrett (Rutgers University) 
Date: Thursday 14th September 
Time: 12:30-2pm 
Location: Psychology (Harry Pitt Building) G79. 
Evaluating truth and speaker knowledge when statements aren’t entirely true:
Experimental evidence from children and adults
Kristen Syrett
Rutgers University ØC New Brunswick
While there is robust evidence that young children can assess the truth value of individual propositions, much less is known about how they evaluate conjoined propositions in which only one of the conjuncts is unobjectionably true (either because the other is clearly false, or is not maximally true of a plurality and therefore violates homogeneity). Even less is known about how children take such information to be a reflection of what a speaker knows. In this talk, I will present experimental work from a modified truth value judgment task accompanied by a ternary scale probing what preschoolers and adults know about such linguistic situations. The results demonstrate that children compute truth values of [TӀF] conjunctions as predicted by propositional logic (a false proposition renders the conjunction false, or in some cases, gappy), and further, take such utterances to indicate degraded speaker knowledge. However, children (unlike adults) do not display sensitivity to the presence or absence of definiteness marking in the grammatical subject. I situate these findings against others coming out of my lab and independent research, which reinforce these conclusions. Thus, whereas the rules of propositional logic (a universal aspect of semantics) are engrained early on, and serve as a window into speaker knowledge, the semantic force of certain morphosyntactic features (which vary cross-linguistically) remains to be learned.

Experimental Psychology Conference, Reading 12-14 July 2017

CCR members may be interested in the Experimental Psychology Conference taking place at UoR next week. Details can be found in the EPS programme.

Registration is not necessary but please note the conditions in the EPS rubric: “Open exchange of new ideas is central to EPS meetings. To foster up-to-date discussion, presenters are mandated to report work that is not yet published. We ask that attendees respect this mandate. Please do not record or publish presented material (e.g. via Twitter or Facebook) without the presenter’s permission. For explicit guidance on reporting at EPS meetings, please refer to the EPS handbook.”

CeLM talk Weds 10th May

CCR members may be interested in the following CeLM talk: 

‘Can people with developmental disorders function successfully as bilinguals?

by Dr Napoleon Katsos – University of Cambridge

Date                     Wed 10th May 2017

Time                     15h00 – 16h30

Venue                  CHANCELLORS-G04

Among parents and professionals, there is a common, albeit empirically unsupported belief that bilingual exposure may be detrimental to the language development of children with neurodevelopmental and other related disabilities (Griswold, 2016). In this presentation we will first report the findings from a systematic review on the impact of bilingualism on the linguistic and social development of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (Uljarević et al., 2016). We will then share some findings from research with bilingual children with ASD and their competence with core language and pragmatics (Reetzke et al., 2015). The overall conclusion is that while there are substantial gaps in research, bilingualism does not seem to have an adverse effect on the development of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, while there are reasons to expect that it might even have a beneficial impact in certain respects. We will conclude by outlining a new project that will address some of the gaps in the literature.

Griswlod, A. (2016). http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/for-children-with-autism-multiple-languages-may-be-a-boon/

Reetzke, R, Zou, X., Sheng, L., & Katsos, N. (2015). Communicative Development in Bilingually Exposed Chinese Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 58(3):813-25.

Uljarević, M.. Katsos, N., Hudry, K. and Gibson, J.L. (2016). Multilingualism and neurodevelopmental disorders – an overview of recent research and discussion of clinical implications. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 10.1111/jcpp.12596


Summer Seminar Series 2017

We will be running the CCR summer seminar series again this year. Full details to follow but preliminary details are below.

All welcome!


The psychology of philosophical thought experiments: knowledge, ordinary language, and stakes-sensitivity


Description: This seminar series will investigate whether—and if so, how—“ordinary” ways of understanding philosophical questions diverge from the ways philosophers understand those same questions. We will focus on recent experimental studies of the “stakes sensitivity” of knowledge, which evaluate whether judgments that a person knows something are influenced by the consequences (or “stakes”) of being right and wrong about it. Our aim will be to come to a better understanding of how to design experiments that investigate philosophical questions.


When:                        Tuesday 9th, 16th, 23rd May, 6th June. 16.00-17.30pm.


Where:                      CINN Conference Room, Psychology Building.


If you have any questions, please email Emma Borg (e.g.n.borg@reading.ac.uk)

Ageing through the Ages: multidisciplinary perspectives

CCR members may well be interested in this programme of talks from the Medical Humanities group at Reading. Seminars will take place fortnightly on

Mondays from 1 to 1.50 pm in Humss G74

All welcome!

Monday 23 January

Dr Mary Lewis (Reading, Archaeology): Teenage Kicks: work, puberty and health in medieval England

Monday 6 February

Prof. Paul Higgs (University College London, Medical Sociology): TBC

Monday 20 February

Prof. Margot Gosney (Reading, Clinical Health Sciences): Clinical solutions through academic work in Older People

Monday 6 March

Patient/Public representative – TBC

Monday 20 March

Prof Tess Fitzpatrick (Swansea, Linguistics): Age-related changes in lexical retrieval behaviour: a consequence of cognitive decline or accumulated learning

PCLS Chomsky Workshop

CCR members may well be interested in the following event, organised and hosted by the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at Reading.



Generative Linguistics in the 21st Century: the Evidence and the Rhetoric


Keynote speaker:

Prof. Noam Chomsky (MIT, USA)


Plenary speakers

Prof. Adriana Belleti (University of Siena, Italy)

Prof. Hagit Borer (Queen Mary, London, UK)

Prof. Stephen Crain (Macquaire University, Australia)

Prof. Tanja Kupisch (University of Konstanz & UiT the Arctic University of Norway)

Prof. Terje Lohndal (NTNU & UiT the Arctic University of Norway)

Prof. Luigi Rizzi (University of Siena, Italy & University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Prof. Ian Roberts (Cambridge University, UK)

Prof. Ianthi Tsimpli (Cambridge University, UK)

Prof. Charles Yang (University of Pennsylvania, USA)


Prof. Jason Rothman (University of Reading)

Prof. Doug Saddy (University of Reading)


Where: University of Reading

When: May 11th, 2017

Hosts: The School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences (PCLS)

The fields of linguistics, cognitive science and psychology were forever changed starting in the 1950s on the coattails of the cognitive revolution against behaviourism.  Chomsky’s (1959) review of Skinner’s Verbal Behaviour is one of the key turning points in this endeavour from which what would become the dominant theory of modern linguistics was born. Generative linguistics, often referred to as Universal Grammar (UG), has maintained for six decades now that humans are born endowed with domain-specific linguistic knowledge.  In other words, the human brain comes pre-equipped with some type of innately determined blueprint to the general structure of language. Exactly what is universal and domain-specific with respect to linguistic knowledge has been the matter of debate and changing proposals over the past 6 decades, however, the core tenet of the generative program remains: at least some parts of language are provided by a genetic endowment. Although there is no question that parts of language are/can be learned in the truest sense, that input quantities and qualities matter, that social environment and interaction bring much to bear, a careful consideration of the preponderance of all evidence still “leaves little hope that [much of the structure of] language can be learned by an organism initially uniformed as to its general character, Chomsky, 1965: 58”.  The purpose of this workshop is to present and consider the evidence that still points in this direction, while at the same time sifting through and seriously considering the rhetoric that in recent years has rejected the general tenets of generative linguistics.  In doing so, we will examine the role of generative linguistics at present and consider where it will be going as the 21st century unfolds.  The workshop features a keynote talk by Professor Chomsky and plenaries from 9 other renowned linguists, working on formal linguistic theory and its application to acquisition and processing in children and adult learners. The day culminates in a moderated panel discussion with all our invited speakers, where audience members can ask questions.

If you are interested in attending this workshop, please email pclsevents@reading.ac.uk to register your interest by Friday 20th January 2017. Further details about the workshop, including how to book will be announced soon.