Investigator, A-195, Individual Differences in Learning Potential for Language and Literacy

Research Interests

My research focuses on the interaction between biological and environmental constraints in the evolution, acquisition and processing of language. I employ a variety of methodologies, including computational modeling, corpus analyses, psycholinguistic experiments, neuroimaging, and molecular genetics. The goal is to develop a unified framework for understanding language across multiple time-scales: evolution, acquisition and processing.

Representative Publications [pdf]

Frank, S.L., Bod, R. & Christiansen, M.H. (2012). How
hierarchical is language use? Proceedings of the Royal Society B:
Biological Sciences, 279, 4522-4531.

Monaghan, P., Christiansen, M.H. & Fitneva, S.A. (2011). The
arbitrariness of the sign: Learning advantages from the structure
of the vocabulary. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,

Chater, N. & Christiansen, M.H. (2010). Language acquisition
meets language evolution. Cognitive Science, 34, 1131-1157.

Misyak, J.B., Christiansen, M.H. & Tomblin,
J.B. (2010). Sequential expectations: The role of
prediction-based learning in language. Topics in Cognitive
Science, 2,

Wells, J., Christiansen, M.H., Race, D.S., Acheson, D. &
MacDonald, M.C. (2009). Experience and sentence processing:
Statistical learning and relative clause comprehension. Cognitive
Psychology, 58
, 250-271.

Christiansen, M.H. & Chater, N. (2008). Language as shaped by the
brain. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 31, 489-558.

Reali, F. & Christiansen, M.H. (2007). Processing of relative
clauses is made easier by frequency of occurrence. Journal of
Memory and Language, 57,

Conway, C.M. & Christiansen, M.H. (2006). Statistical learning
within and between modalities: Pitting abstract against stimulus
specific representations. Psychological Science, 17, 905-912.

Farmer, T.A., Christiansen, M.H. & Monaghan,
P. (2006). Phonological typicality influences on-line sentence
comprehension. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
103, 12203-12208.

Christiansen, M.H. & Chater, N. (1999). Toward a connectionist
model of recursion in human linguistic performance. Cognitive
Science, 23,

Christiansen, M.H., Allen, J. & Seidenberg, M.S. (1998). Learning
to segment speech using multiple cues: A connectionist
model. Language and Cognitive Processes, 13, 221-268.


Haskins Laboratories
300 George Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Department of Psychology
Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: +1.607.255.3834 (dept)
Fax: +1.607.255.8433