UCL Psychology and Language Sciences




Dr Gwen Brekelmans

Data Manager and ECOLANG Project Manager (2019-2021)

Profile photo of Dr Gwen Brekelmans
Gwen is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Queen Mary University of London. She joined QMUL in 2021, after her time as a project manager and data manager with ECOLANG and Teaching Fellow in Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL. Gwen’s background is in language sciences: she did an undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature at Radboud University Nijmegen, followed by a research master’s degree in Linguistics focusing on phonetics and second language acquisition at the same university, before coming to London to do her PhD at UCL’s Language & Cognition department. Gwen’s research interests lie in speech perception and production, second language learning, and sociolinguistics, as well as inclusion and diversity in higher education and the teaching of research methods and academic writing.

Ricarda Brieke

Research Assistant (2018-2022)

Profile Ricarda Brieke
I’m a PhD Candidate in Experimental Psychology at UCL, interested in how language and social cognition interact and shape each other, especially in early development. In my research, I compare infants and children raised in monolingual environments to those who grow up with exposure to two or more languages on tasks that tap into early social cognition skills. Aspects I am interested in include social orienting, own- and other-race face perception, emotion recognition, and mimicry.

Dr Francesco Cabiddu

Profile Fancesco Cabiddu
Francesco is a research data analyst in the Language and Cognition Lab under Professor Gabriella Vigliocco. He assists in designing analytic procedures to address key questions related to language development and comprehension using data from the ECOLANG corpus of multimodal communication.

Francesco's background is in developmental psychology and language acquisition. His research has focused on studying the domain-general cognitive processes (e.g., learning from associations; drawing analogies) that may underlie infants and children's vocabulary processing and learning in naturalistic settings. Francesco has combined different methodological approaches, including corpus analyses, behavioural evidence from adults and children, and computational modelling.

Dr Ed Donnellan

Research Fellow in Multimodal Communication and ECOLANG Project Manager (2021-2023), Honorary Research Fellow (from 2023)

Profile Ed Donellan
Ed is currently a research fellow at the University of Warwick, and an honorary research fellow at UCL. He project-managed the final phase of annotating and publicly releasing the ECOLANG corpus during his time as a research fellow in the Language and Cognition Lab.

Ed’s background is in developmental and comparative psychology. His research focuses on multimodal communication in both humans and chimpanzees, factors contributing to early language development (from infancy to 4 years of age) and how information-seeking behaviours (e.g., curiosity) drive learning. 

Dr Jason Drummond

Research Associate (2018)

Chris Edwards

Profile Chris Edwards
Chris is a PhD student interested in how visual information and social interaction influence adults’ learning of new words and their associated conceptual meanings. He previously studied English Literature at the University of Oxford and Psychological Sciences at UCL.

Beata Grzyb

Dr Yan Gu

Profile photo of Dr Yan Gu
ECOLANG Post Doc (2018-2019), Research Fellow (2019-2022), Honorary Research Fellow (from 2022)

I obtained my PhD in psycholinguistics at Tilburg University, Netherlands. After being a postdoc and research fellow at the UCL Language and Cognition Lab, I joined the University of Essex in 2022. My research mainly covers two areas, including the perception of time and the impact of language use. 

I study language as a multimodal phenomenon (e.g., speech, text, gestures, intonation, gazing), and investigate the impact of using language on different aspects, such as (1) does language shape thought? (2) child-directed language and children's word learning; (3) the effect of immigrants' language proficiency on economic outcomes; (4) and research connecting language use and other fields.

Antonia Jordan-Barros

Research Assistant (from 2022)

Profile Antonia Jordan Barros
Antonia Jordan Barros works as a Research Assistant on the Ecolang project in the Language and Cognition Group. Antonia's research interests are the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying language processing and language development. Prior to her work at UCL, Antonia obtained a M.Sc. degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Donders Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands as well as a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Manchester.

From October 2023 onwards, Antonia will pursue a PhD in Neuropsychology at the ToddlerLab at Birkbeck, University of London funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) while continuing to work in the lab part-time. 

Dr Yasamin Motamedi

Research Associate (2017-2020)

Dr Margherita Murgiano

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2019)

Professor Gabriella Vigliocco

ECOLANG Principal Investigator 

Profile Gabriella Vigliocco
I am Professor of the Psychology of Language in the Department of Experimental Psychology at University College London. I received my PhD from University of Trieste in 1995, was a post-doc at University of Arizona, and after being at University of Wisconsin as Assistant Professor and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics as a visiting scientist (1999-2000) I moved to UCL.

I lead the Language and Cognition Lab, composed of psychologists, linguists, computer scientists and cognitive neuroscientists sharing the vision that understanding language and cognition requires integration of multiple levels of analysis and methodological approaches. The overarching goal of our work is understanding how language and other aspects of cognitive functioning relate to each other.

The main research focus of my research at present is on understanding natural language. This is funded by grants from ERC and ESRC.

I am also the Director for the Leverhulme Doctoral Training Programme in the Ecological Study of the Brain. The DTP is a 4-year PhD programme providing cutting-edge interdisciplinary training in the study of brain and behaviour in the real-world.

MSc Research Students

Harriet Hill-Payne

Profile Harriet Hill-Payne
Harriet joined the Language and Cognition Lab while completing an MSc in Psychological Sciences at UCL. Using the ECOLANG corpus, her MSc project explored verbal cues to label and concept learning in adults. 

Previously, Harriet worked in the museum sector, most recently as Programmes Manager at The Ruskin – Museum & Research Centre at Lancaster University. She holds a BA and MA in English Literature. 

Niki Theofilogiannakou

Yumeng Wang (Marine)

Profile Yumeng Wang (Marine)
Marine is a former MRes student and Research Assistant in the Language and Cognition Group. She joined the lab in December 2021 and worked on both Ecolang project and aphasia project. She is broadly interested in exploring children’s understanding towards multimodal information during conversations and learning processes. Marine is now pursuing her PhD in psychology at Goldin-Meadow Lab at the University of Chicago while continuing to be involved in some projects in the lab.

Student Interns & Assistants 

Jessie Shi, Wellani Xi, Claudia Tsz Yan Chan, Jessica Xuanyi Chen, Anushay Mazhar, Gina Li, Zhuolun Li, Junying Song, Yi Lyu, Yi Wang, Ada Rezaki, Runyi Yao, Ruidi Huang, Mingtong Li, Yunwei Dai, Yunzhi Luo, Shiyu Dong, Nan Chen, Fritz Peters, Dilay Ercelik, Vivien Klein, Zeynep Gokcelik, Camilla Lalli, Hillarie Mann, Giulia Li Calzi, Emir Ӧzder, Xinyun Hu, Kellie Fraser, Yiyang Hou, Niki Theofilogiannakou, Michi Aneez, Dicky Lim, Dora Szegedi, Guoda Trinkunaite