Primarily my interests lie within the realm of moral cognition, but I have a separate interest in psycholinguistics. I spent 3 years in Macalester College’s iLab, an NSF-funded eye tracking lab, studying idiom comprehension in English and semantic processing in Chinese. One of the lab’s main lines of research examined whether idioms are proceeded independently from literal meanings. Our research finds that both literal and figurative meanings are immediately activated, but literal meanings remain active longer and are less affected by supporting context than figurative meanings.
Sanford, E., Shaffer, O., Acierno, J., Harmon, E., & Lea, R.B. (July 2019). Interpretation on the Fence: Do Idioms Activate Figurative and Literal Meanings Equally? 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Text & Discourse, New York City, NY.
Sanford, E., Harmon, E., Acierno, J., Spanos, N., Shaffer, O., & Lea, R.B. (2018). When You Kick the Bucket, Do You Pick Up the Pail? 59th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, New Orleans, LA.
As Lab Manager I created a project studying foveal load effects in Chinese reading through manipulations of lexical ambiguity. We examined how information density influences parafoveal preview effects by manipulating the density of the parafoveal word (e.g., a word contains several meanings vs. single meaning; or a two-character word where both constituent-characters have similar meanings as the whole word vs. the two constituent-characters have different meanings individually, but form one meaning when combined).