Wayne Murray

(+44) (0)1382 384620
Senior Lecturer


I completed my degrees in the Department of Psychology, Monash University, Australia, under the supervision of Ken Forster, during what I view to be that department’s heyday. During this period, I was also employed for two years in a reading research unit run by the Victorian Education Department. I moved to Dundee in 1983, initially as a post-doctoral researcher. I intended to stay for up to two years, but the environment was so congenial that I have been here ever since, except for a period with the CNRS in Aix-en-Provence in 1995.

Research & Funding

Research Grouping

Language, Cognition and Perception

Research Interests

I work in the general areas of psycholinguistics and eye movement control.  Work in the latter area has involved investigations of the influences of text format and screen pulsation effects on eye movements (in collaboration with Alan Kennedy and other colleagues) as well as issues related to eye movement control during reading, such as 'parafoveal processing' and the current debate related to serial vs parallel model of eye movement control.  This research has also considered the relationship between particular patterns of eye movement and eye movement measures and lexical access, syntactic parsing and reanalysis, and semantic processing.  Psycholinguistic work has involved: empirical studies and modelling of the nature of lexical access processes (in collaboration with Ken Forster, Arizona); investigations of syntactic parsing during reading and listening; studies of modality-specific and format-specific effects on sentence processing; research on the nature of plausibility and anomaly effects and the nature of semantic processing; together with investigations of production processes using 'sentence priming' (in collaboration with Maren Heydel). The lexical access work has focussed on the modelling and testing of detailed predictions related to frequency effects derived from direct-access and search or verification type models of word recognition and the reflection of these effects in a variety of measures. The parsing studies investigated both the application of general parsing principles and the influences of semantic and referential contexts on parsing, with work on the applicability of 'constraint satisfaction' approaches to parsing. Investigations into modality-specific and format-specific effects have focussed on the similarities and differences in parsing processes with visual and auditory input, showing clear evidence of the application of differing processes in the two modalities.  These studies also considered the extent to which factors such as the prosodic form influence the manner of processing.  Investigations into the nature of plausibility and anomaly effects have used a variety of techniques to examine the nature and form of very early semantic processing.  Same/different sentence matching tasks together with eye movement recording have demonstrated the early and apparently mandatory effect of pragmatic plausibility on sentence processing, calling into doubt both 'Fodorian Modularist' and unconstrained interactive views of sentence processing.  Eye-movement contingent change studies have demonstrated very early parafoveal semantic processing.  Work on sentence production has utilised ‘sentence priming' with both mono- and cross-linguistic studies with German, English and Spanish; the results of which indicate a very substantial role played by 'conceptual form' in what has hitherto been referred to as 'syntactic priming'.  Recently, I have also been investigating the nature of lexical acquisition in various populations.

The focus of my current research lies primarily in the area of meaning effects associated with plausibility and predictability during reading and further investigations into the nature of word frequency effects across tasks and measures, and in eye movement measures in particular.  This, together with investigations of parafoveal-on-foveal effects has fed into the ESRC-funded European Collaborative Research Programme (with Kennedy, Fisher and Shillcock, in Edinburgh) aimed at producing an explicit computational model of eye-movement control in reading.  I have also been conducting collaborative studies with Merideth McKague, of the University of Melbourne, investigating the process of new vocabulary acquisition and the manner of access for newly-acquired and relatively unfamiliar words, as well as investigations into the similarities and differences in the processes engaged in masked priming and parafoveal preview.


Research Grants

Economic and Social Research Council Project HRC00230077: ‘Eye Movements and the Development of Cognitive Strategies in Reading’, to R.A. Kennedy and W.S. Murray. (1986 - 1988)

University of Dundee Research Initiatives Fund grant to R.A. Kennedy and W.S. Murray. (1988)

Medical Research Council Project G8805490N: ‘The Effects of Flicker on Eye Movement Control during Reading’, to R.A. Kennedy and W.S. Murray. (1988-1989).

Medical Research Council Project G9006692N. ‘The Effect of Screen Refresh Rate on Eye Movement Control In VDU Operators’, to R.A. Kennedy and W.S. Murray. (1990-1994)

European Commission (BIOMED Programme BMHI-CT94-1441 Project No PL931441). ‘Adverse Effects of Visual Display Units (VDUs) with particular reference to Eye Movement Control in Text Processing’, to R.A. Kennedy. W.S. Murray, and others. (1994-1997).

CNRS visiting scientist "Poste Rouge" to W.S. Murray. (1995)

Home Office Grant for the investigation of screen refresh rate effects on fingerprint matching to R.A. Kennedy and W.S. Murray. (1997)

Leverhulme Trust: 'An analysis of conceptual structure in sentence priming', to M. Heydel, W.S. Murray and R.Shillcock. (1998-2000)

Royal Society: Conference Grant to W.S.Murray. November 2001.

British Academy: ‘Does functional availability of alternative structures predict online parsing preferences?’, to W.S. Murray. (2004-2005).

Economic and Social Research Council Project European Collaborative Research Programme. (Project R/000/22/3650.) ‘Sources of Linguistic Control over Eye Movements’, to R.A. Kennedy, W.S. Murray, M. Fischer, and R. Shillcock, in collaboration with colleagues in Potsdam, Vienna and Aix-en-Provence. (2006-2009).




(i) Books:

Van Gompel, R.P.G., Fischer, M.F., Murray, W.S., & Hill, R.L. (2007). Eye movements: A window on mind and brain. Oxford: Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-08-044980-7.

(ii) Book chapters:

Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1984). Reading without eye movements. In A.G. Gale & C.W. Johnson (Eds.). Theoretical and Applied Aspects of Eye Movement Research. Amsterdam: North Holland.
Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1987). The components of reading time. In J.K. O'Regan & A. Levy-Schoen (Eds.). Eye Movements: From Physiology to Cognition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Murray, W.S. & Kennedy, A. (1987). Spatial coding and reading skill. In G. Luer & U. Lass, (Eds.). Fourth European Conference on Eye Movements. Volume 1: Proceedings. Lewiston, NY: Hogrefe.
Pynte, J., Courrieu, P., Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1987). On the role of spatialisation in reading ambiguous sentences. In G. Luer & U. Lass (Eds.). Fourth European Conference on Eye Movements. Volume 1: Proceedings. Lewiston, NY: Hogrefe.
Pynte, J., Kennedy, A., Murray, W.S. & Courrieu, P. (1988). The effects of spatialisation on the processing of ambiguous pronominal reference. In G. Luer, U. Lass & J. Shallo-Hoffmann (Eds.). Eye movement research: Physiological and Psychological aspects. Lewiston, NY: Hogrefe.
Kennedy, A., Pynte, J. & Murray, W.S. (1989). Eye movements and lexical access. In R. Schmid and D. Zambarbeiri (Eds.), Fifth European Conference on Eye Movements: Proceedings. Pavia: University of Pavia.
Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1991). Display properties and eye movement control. In J. Van Rensbergen, M. Devijver and G. d'Ydewalle (Eds.), Sixth European Conference on Eye Movements: Proceedings, Leuven: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1992). Display properties and eye movement control. In J. Van Rensbergen and G. d'Ydewalle (Eds.). Perception and Cognition: Advances in Eye Movement Research. (pp. 251-264) Amsterdam: North Holland. (ISBN: 0-444-89938-3)
Kennedy, A. and Murray, W.S. (1994). Effects of pulsating illumination on eye movements during fingerprint examination. Technical Report for Home Office Police Systems Research and Development Group.
Murray, W.S. & Liversedge, S.P. (1994). Referential context effects on syntactic processing. In C. Clifton, Jr., L. Frazier, and K. Rayner (Eds.), Perspectives on Sentence Processing. Hillsdale, N.J: Erlbaum.
Murray, W.S. (1998). Parafoveal pragmatics. In G. Underwood (Ed.). Eye Guidance in Reading and Scene Perception. (pp.181-199) Oxford: Elsevier.
Heydel, M., & Murray, W.S. (2000). Conceptual effects in sentence priming: A cross-linguistic perspective. In M. De Vincenzi & V. Lombardo (Eds.). Cross-Linguistic Perspectives on Language Processing. (pp. 227-254) Dordrecht: Kluwer. (ISBN: 0-7923-6146-6)
Hill, R.L. & Murray, W.S. (2000). Commas and spaces: Effects of punctuation on eye movements and sentence parsing. In A. Kennedy, R. Radach, D. Heller & J. Pynte (Eds). Reading as a Perceptual Process. (pp. 565-589) Oxford: Elsevier. (ISBN: 0 08 043642 0)
Murray, W.S. (2000). Sentence processing: Issues and measures. In A. Kennedy, R. Radach, D. Heller & J. Pynte (Eds). Reading as a Perceptual Process. (pp. 649-664) Oxford: Elsevier. (ISBN: 0 08 043642 0)
Hill, R. L., & Murray, W. S. (2003). The consequences of commas for text-to-speech software. In C. Stephanidis (Ed.), HCI International 2003 Adjunct Proceedings (pp. 83-84). Heraklion: Crete University Press.
Hill, R. L., & Murray, W. S. (2003). Punctuation and spacing: modulating on-screen reading patterns. In C. Stephanidis (Ed.), HCI International 2003 Adjunct Proceedings (pp. 85-86). Heraklion: Crete University Press.
Van Gompel, R.P.G, Fischer, M.H, Murray, W.S., & Hill, R.L. (2007). Eye-movement research: An overview of current and past developments. In R.P.G. van Gompel, M.H. Fischer, W.S. Murray, and R.L. Hill (Eds.). Eye movements: A window on mind and brain. Oxford: Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-08-044980-7.

(iii) Journal articles:

Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1984). Inspection times for words in syntactically ambiguous sentences under three presentation conditions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 10, 833-849.
Holmes, V. H., Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1987). Syntactic structure and the garden path. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 39A, 277-293.
Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1987). Spatial coordinates and reading: Comments on Monk (1985). Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 39A, 649-656.
Kennedy, A., Wilkes, A.L., Elder, L. & Murray, W.S. (1988). Dialogue with machines. Cognition, 30, 37-72.
Murray, W.S. & Kennedy, A. (1988). Spatial coding in the processing of anaphor by good and poor readers: Evidence from eye movement analyses. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 40A, 693- 718.
Kennedy, A., Murray, W.S., Jennings, F. & Reid, C. (1989). Comments on the generality of the principle of minimal attachment. Language and Cognitive Processes. Special Issue on Parsing and Interpretation, 4, 51-76.
Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1991). The effects of flicker on eye movement control. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 43A, 79-99.
Pynte, J., Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1991). Within-word inspection strategies in continuous reading: Time course of perceptual, lexical, and contextual processes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 17, 458-470.
Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1993). 'Flicker' on VDU screens. Nature, 365, 213.
Watt, S.M. & Murray, W.S. (1993). Sensory form and language processing options. Journal of the European Society for the Study of Cognitive Systems, 3(4), 398-415.
Kennedy, A. & Murray, W.S. (1996). Eye movement control during the inspection of words under conditions of pulsating illumination. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 8, 381-403.
Watt, S.M. & Murray, W.S. (1996). Prosodic form and parsing commitments. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research (CUNY Special Issue), 25(2), 291-318.
Kennedy, A., Brysbaert, M. and Murray, W.S. (1998). The effects of intermittent illumination on a visual inspection task. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 51A, 135-151.
Murray, W.S. & Rowan, M. (1998). Early, mandatory, pragmatic processing. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research (CUNY Special Issue), 27, 1-22.
Murray, W.S. (2000). Interaction versus autonomy: A close shave. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 341-342.
Murray, W.S. (2003). The eye movement engine. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26, 494-495.
Murray, W.S. & Forster, K.I. (2004). Serial mechanisms in lexical access: The rank hypothesis. Psychological Review, 111, 721-756.
Kennedy,A., Murray, W.S., & Boissiere, C. (2004). Parafoveal Pragmatics Revisited. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology (Special Issue), 16, 128-153.
Murray, W.S. (2006). The nature and time course of pragmatic plausibility effects. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research (Special Issue), 35(1), 79-99.
Martin, J., Bennett, M., & Murray, W.S. (2008). A developmental study of the infrahumanisation hypothesis. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26 153-161.
Murray, W.S. & Forster, K.I. (2008). The Rank Hypothesis and Lexical Decision: A reply to Adelman and Brown (2008). Psychological Review, 115(1). 240-252.
Kennedy, A., Pynte, J., Murray, W.S., & Paul, S-A. (2012). Frequency and Predictability effects in the Dundee Corpus: An eye movement analysis. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, in press.


Cognition (level 1)
Research Skills (level 1 & 3)
Language and Cognition (level 3)
Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics (level 4)
Eye Movements and Visual Cognition (M.Sc.)


Associate Dean

Additional Information


B.Sc, PhD (Monash University, Australia)


Eye movement control.