My research is aimed at understanding how people comprehend and produce language. An important part of my research involves the investigation of how people process the syntactic structure of sentences (e.g., Van Gompel, 2013). Perhaps surprisingly, our research (Van Gompel, Pickering, & Traxler, 2001; Van Gompel, Pickering, Pearson, & Liversedge, 2005) suggests that sentences that are syntactically ambiguous are often easier to read than sentences that are disambiguated. This provides evidence against the commonly held view that different syntactic analyses of an ambiguous structure compete. Instead, the results suggest that difficulty is due to structural reanalysis.
In other research, we have investigated how the processing of sentences is affected by recent exposure to sentences with a very similar structure, a phenomenon often referred to as structural priming (Arai, Van Gompel, & Scheepers, 2007; Carminati, Van Gompel, Scheepers, & Arai, 2008). It appears that structural priming in language comprehension occurs with the same structures as in language production, but interestingly, priming effects in comprehension are much more lexically driven. In research with Leila Kantola (Kantola & Van Gompel, 2011), we have also used structural priming to investigate the syntactic representations of bilinguals: Our results show that structures that exist in two different languages have one single mental representation.
Another important part of my research is concerned with how people comprehend anaphoric expressions (e.g., Järvikivi, Van Gompel, Hyönä, & Bertram, 2005; Van Gompel & Majid, 2004) and produce them. In collaboration with Kumiko Fukumura, we have recently investigated when people produce either a pronoun or a repeated name or noun phrase to refer back to an earlier introduced discourse entity. Our results show that the choice for a particular anaphoric expression is driven by, amongst others, the similarity of a discourse entity to other entities (Fukumura & Van Gompel, in press; Fukumura, Van Gompel, Harley, & Pickering, in press) and syntactic factors, but interestingly, not by the likelihood that people refer to an entity (Fukumura & Van Gompel, 2010). I am currently also collaborating with computational linguists to test the psychological plausibility of computational models of reference, and we have edited a special issue of the journal TopiCS in Cognitive Science on this issue (Van Deemter, Gatt, Van Gompel, & Krahmer, 2012).
I currently teach Psychology of Language (Levels 3, 4 and 5) and Statistics and Methodology (Levels 2 and 5).
'Structural priming in bilinguals' Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. DOI:
'Number attraction affects reanalysis in sentence processing' Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, pp. 1-11. DOI:
'The interplay of implicit causality, structural heuristics, and anaphor type in ambiguous pronoun resolution' Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, vol 46, no. 3, pp. 525-550. DOI:
'How do violations of Gricean maxims affect reading?' Journal of Memory and Language, vol 95, pp. 1-18. DOI:
'Editorial: Models of Reference' Frontiers in Psychology, vol 7, 1855. DOI:
'Reference Production as Search: The Impact of Domain Size on the Production of Distinguishing Descriptions' Cognitive Science, vol 41, no. S6, 12375, pp. 1457-1492. DOI:
'Effects of order of mention and grammatical role on anaphor resolution' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, vol 41, no. 2, pp. 501-525. DOI:
'Is anaphoric reference cooperative?' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol 69, no. 6, pp. 1109-1128. DOI:
'Models and empirical data for the production of referring expressions' Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, vol 29, no. 8, pp. 899-911. DOI:
Sentence processing. Current issues in the psychology of language, Psychology Press, London.
'Toward a Computational Psycholinguistics of Reference Production' Topics in Cognitive Science, vol 4, no. 2, pp. 166-183. DOI:
'The representation of mono- and intransitive structures' Journal of Memory and Language, vol 66, no. 2, pp. 384-406. DOI:
'Producing Pronouns and Definite Noun Phrases: Do Speakers Use the Addressee's Discourse Model?' Cognitive Science, vol 36, no. 7, pp. 1289-1311. DOI:
'How does similarity-based interference affect the choice of referring expression?' Journal of Memory and Language, vol 65, no. 3, pp. 331-344. DOI:
'Between- and within-language priming is the same: evidence for shared bilingual syntactic representations' Memory and Cognition, vol 39, no. 2, pp. 276-290. DOI:
'The effect of animacy on the choice of referring expression' Language and Cognitive Processes, vol 26, no. 10, pp. 1472-1504. DOI:
'Choosing anaphoric expressions: do people take into account likelihood of reference?' Journal of Memory and Language, vol 62, no. 1, pp. 52-66. DOI:
'The use of visual context during the production of referring expressions' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol 63, no. 9, pp. 1700-1715. DOI:
'Activating gender stereotypes during online spoken language processing evidence from visual world eye tracking' Experimental Psychology, vol 57, no. 2, pp. 126-133. DOI:
'Syntactic Priming in Comprehension: the Role of Argument Order and Animacy' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, vol 34, no. 5, pp. 1098-1110. DOI:
'Priming ditransitive structures in comprehension' Cognitive Psychology, vol 54, no. 3, pp. 218-250. DOI:
Eye-movement research: an overview of current and past developments. in RPG van Gompel, MH Fischer, WS Murray & RL Hill (eds), Eye movements: a window on mind and brain. Elsevier, pp. 1-28.
Eye movements: a window on mind and brain. Elsevier, Amsterdam ; Oxford.
'The activation of inappropriate analyses in garden-path sentences: evidence from structural priming' Journal of Memory and Language, vol 55, no. 3, pp. 335-362. DOI:
Syntactic parsing. in M Traxler & M Gernsbacher (eds), Handbook of psycholinguistics. 2nd edn, Academic Press, London, pp. 455-503. DOI:
'Evidence against competition during syntactic ambiguity resolution.' Journal of Memory and Language, vol 52, no. 2, pp. 284-307. DOI:
'Ambiguous pronoun resolution: Contrasting the first-mention and subject preference accounts' Psychological Science, vol 16, no. 4, pp. 260-264. DOI:
'Antecedent frequency effects during the processing of pronouns.' Cognition, vol 90, no. 3, pp. 255-264. DOI:
'The influence of morphological information on cataphoric pronoun assignment' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, vol 29, no. 1, pp. 128-139. DOI:
'Lexical guidance in sentence processing:: A note on Adams, Clifton, and Mitchell (1998).' Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol 8, no. 4, pp. 851-857. DOI:
'Reanalysis in sentence processing: evidence against current constraint-based and two-stage models' Journal of Memory and Language, vol 45, no. 2, pp. 225-258. DOI:
'Processing arguments and adjuncts in isolation and context:: The case of by-phrases in passives.' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, vol 24, no. 2, pp. 461-475. DOI: