The Purple Lab

Our Research


Our lab conducts research on the cognitive processes that support the acquisition and proficient use of a second language. Our research investigates how bilingual speakers manage to speak words in one language at a time, how adult learners of a second language acquire new vocabulary, and what information is available when proficient bilinguals read in one or both of their two languages.

Current Research

The work in our lab uses bilingualism as a tool to investigate issues of language representation and processing that are otherwise difficult to examine within a single language.

revised hierarchical model

Revised Hierarchical Model
Kroll and Stewart (1994)

A focus in the current research is to understand how it is that lexical access in both comprehension and production is fundamentally nonselective with respective to language, yet bilinguals are able to control the use of their two languages with high accuracy; bilinguals only rarely speak words in the wrong language, although they are also able to code switch back in forth in the two languages with other individuals who are similarly bilingual with little difficulty.

A theme in many of the recent studies is to identify the factors that enable this control to be achieved. Because most of the research in our lab and others suggests that there is a high degree of competition between the two languages, understanding the mechanisms whereby it is resolved will have important implications more generally for cognitive models of competitive processes.

More Information Appearing Soon

Some things to look forward too: