I obtained a BSc in Physics from Imperial College before switching to Experimental Psychology at Sussex University where I obtained a D.Phil. in 1979. After brief sojourns at Nottingham University and the Open University, I moved to the Institute of Psychology, Aarhus University, Denmark and studied children's acquisition of Scandinavian languages. From 1986, I spent a great deal of time at the University of California, San Diego studying the application of neural networks to modelling linguistic and cognitive development in young children. Since 1991, I have been a member of the faculty in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Hugh's College, Oxford. In 1992, I established the Oxford BabyLab which is a research facility for the experimental investigation of linguistic and cognitive development in babies and young children. I maintain an active interest in Scandinavian languages and neural network modelling.
BSc MA MSc DPhil FAcSS
Professor of Cognitive Science
- Director of the Oxford BabyLab
- Fellow of St. Hugh's College, Oxford
- Associate Head for Finance & Physical Capital
Linguistic & Cognitive Development
My main interest is in understanding the mechanisms of change that drive linguistic and cognitive development in infants and young children. The primary focus of my work is on word recognition, word learning, semantic development and category formation during the first two years of life. I also have a long standing interest in morphological processes in children and adults.
Researchers in my lab employ experimental techniques (preferential looking, eye-tracking and habituation), computational modelling (artificial neural networks) and imaging (ERPs) methods as tools of investigation.
Current Research Grants
- Language Mediated Attention in Infancy
Leverhulme Trust (2018-2021)
- Language in Infant Category Learning
Recent Research Grants
Vowels and Consonants in the Brain
Wellcome Trust (2008-12)
Infant Predictors of Learning to Read
Nuffield Foundation (2012-15)
Lexical Development in Bilingual Toddlers
A neurocomputational account of taxonomic responding and fast mapping in early word learning.
Mayor J. and Plunkett K., (2010), Psychol Rev, 117, 1 - 31
In the infant's mind's ear: evidence for implicit naming in 18-month-olds.
Mani N. and Plunkett K., (2010), Psychol Sci, 21, 908 - 913
Lexical-semantic priming effects during infancy.
Arias-Trejo N. and Plunkett K., (2009), Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 364, 3633 - 3647
Labels can override perceptual categories in early infancy.
Plunkett K. et al, (2008), Cognition, 106, 665 - 681
Stochastic approaches to understanding dissociations in inflectional morphology.
Plunkett K. and Bandelow S., (2006), Brain Lang, 98, 194 - 209
Sleep is atypical across neurodevelopmental disorders in infants and toddlers: A cross-syndrome study.
D'Souza D. et al, (2020), Res Dev Disabil, 97
Translation Equivalent and Cross-Language Semantic Priming in Bilingual Toddlers.
Floccia C. et al, (2019), Journal of Memory and Language
Infants show early comprehension of basic color words.
Forbes SH. and Plunkett K., (2018), Dev Psychol
Memory in 3-month-old infants benefits from a short nap.
Horváth K. et al, (2018), Dev Sci, 21
Floccia C. et al, (2018), Monogr Soc Res Child Dev, 83, 7 - 29