Assistant Professor of Psychology
Cognitive Psychology

Olin-Rice Science Center, 323


Ariel James’s research concerns the relationship between language processing and other cognitive abilities, and is at the intersection of the experimental and correlational disciplines of psychology. What makes some sentences harder to understand than others, and how can differences between comprehenders shed light on that? Why are some people better comprehenders than others, and what measures can we use to predict that? Her dissertation work explored these questions by measuring reading comprehension, memory span, perceptual speed, and other abilities, investigating the relations between them, and raising important questions about measurement reliability. She also works on similar questions in auditory sentence processing, using the “Visual World Paradigm” in eye tracking. A broader interest is in meta-analysis and replication in psycholinguistics, including a large-scale meta-analysis of syntactic priming. She is also a visiting scholar in the iLab.
Ariel teaches courses on cognitive psychology, including a seminar on Intelligence.

BA: Stanford University
MA and PhD: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


James, A.N., Fraundorf, S., Lee, E., & Watson, D. (2018). Individual differences in
syntactic processing: Is there evidence for reader-text interactions? Journal of Memory
and Language, 102, 155-181.


Harrington Stack, C., James, A.N., & Watson, D. (2018). A failure to replicate rapid
syntactic adaptation in comprehension. Memory and Language, 46, 864-877.


James, A.N. & Watson, D. (2018). “Individual differences in the Visual World Paradigm,”
in The Interactive Mind: Language, Vision and Attention. F. Huettig, N. Mani, and
R. Mishra (Eds.). Macmillan Publishers.


Mahowald, K., James, A.N., Futrell, R., & Gibson, E. (2017). Structural priming is most
useful when the conclusions are statistically robust (Commentary). Behavioral and
Brain Sciences, 40.


Mahowald, K., James, A.N., Futrell, R., & Gibson, E. (2016). A meta-analysis of syntactic
priming in language production. Journal of Memory and Language, 91, 5-27.


Gillespie, M., James, A.N., Federmeier, K., & Watson, D. (2014). Verbal working memory predicts co-speech gesture: Evidence from individual differences. Cognition, 132, 174-180.