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Professor Gerry Altmann


Associate Investigator

Contact Details

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External Address

Department of Psychology,
University of Connecticut, USA


My research is in the field of psycholinguistics with a particular focus on adult language processing, the influence of context on sentence comprehension, event comprehension and the interface between language and vision.

My current research focuses on how we map language into our visual environment, and how we represent and communicate the changes which that environment undergoes. I study language by monitoring eye movements. “I study how we process what goes in through the ears by studying its effect on the eyes. I’m interested in how language can direct attention around our external world, and in how our perception of that external world might influence our interpretation of language relating to that world.”

I earned my PhD in artificial intelligence at the University of Edinburgh, UK and subsequently taught at the University of Sussex, UK before joining the Psychology Department at the University of York, UK. I am author of The Ascent of Babel: An Exploration of Language, Mind, and Understanding (Oxford University Press 1998) which was the winner of the British Psychological Society Book Award in 2000.

Recent External Appointments

  • Editor-in-Chief, Cognition. (2006 - 2014)
  • Editorial Board Member, Language and Cognitive Processes. (2002 continuing)
  • Editorial Board Member, Cognitiva. (2002 continuing)

External Memberships

  • Experimental Psychology Society, UK
  • Psychonomic Society, USA

Recent Grants Awarded

  • Economic and Social Research Council (2011 - 2014) “Language-induced event-representation: Competition and multiple object instantiation.” (£595,844) Altmann, G.T.M., & Kamide, Y. ($1,300,000)

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2013). Anticipating the garden path: The horse raced past the barn ate the cake. In M. Sanz, I. Laka, M. Tanenhaus (Eds.), Language Down The Garden Path: The Cognitive and Biological Basis for Linguistic Structure (pp. 111-130). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2011). The mediation of eye movements by spoken language. In S.P. Liversedge, I.D. Gilchrist, & S. Everling (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Eye Movements (pp. 979-1003). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.


  • Hindy, N.C., Solomon, S.H., Altmann, G.T.M., Kalenik, E., & Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2015). A cortical network for the encoding of object change. Cerebral Cortex, 25(4), 884-894. doi:10.1093/cercor/bht275
  • Solomon, S.H., Hindy, N.C., Altmann, G.T.M., & Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2015). Competition between mutually exclusive object states in event comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(12), 2324-2338. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00866
  • Kukona, A., Altmann, G.T.M., & Kamide, Y. (2014). Knowing what, where, and when: Event comprehension in language processing. Cognition, 131(1), 25-31. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.05.011
  • Trenkij, D., Mirkovic, J., & Altmann, G.T.M. (2014). Real-time grammar processing by native and non-native speakers: Constructions unique to the second language. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(2), 237-257. doi:10.1017/S1366728913000321
  • Dumitru, M.L., Joergensen, G.H., Cruickshank, A.G., & Altmann, G.T.M. (2013). Language-guided visual processing affects reasoning: The role of referential and spatial anchoring. Consciousness and Cognition, 22(2), 562-571.
  • Marsden, E., Altmann, G.T.M., St. Claire, M. (2013). Priming of verb inflections in L1 and L2 French: A comparison of ‘redundant’ versus ‘non-redundant’ training conditions. International Review of Applied Linguistics for Language Education, 51(3), 271-298.
  • Hindy, N.C., Altmann, G.T.M., Kalenik, E., & Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2012). The effect of object state-changes on event processing: Do objects compete with themselves? Journal of Neuroscience, 32(17), 5795-5803.
  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2011). Language can mediate eye movement control within 100 milliseconds, regardless of whether there is anything to move the eyes to. Acta Psychologica, 137, 190-200.
  • Huettig, F., & Altmann, G.T.M. (2011). Looking at anything that is green when hearing ‘frog’: How object surface colour and stored object colour knowledge influence language-mediated overt attention. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64(1), 122-145.
  • Salverda, A.P. & Altmann, G.T.M. (2011). Attentional capture of objects referred to by spoken language. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37, 1122-1133.
  • Weighall, A. & Altmann, G.T.M. (2011). The role of working memory and contextual constraints in children’s processing of relative clauses. Journal of Child Language, 38, 579-605.

Conference Presentations, Colloquia, and other presentations

  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2015, June). Representing objects across time: Language-mediated event representation. Invited colloquium at the CLaS-CCD Research Colloquium Series, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2015, June). Unfolding meaning in context: The dynamics of conceptual similarity. Paper presented at the CLaS-CCD Eye Tracking Workshop: Language, Vision, Perception and their Interface, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Ekves, Z., Joergensen, G.H., Yee, E., & Altmann, G.T.M. (2015, April). Semantic and episodic memory integration during sentence processing. Poster session presented at the 6th UConn Language Fest, University of Connecticut, Storrs, USA.
  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2012, September). Event comprehension in the brain: Objects ‘before’ compete with themselves ‘after’. Invited presentation given at the Workshop on inderstanding the meaning of words and sentences: The role of non-linguistic processes, University of Tübingen, Germany.
  • Yee, E., & Altmann, G.T.M. (2012, September). Balancing long-term syntactic knowledge against short-term experience: The case of the missing adjective. Poster session presented at the 18th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing, Riva del Garda, Italy.
  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2012, August). Event comprehension in the brain: Objects ‘before’ compete with themselves ‘after’. Keynote paper presented at the Embodied and Situated Language Processing 2012, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.
  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2011, September). Prediction during situated language processing. Paper presented at the 17th Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP), San Sebastian, Spain.
  • Altmann, G.T.M. (2011, September). Language-mediated eye movements: Interactions between language, attention, and oculomotor control. Paper presented at the 17th Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP), San Sebastian, Spain.

Further Information

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