Prof Louise Connell

Psychology

Education House
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Biography

Professor Louise Connell is a Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology who specialises in interdisciplinary research in cognition and cognitive science. She has published widely on the nature of mental representations and concepts, and her current work investigates the role of sensorimotor experience and linguistic distributional knowledge in cognition, using a combination of methods from experimental psychology, corpus linguistics, data sciences, and computational modelling. She is also a strong proponent of open science practices.

She is currently Principal Investigator on a €2 million research grant from the European Research Council on the role of language in complex cognition, run between Maynooth University and Lancaster University (UK). 

A graduate of Dublin City University (BSc), University of Edinburgh (MSc) and University College Dublin (PhD), she held faculty positions in the UK at Northumbria University, University of Manchester, and Lancaster University, before moving to Maynooth University in 2021.

Research Interests

My research is interdisciplinary cognitive science investigating topics of cognition, concepts, and language:
  • Mental representation: how semantic memory and conceptual thought emerges from the interplay of linguistic distributional knowledge and simulation of sensorimotor and affective experience.
  • Language and cognition: how language supports the complexity of human cognitive processing, and how this support varies by individual and age.
  • Computational cognition: how insights from psychology (cognitive, experimental, and neuro), linguistics (psycho-, corpus, and computational), and artificial intelligence (machine learning, data sciences, and computational modelling) can inform an interdisciplinary psychological science.

Research Projects

  Project Role Funding Body / Program Description Start Date End Date Award (€)
LANGBOOT: Language bootstraps cognitive complexity PI EU Horizon 2020 / ERC Consolidator Grant Language and cognition have a close, but cryptic, relationship. Is language just another tool in humans' diverse cognitive toolkit; vital for communication, but not necessary for complex, high-level thought? Or is language what allows us to form and manipulate complex thoughts in the first place, by allowing words to act as placeholders in ideas that would otherwise be too unwieldy to handle? Distinguishing between these possibilities is vital to understanding our most fundamental cognitive faculties and the origin of modern human cognition itself. The current project will render this problem tractable with the groundbreaking proposal that language bootstraps the cognitive complexity of the human mind by enhancing its ability to form and manipulate more elaborate mental representations than would otherwise be possible without language. In an innovative programme of investigation that uses cutting-edge methods from experimental psychology, psycholinguistics, cognitive modelling, and corpus linguistics, we will examine how words interact with conceptual knowledge gleaned from perceptual and action experience in forming mental representations across a range of fundamental cognitive tasks, including categorisation, memory performance, and abstract thought. We will test whether and how language provides indispensable aid to cognitive processing that struggles to complete under time pressure or that strains working memory capacity, and how such aid could have influenced cognitive evolution. Findings of this project will answer whether language provides critical enhancement to the achievable complexity of cognition, and whether language use could have brought about the sudden flowering of art, fine tools and culture that are the hallmarks of complex cognition in modern humans. The result will be a comprehensive, multidisciplinary perspective on the role of language in cognition that has the potential to reshape how we regard the functioning of the human mind. 01-OCT-21 30-MAY-23 453651.56

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
2022 'Category production norms for 117 concrete and abstract categories'
Banks B;Connell L; (2022) 'Category production norms for 117 concrete and abstract categories'. Behavior Research Methods, [DOI] [Details]
2022 'Understanding the role of linguistic distributional knowledge in cognition'
Wingfield C.;Connell L. (2022) 'Understanding the role of linguistic distributional knowledge in cognition'. Language, Cognition And Neuroscience, [DOI] [Details]
2021 'Linguistic Distributional Knowledge and Sensorimotor Grounding both Contribute to Semantic Category Production'
Banks B.;Wingfield C.;Connell L. (2021) 'Linguistic Distributional Knowledge and Sensorimotor Grounding both Contribute to Semantic Category Production'. Cognitive Science, 45 (10) [DOI] [Details]
2020 'The Lancaster Sensorimotor Norms: multidimensional measures of perceptual and action strength for 40,000 English words'
Lynott D;Connell L;Brysbaert M;Brand J;Carney J; (2020) 'The Lancaster Sensorimotor Norms: multidimensional measures of perceptual and action strength for 40,000 English words'. Behavior Research Methods, 52 (3) [DOI] [full-text] [Details]
2019 'Are you what you read? Predicting implicit attitudes to immigration based on linguistic distributional cues from newspaper readership; A pre-registered study'
Lynott, D.;Walsh, M.;McEnery, T.;Connell, L.;Cross, L.;O'Brien, K.; (2019) 'Are you what you read? Predicting implicit attitudes to immigration based on linguistic distributional cues from newspaper readership; A pre-registered study'. Frontiers in Psychology, [DOI] [full-text] [Details]
2018 'What have labels ever done for us? The linguistic shortcut in conceptual processing'
Louise Connell; (2018) 'What have labels ever done for us? The linguistic shortcut in conceptual processing'. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, [DOI] [Details]
2018 'Interoception: The forgotten modality in perceptual grounding of abstract and concrete concepts'
Louise Connell;Dermot Lynott;Briony Banks; (2018) 'Interoception: The forgotten modality in perceptual grounding of abstract and concrete concepts'. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, [DOI] [full-text] [Details]
2017 'The effect of haptic and ambient temperature experience on prosocial behavior'
Dermot Lynott;Katherine S. Corker;Louise Connell;Kerry S. O'Brien; (2017) 'The effect of haptic and ambient temperature experience on prosocial behavior'. Archives of Scientific Psychology, [DOI] [full-text] [Details]
2016 'Do we know what we're simulating? Information loss on transferring unconscious perceptual simulation to conscious imagery'
Louise Connell;Dermot Lynott; (2016) 'Do we know what we're simulating? Information loss on transferring unconscious perceptual simulation to conscious imagery'. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, [DOI] [Details]
2016 'On magnitudes in memory: An internal clock account of space-time interaction'
Cai, Z.G.;Connell, L.; (2016) 'On magnitudes in memory: An internal clock account of space-time interaction'. Acta Psychologica, [DOI] [Details]
2016 'Registered Replication Report: Strack, Martin, & Stepper (1988)'
Wagenmakers, E. -J.;Beek, Titia;Dijkhoff, Laura;Gronau, Quentin F.; (2016) 'Registered Replication Report: Strack, Martin, & Stepper (1988)'. Perspectives on Psychological Science, [DOI] [full-text] [Details]
2015 'Space-time interdependence: Evidence against asymmetric mapping between time and space'
Cai, Zhenguang G.;Connell, Louise; (2015) 'Space-time interdependence: Evidence against asymmetric mapping between time and space'. Cognition, [DOI] [Details]
2014 'I see/hear what you mean: Semantic activation in visual word recognition depends on perceptual attention'
Connell, Louise,Lynott, Dermot (2014) 'I see/hear what you mean: Semantic activation in visual word recognition depends on perceptual attention'. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143 (2) [Details]
2014 'Principles of representation: Why you can't represent the same concept twice'
Louise Connell;Dermot Lynott; (2014) 'Principles of representation: Why you can't represent the same concept twice'. Topics in Cognitive Science, [DOI] [Details]
2014 'Replication of œExperiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth by Williams & Bargh (2008)'
Dermot Lynott;Katherine Corker;Jessica Wortman;Louise Connell;M. Brent Donnellan;Richard Lucas;Kerry S. O'Brien; (2014) 'Replication of œExperiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth by Williams & Bargh (2008)'. Social psychology, [DOI] [Details]
2014 'High quality direct replications matter: response to Williams (2014)'
Katherine S. Corker;Dermot Lynott;Jessica Wortman;Louise Connell;M. Brent Donnellan;Richard E. Lucas;Kerry S. O'Brien; (2014) 'High quality direct replications matter: response to Williams (2014)'. Social Psychology, [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Flexible and fast: Linguistic shortcut affects both shallow and deep conceptual processing'
Louise Connell;Dermot Lynott; (2013) 'Flexible and fast: Linguistic shortcut affects both shallow and deep conceptual processing'. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Do you see what I'm singing? Visuospatial movement biases pitch perception'
Connell, Louise;Cai, Zhenguang G.;Holler, Judith; (2013) 'Do you see what I'm singing? Visuospatial movement biases pitch perception'. Brain and Cognition, [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Modality exclusivity norms for 400 nouns: The relationship between perceptual experience and surface word form'
Lynott, Dermot;Connell, Louise; (2013) 'Modality exclusivity norms for 400 nouns: The relationship between perceptual experience and surface word form'. Behavior Research Methods, [DOI] [Details]
2013 'The role of body and environment in cognition'
Dermot Lynott;Louise Connell;Judith Holler; (2013) 'The role of body and environment in cognition'. Frontiers in Psychology, [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Time does not flow without language: Spatial distance affects temporal duration regardless of movement or direction'
Cai, Zhenguang G.;Connell, Louise;Holler, Judith; (2013) 'Time does not flow without language: Spatial distance affects temporal duration regardless of movement or direction'. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Reasoning as we read: Establishing the probability of causal conditionals'
Haigh, Matthew;Stewart, Andrew J.;Connell, Louise; (2013) 'Reasoning as we read: Establishing the probability of causal conditionals'. Memory & Cognition, [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Accent imitation positively affects language attitudes'
Adank, Patti;Stewart, Andrew J.;Connell, Louise;Wood, Jeffrey; (2013) 'Accent imitation positively affects language attitudes'. Frontiers in Psychology, [DOI] [Details]
2012 'A Functional Role for Modality-Specific Perceptual Systems in Conceptual Representations'
Connell, Louise; Lynott, Dermot; Dreyer, Felix (2012) 'A Functional Role for Modality-Specific Perceptual Systems in Conceptual Representations'. PLoS ONE, [DOI] [Details]
2012 'Strength of perceptual experience predicts word processing performance better than concreteness or imageability'
Connell, Louise,Lynott, Dermot (2012) 'Strength of perceptual experience predicts word processing performance better than concreteness or imageability'. Cognition, 125 (3):452-465 [Details]
2012 'When does perception facilitate or interfere with conceptual processing? The effect of attentional modulation'
Connell, Louise,Lynott, Dermot (2012) 'When does perception facilitate or interfere with conceptual processing? The effect of attentional modulation'. Frontiers in Psychology, 3 [Details]
2011 'A Taste of Words: Linguistic Context and Perceptual Simulation Predict the Modality of Words'
Louwerse, Max;Connell, Louise; (2011) 'A Taste of Words: Linguistic Context and Perceptual Simulation Predict the Modality of Words'. Cognitive Science, [DOI] [Details]
2011 'Conditional advice and inducements: Are readers sensitive to implicit speech acts during comprehension?'
Haigh, Matthew;Stewart, Andrew J.;Wood, Jeffrey S.;Connell, Louise; (2011) 'Conditional advice and inducements: Are readers sensitive to implicit speech acts during comprehension?'. Acta Psychologica, [DOI] [Details]
2011 'Modality switching costs emerge in concept creation as well as retrieval'
Louise Connell;Dermot Lynott; (2011) 'Modality switching costs emerge in concept creation as well as retrieval'. Cognitive Science, [DOI] [Details]
2010 'Look but don't touch: Tactile disadvantage in processing modality-specific words'
Connell, Louise;Lynott, Dermot; (2010) 'Look but don't touch: Tactile disadvantage in processing modality-specific words'. Cognition, [DOI] [Details]
2010 'The effect of prosody on conceptual combination'
Dermot Lynott, Louise Connell (2010) 'The effect of prosody on conceptual combination'. Cognitive Science, [DOI] [Details]
2010 'Embodied conceptual combination'
Dermot Lynott;Louise Connell; (2010) 'Embodied conceptual combination'. Frontiers in Psychology, [DOI] [Details]
2009 'Is a bear white in the woods? Parallel representation of implied object color during language comprehension'
Louise Connell; Dermot Lynott; (2009) 'Is a bear white in the woods? Parallel representation of implied object color during language comprehension'. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, [DOI] [Details]
2009 'Modality exclusivity norms for 423 object properties'
Lynott, Dermot,Connell, Louise (2009) 'Modality exclusivity norms for 423 object properties'. Behavior Research Methods, 41 (2):558-564 [Details]
2007 'Representing object colour in language comprehension'
Connell, Louise; (2007) 'Representing object colour in language comprehension'. Cognition, [DOI] [Details]
2006 'A model of plausibility'
Connell, L;Keane, MT; (2006) 'A model of plausibility'. Cognitive Science, [DOI] [Details]
2004 'What plausibly affects plausibility? Concept coherence and distributional word coherence as factors influencing plausibility judgments'
Connell, L;Keane, MT; (2004) 'What plausibly affects plausibility? Concept coherence and distributional word coherence as factors influencing plausibility judgments'. Memory & Cognition, [DOI] [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
2015 'Embodied semantic effects in visual word recognition'
Connell, L.;Lynott, D.; (2015) 'Embodied semantic effects in visual word recognition' In: Conceptual and Interactive Embodiment: Foundations of Embodied Cognition Volume 2. UK: Psychology Press. [DOI] [Details]

Edited Books

  Year Publication
2014 The Role of Body and Environment in Cognition
Dermot Lynott, Louise Connell, Judith Holler (Ed.). (2014) The Role of Body and Environment in Cognition Switzerland: Frontiers Media SA. [Details]