Prof Louise Connell


Education House


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. 

Her research has been funded by the European Research Council, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, and the UK's Economic & Social Research Council. She currently holds a Science Foundation Ireland Public Service Fellowship.

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

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
DPER4: Research how behavioural science can be utilised in the public sector to tackle environmental challenges and improve policy making PI 01/02/2024 31/01/2025 129446
LANGBOOT: Language bootstraps cognitive complexity PI 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. 01/10/2021 30/11/2023 671522.16

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2024 van Hoef, R.; Lynott, D.; Connell, L. (2024) 'Timed picture naming norms for 800 photographs of 200 objects in English'. Behavior Research Methods, . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Dymarska A.; Connell L.; Banks B. (2023) 'Weaker than you might imagine: Determining imageability effects on word recognition'. Journal of Memory and Language, 129 . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Dymarska, A.; Connell, L.; Banks, B. (2023) 'More Is Not Necessarily Better: How Different Aspects of Sensorimotor Experience Affect Recognition Memory for Words'. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Banks, B.; Connell, L. (2023) 'Multi-dimensional sensorimotor grounding of concrete and abstract categories'. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 378 . [Link] [DOI]
2023 van Hoef, R.; Connell, L.; Lynott, D. (2023) 'The effects of sensorimotor and linguistic information on the basic-level advantage'. Cognition, 241 . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Lynott, D.; Corker, K.; Connell, L.; O'Brien, K. (2023) 'The effects of temperature on prosocial and antisocial behaviour: A review and meta-analysis'. British Journal of Social Psychology, . [Link] [DOI]
2022 Banks B.; Connell L. (2022) 'Multi-dimensional sensorimotor grounding of concrete and abstract categories'. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 378 (1870). [Link]
2022 Dymarska, A; Connell, L; Banks, B (2022) 'Linguistic Bootstrapping Allows More Real-world Object Concepts to Be Held in Mind'. Collabra: Psychology, 8 (1). [Link]
2022 Wingfield C.; Connell L. (2022) 'Understanding the role of linguistic distributional knowledge in cognition'. Language, Cognition And Neuroscience, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 Wingfield C.; Connell L. (2022) 'Sensorimotor distance: A grounded measure of semantic similarity for 800 million concept pairs'. Behavior Research Methods, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2022 Banks B; Connell L; (2022) 'Category production norms for 117 concrete and abstract categories'. Behavior Research Methods, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2021 Banks B.; Wingfield C.; Connell L. (2021) 'Linguistic Distributional Knowledge and Sensorimotor Grounding both Contribute to Semantic Category Production'. Cognitive Science, 45 (10). [Link] [DOI]
2020 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]
2019 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]
2018 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, . [Link] [DOI] [Full-Text]
2018 Louise Connell; (2018) 'What have labels ever done for us? The linguistic shortcut in conceptual processing'. Language, Cognition And Neuroscience, . [DOI]
2017 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]
2016 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]
2016 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]
2016 Cai, Z.G.; Connell, L.; (2016) 'On magnitudes in memory: An internal clock account of space-time interaction'. Acta Psychologica, . [DOI]
2015 Cai, Zhenguang G.; Connell, Louise; (2015) 'Space-time interdependence: Evidence against asymmetric mapping between time and space'. Cognition, . [DOI]
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]
2014 Louise Connell; Dermot Lynott; (2014) 'Principles of representation: Why you can't represent the same concept twice'. Topics in Cognitive Science, . [DOI]
2014 Connell, Louise,Lynott, Dermot (2014) 'I see/hear what you mean: Semantic activation in visual word recognition depends on perceptual attention'. 143 (2).
2014 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]
2013 Adank, Patti; Stewart, Andrew J.; Connell, Louise; Wood, Jeffrey; (2013) 'Accent imitation positively affects language attitudes'. Frontiers in Psychology, . [DOI]
2013 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 and Review, . [DOI]
2013 Lynott, Dermot; Connell, Louise; (2013) 'Modality exclusivity norms for 400 nouns: The relationship between perceptual experience and surface word form'. Behavior Research Methods, . [DOI]
2013 Dermot Lynott; Louise Connell; (2013) 'Modality exclusivity norms for 400 nouns'. Behavior Research Methods, . [DOI]
2013 Connell, Louise; Cai, Zhenguang G.; Holler, Judith; (2013) 'Do you see what I'm singing? Visuospatial movement biases pitch perception'. Brain and Cognition, . [DOI]
2013 Louise Connell; Dermot Lynott; (2013) 'Flexible and fast: Linguistic shortcut affects both shallow and deep conceptual processing'. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, . [DOI]
2013 Haigh, Matthew; Stewart, Andrew J.; Connell, Louise; (2013) 'Reasoning as we read: Establishing the probability of causal conditionals'. Memory and Cognition, . [DOI]
2013 Dermot Lynott; Louise Connell; Judith Holler; (2013) 'The role of body and environment in cognition'. Frontiers in Psychology, . [DOI]
2012 Connell, Louise,Lynott, Dermot (2012) 'Strength of perceptual experience predicts word processing performance better than concreteness or imageability'. 125 (3):452-465.
2012 Connell, Louise,Lynott, Dermot (2012) 'When does perception facilitate or interfere with conceptual processing? The effect of attentional modulation'. 3 .
2012 Connell, Louise; Lynott, Dermot; Dreyer, Felix (2012) 'A Functional Role for Modality-Specific Perceptual Systems in Conceptual Representations'. PLoS ONE, .
2011 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]
2011 Louwerse, Max; Connell, Louise; (2011) 'A Taste of Words: Linguistic Context and Perceptual Simulation Predict the Modality of Words'. Cognitive Science, . [DOI]
2011 Louise Connell; Dermot Lynott; (2011) 'Modality switching costs emerge in concept creation as well as retrieval'. Cognitive Science, . [DOI]
2010 Dermot Lynott, Louise Connell (2010) 'The effect of prosody on conceptual combination'. Cognitive Science, .
2010 Connell, Louise; Lynott, Dermot; (2010) 'Look but don't touch: Tactile disadvantage in processing modality-specific words'. Cognition, . [DOI]
2010 Dermot Lynott; Louise Connell; (2010) 'Embodied conceptual combination'. Frontiers in Psychology, . [DOI]
2009 Lynott, Dermot,Connell, Louise (2009) 'Modality exclusivity norms for 423 object properties'. 41 (2):558-564.
2009 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, .
2007 Connell, Louise; (2007) 'Representing object colour in language comprehension'. Cognition, . [DOI]
2006 Connell, L; Keane, MT; (2006) 'A model of plausibility'. Cognitive Science, . [DOI]
2004 Connell, L; Keane, MT; (2004) 'What plausibly affects plausibility? Concept coherence and distributional word coherence as factors influencing plausibility judgments'. Memory and Cognition, . [DOI]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.