Adele Goldberg

Associate Chair
Moses Taylor Pyne Professor of Psychology
Office Phone
227 Peretsman Scully Hall

Ph.D., University of California


Human beings come to know a vast amount of specific and general information about the language(s) that they speak. Instead of assuming that we must bring to the task knowledge that is specific to Language in order for us to accomplish this task, our research explores the idea that it may well be possible to learn language by using our general cognitive processes. A key observation facilitates an explanation: our knowledge of language consists of form-function correspondences (constructions).

It is striking how different human languages can be, given that we all need to express the same basic types of messages. Yet there remain certain cross-linguistic generalizations that require explanation. Another aspect of our research aims to explain these generalizations.

Selected Publications

2014. Francesca Citron and Adele E. Goldberg. Metaphorical sentences are more emotionally engaging than their literal counterparts. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

2013. Adele E. Goldberg. Explanations and Constructions. Mind and Language 28(4): 479-485.

2012. Kachina Allen, Francesco Pereira, Matthew Botvinick, Adele E. Goldberg. Distinguishing Grammatical Constructions with fMRI Pattern Analysis. Brain and Language 123: 174–182.

2012. Matthew A. Johnson and Adele E. Goldberg. Evidence for Automatic Accessing of Constructional Meaning: Jabberwocky sentences prime associated verbs. Language and Cognitive Processes 28 (10): 1439-1452. 

2012. Jeremy K. Boyd and Adele E. Goldberg. Young children’s failure to generalize when exposed to the same input as older learners.  Journal of Child Language 39 3:457-48.