Penny Pexman

Penny Pexman is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Calgary; Editor, CJEP; Co-founder, Women in Cognitive Science Canada.

In broad terms she is interested in how we derive meaning from language. Pexman has approached this question at the level of individual words, examining the cognitive processes involved in visual word recognition; that is, how do we access the meanings of words? She utilises behavioural methods and also fMRI and EEG to study this question, examining the behavioural and neural consequences of variability in a number of dimensions of word meaning, including embodied dimensions.

Pexman has also investigated how we derive meaning from more complex language; she is interested in social and cognitive aspects of non-literal language comprehension and production. In particular, she is interested in how we appreciate the meaning meaning intended by verbal irony (e.g. sarcastic remarks, like saying “that was smooth” after tripping and falling). She is especially interested in how children develop the ability to detect and produce verbal irony. To study children’s appreciation of sarcastic-ironic language, Pexman has developed tasks that allow us to assess not only the end product of children’s interpretation, but also children’s processing as they derive that interpretation.

Her research interests include cognitive development, cognitive psychology, language processing, psycholinguistics and reading. For a list of her publications click here. You can also follow her on Twitter @PennyPexman.

Credits: University of Calgary

Published: 03 June 2016

Last update: 13 August 2016

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