James Magnuson


Psychological Sciences


Ph.D. Brain & Cognitive Sciences, 2001, University of Rochester


Research Interests

  • Neurobiology and psychology of language, including processing, development, and disorders of spoken and written language
  • Computational models as theory-building tools
  • Developing comprehensive understanding of language and learning over the lifespan from cognitive, neural and genetic perspectives through interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Science communication

Research Synopsis

  • Developing neural-network based models of human language processing with (with postdoc Heejo You, grad students Monica Li, Sahil Luthra, Nick Monto, & Rachael Steiner, and faculty members Jay Rueckl [PSYC], Paul Allopenna [PSYC], Monty Escabi [BME], Rachel Theodore [SLHS], and Kevin Brown [Oregon State U.])
  • Developing a unified phonological and semantic computational model of spoken word recognition using network science (with PhD student Rachael Steiner)
  • Neural and behavioral bases of prosody processing in Specific Language Impairment (with PhD students Liz Simmons and Monica Li)
  • Time course of phonological competition in spoken word recognition from toddlers to adults (with PhD student Liz Simmons)
  • Time course predictors from spoken word recognition of individual differences in low-literacy readers (with PhD student Monica Li)
  • Entropy and visual sampling of written words (with PhD student Sahil Luthra)
  • Accommodation of talker variability (with PhD students Dave Saltzman & Sahil Luthra, and faculty member Emily Myers)



  • Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 2501)
  • Science of Learning & Art of Communication (Honors core seminar)


  • Foundations in Language Plasticity and Science of Learning (rapid introductions to Cognitive Psychology, Computational Modeling, Neuroscience, and Genetics)
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Time course methods (EEG, eye tracking)
  • The Mental Lexicon (spoiler alert: we discover Dr. Magnuson denies the existence of a mental lexicon)



(Selected. *Indicates a graduate student; ** indicates undergraduate; + indicates postdoc. Full publication list with PDF links here.)

Magnuson, J. S., Mirman, D., *Luthra, S., Strauss, T., & Harris, H. (2018). Interaction in spoken word recognition models: Feedback helps. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:369. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00369 [HTML]

Brown, K.S., Allopenna, P.D., **Hunt, W.R., *Steiner, R.. Saltzman, E., McRae, K., & Magnuson, J.S. (2018). Universal features in phonological neighbor networks. Entropy, 20(7), 526. https://doi.org/10.3390/e20070526

+You, H. & Magnuson, J. S. (2018). TISK 1.0: An easy-to-use Python implementation of the time-invariant string kernel model of spoken word recognition. Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-017-1012-5

Magnuson, J. S. (2017). Mapping spoken words to meaning. In G. Gaskell & J. Mirkovic, Speech Perception and Spoken Word Recognition (pp. 76-96). New York: Routledge.

Kukona, A., Braze, D., Johns, C. L., Mencl, W. E., Van Dyke, J. A., Magnuson, J. S., Pugh, K. R., Shankweiler, D. P., & Tabor, W. (2016). The real-time prediction and inhibition of linguistic outcomes: Effects of language and literacy skill. Acta Psychologica, 171, 72-84.

Olmstead, A., Viswanathan, N. & Magnuson, J. S. (2016). Direct and real: Carol A. Fowlerâ’s theory and approach to science. Ecological Psychology, 28(3), 127-129.

*Kornilov, S.A., Rakhlin, N., Koposov, R., Lee, M., Yrigollen, C., Caglayan, A., Magnuson, J.S., Mane, S., Chang, J., & Grigorenko, E.L. (2016). Genome-wide association and exome sequencing study of language disorder in an isolated population. Pediatrics, 137(4), e20152469. doi:10.1542/peds.2015-2469.

Zhang, C., Pugh, K. R., Mencl, W. E., Molfese, S. J., Magnuson, J. S., Peng, G., & Wang, W. S-Y. (2016). Functionally integrated neural processing of linguistic and talker information: An event-related fMRI and ERP study. Neuroimage, 124, 536-549.

Braze, D., Katz, L., Magnuson, J. S., Mencl, W. E., Tabor, W., Van Dyke, J. A., Gong, T., Johns, C. L., & Shankweiler, D. P. (2016). Vocabulary does not complicate the simple view of reading. Reading and Writing, 29, 435-451.

Sadat, J., Martin, C. D., Magnuson, J. S., Alario, F-X, & Costa, A. (2016). Breaking down the bilingual cost in speech production. Cognitive Science, 40, 1911-1940.

*Collisson, B. A., Grela, B., Spaulding, T., Rueckl, J. G., & Magnuson, J. S. (2015). Individual differences in the shape bias in preschool children with Specific Language Impairment and typical language development: Theoretical and clinical implications. Developmental Science, 18:3, 373-388.

*Kornilov, S. A., Magnuson, J. S., Rakhlin, N., Landi, N., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2015). Lexical processing deficits in children with Developmental Language Disorder: An event-related potentials study. Development and Psychopathology, 27, 459-476.

Magnuson, J. S. (2015). Phoneme restoration and empirical coverage of interactive activation and adaptive resonance models of human speech processing. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137(3), 1481-1492. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4904543.


(Selected. Full publication list with PDF links here.)

Mirman, D., Yee, E., Blumstein, S., & Magnuson, J.S. (2011). Theories of spoken word recognition deficits in aphasia: Evidence from eye-tracking and computational modeling. Brain & Language, 117, 53-68.

*Kukona, A., *Fang, S., *Aicher, K. A., Chen, H., & Magnuson, J. S. (2011). The time course of anticipatory constraint integration. Cognition, 119, 23-42.

+Mirman, D., Graf Estes, K., & Magnuson, J.S. (2010). Computational modeling of statistical learning: Effects of transitional probability versus frequency and links to word learning. Infancy, 15, 471-486.

Magnuson, J.S., Tanenhaus, M.K., & Aslin, R.N. (2008). Immediate effects of form-class constraints on spoken word recognition. Cognition, 108(3), 866-873.

+Mirman, D., Dixon, J. A., & Magnuson, J. S. (2008). Statistical and computational models of the visual world paradigm: Growth curves and individual differences. Journal of Memory & Language, 59(4), 475-494.

+Mirman, D. & Magnuson, J.S. (2008). Attractor dynamics and semantic neighborhood density: Processing is slowed by near neighbors and speeded by distant neighbors. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 34, 65-79.

Magnuson, J. S., Dixon, J., Tanenhaus, M. K., & Aslin, R. N. (2007). The dynamics of lexical competition during spoken word recognition. Cognitive Science, 31, 133-156.

Magnuson, J. S., & Nusbaum, H. C. (2007). Acoustic differences, listener expectations, and the perceptual accommodation of talker variability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33, 391-409.

Strauss, T. J., +Harris, H. D., & Magnuson, J. S. (2007). jTRACE : A reimplementation and extension of the TRACE model of speech perception and spoken word recognition. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 19-30.

Magnuson, J. S., Tanenhaus, M. K., Aslin, R. N., & Dahan, D. (2003). The time course of spoken word recognition and learning: Studies with artificial lexicons. Journal of Experimental Psychology:General, 132(2), 202-227.

Allopenna, P. D., Magnuson, J. S., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (1998). Tracking the time course of spoken word recognition using eye movements: Evidence for continuous mapping models. Journal of Memory and Language, 38, 419-439.


I am the PI of the CCNLL, PI of an NSF-funded IGERT training program (Language Plasticity: Genes, Brain, Cognition, Computation), PI of an NSF-funded Research Traineeship (NRT) program (Science of Learning & Art of Communication), co-director of the Cognitive Science Shared Electrophysiology Resource Lab (CSSERL, pronounced /sis^rl/), and a Professor in the UConn Department of Psychological Sciences.

James Magnuson
Contact Information
Mailing AddressUnit 1020
Office LocationBousfield 119
Office HoursBy appointment