Letitia Naigles


Psychological Sciences


Ph.D., 1988. University of Pennsylvania


UConn Child Language Lab; UConn K.I.D.S.

Research Interests

Language acquisition across languages and etiologies

Research Synopsis

How do young children acquire language? My research focuses on the interacting roles of linguistic input and linguistic/cognitive/social/neurological predispositions in children’s acquisition of word meanings, sentence structures, and discourse patterns. I consider both typically developing children and children who have been diagnosed with autism; I also consider how the processes of language acquisition might vary with the specific language being learned.



  • Developmental (2400)
  • Language Development (3470)
  • Lab in Developmental (3450W)


  • Language Development (5440)
  • Neurobiology of Language: Typical and Atypical Language and Cognitive Development (5445/COGS 5140)



Naigles, L.R. (Ed.)(2017) Innovative Investigations of Language in Autism Spectrum Disorder. NY: APA Books/Walter deGruyter.

Matsuo, A., Naigles, L.R., Wood, G., & Kita, S. (2016) Children’s use of morphosyntax and argument structure to infer the meaning of novel transitive and intransitive verbs. In T. Kageyama & W. Jacobsen (Eds.) Transitivity and Valency Alternations: Studies on Japanese and Beyond (pp. 341-356). De Grutyer: Mouton.

Jyotishi, M., Fein, D., & Naigles, L. (2017) Investigating the Grammatical and Pragmatic Origins of Wh-Questions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Frontiers in Cognitive Science. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00319

Wittke, K., Mastergeorge, A., Ozonoff, S., Rogers, S. & Naigles, L. (2017) Grammatical Impairment and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Exploring Language Phenotypes Beyond Standardized Testing. Frontiers in Language Sciences. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00532


Goodwin, A., Fein, D., & Naigles, L. (2015) The role of maternal input in the development of wh-question comprehension in autism and typical development. Journal of Child Language 42, 32-63.

Tek, S., Mesite, L., Fein, D., & Naigles, L.R. (2014) Longitudinal Analyses of Expressive Language Development Reveal Two Distinct Language Profiles among Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 44, 75-89.3. Naigles, L.R., Kelley, E., Troyb, E., & Fein, D. (2013) Residual difficulties with categorical induction in children with a history of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 43, 2048-2061. Â doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1754-y

Candan, A., Küntay, A., Yeh, Y., Cheung, H., Wagner, L., & Naigles, L. (2012) Age and language effects in children’s processing of word order. Cognitive Development 27, 205-221.

Naigles, L., and Terrazas, P. (1998) Motion verb generalizations in English and Spanish: Influences of language and syntax. Psychological Science 9, 363-369.

Naigles, L.R. (2002) Form is easy, meaning is hard: Resolving a paradox in early child language. Cognition 86, 157-199.

Naigles, L.R., Hoff, E. & Vear, D. (2009) Flexibility in early verb use: Evidence from a multiple-n diary study. Monographs for the Society for Research in Child Development, Vol. 74, No. 2.

Professional Activities

  • Cognitive Science Executive Committee
  • UConn KIDS
  • CT Institute for Brain & Cognitive Science
  • Former Associate Editor, Journal of Child Language
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science (2009)
  • Visiting Professor of Psychiatry, MIND Institute (2013)
  • Visiting Professor, Koç University, Turkey (2004-2005)
  • Research Funding from NIDCD, NIHCD, NIMH, NSF
Letitia Naigles
Contact Information
Mailing AddressUnit 1020
Office LocationBousfield 141
LinkUConn Child Language Lab