Megan Zirnstein

Megan Zirnstein
Pomona College · Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Ph.D.

About

16
Publications
7,803
Reads
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208
Citations
Introduction
Megan Zirnstein is a cognitive neuroscientist in the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College. She completed her PhD work at the University of California, Davis, and her post doctoral work at Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Riverside. Her research has focused on the reading comprehension and executive function performance of monolinguals and bilinguals across the lifespan. Her work utilizes multiple techniques, including behavior, eye tracking, EEG, and ECG, to explore the relationship between language processing, cognitive ability, and bilingual experience.
Additional affiliations
July 2019 - present
Pomona College
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
July 2017 - June 2019
University of California, Riverside
Position
  • Researcher
July 2016 - June 2017
University of California, Riverside
Position
  • Fellow
Education
September 2009 - September 2012
University of California, Davis
Field of study
  • Psychology
September 2007 - September 2009
University of California, Davis
Field of study
  • Psychology
August 2002 - May 2007
The University of Memphis
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (16)
Article
Full-text available
Although variation in the ways individuals process language has long been a topic of interest and discussion in the psycholinguistic literature, only recently have studies of bilingualism and its cognitive consequences begun to reveal the fundamental dynamics between language and cognition. We argue that the active use of two languages provides a l...
Chapter
Full-text available
The use of two languages is common, but the circumstances that give rise to bilingualism are diverse. Recent discussions about the consequences of bilingualism have focused on how variation in language experience and use may differentially shape the engagement of cognitive control. In this paper, we illustrate the role of language variation in the...
Chapter
The most provocative finding about bilingualism in the last two decades is that both languages are active even when bilinguals intend to use one language alone. When bilinguals hear, read, or speak words in one language, form, or translation, relatives of those words in the other language become momentarily available. The way bilingual speakers neg...
Article
Full-text available
Auditory word recognition in the non-dominant language has been suggested to break down under noisy conditions due, in part, to the difficulty of deriving a benefit from contextually constraining information. However, previous studies examining the effects of sentence constraints on word recognition in noise have conflated multiple psycholinguistic...
Chapter
As members of the next generation of leaders, we aim to promote an ethical, inclusive, humanistic, and curiosity-driven code of conduct within cognitive neuroscience. We critically examine the current state of the field and discuss issues that remain to be addressed. In particular, we highlight the need for cultural change, including a greater focu...
Article
Full-text available
When deaf bilinguals are asked to make semantic similarity judgments of two written words, their responses are influenced by the sublexical relationship of the signed language translations of the target words. This study investigated whether the observed effects of American Sign Language (ASL) activation on English print depend on (a) an overlap in...
Article
Full-text available
Aims Previous research has indicated that young adults form predictions for the meaning of upcoming words when contexts are highly constrained. This can lead to processing benefits when expectations are met, but also costs, as indicated by a late, frontally distributed and positive event-related potential (ERP), when an unexpected word is encounter...
Article
Full-text available
Three experiments investigated factors contributing to syntactic priming during on-line comprehension. In all of the experiments, a prime sentence containing a reduced relative clause was presented prior to a target sentence that contained the same structure. Previous studies have shown that people respond more quickly when a syntactically related...
Article
Full-text available
Three syntactic-priming experiments investigated the effect of structurally similar or dissimilar prime sentences on the processing of target sentences, using eye tracking (Experiment 1) and event-related potentials (ERPs) (Experiments 2 and 3) All three experiments tested readers' response to sentences containing a temporary syntactic ambiguity. T...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the extent to which prior knowledge about nutrition moderates age differences in remembering newly learned nutrition information. Younger and older adults with varying levels of knowledge read an article on fats and cholesterol and then completed a memory task. Participants responded to statements that were-or were not-presented in the...
Article
Full-text available
In two self-paced reading experiments, we investigated the hypothesis that information moves backward in time to influence prior behaviors (Bem Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100:407-425, 2011a). In two of Bem's experiments, words were presented after target pictures in a pleasantness judgment task. In a condition in which the words w...
Article
Full-text available
Theories of eye-movement control in reading should ultimately describe how differences in knowledge and cognitive abilities affect reading and comprehension. Current mathematical models of eye-movement control do not yet incorporate individual differences as a source of variation in reading, although developmental and group-difference effects have...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many eye tracking studies in psycholinguistics have investigated reading processes at sentential and intersentential levels. Relatively few have investigated what participants' eyes do during common psycholinguistic scenarios like face-to-face interactions. We will give an overview of four eye tracking studies that investigated aspects of multimoda...

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