School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences


Prof Holly Branigan

Photograph of Prof Holly Branigan
0131 651 3187
S13 (7GS)
Research Interests
language production; dialogue; language development; bilingualism

My main interests are in language production (especially syntactic processing) in both monolinguals and bilinguals: how do people represent the grammar of their first language or a second language, and how do they choose between alternative syntactic structures? I'm also interested in dialogue, including human-computer interaction, and how factors such as speakers' personality traits and their beliefs about their listeners affect their behaviour. More recently, I've begun to work on language processing in children: do children represent and process language, particularly syntax, in the same way as adults? I am always happy to hear from prospective PhD students who would be interested in working on any of these (or related) topics. If you are a parent interested in learning more about our child development research, you might want to check out the Wee Science website. 


Teaching: My teaching includes  the 1st year course on Psychology of Language, the 4th year Language Production course and the MSc Dialogue course. My student consultation hours are Wednesday 9-11, or feel free to email me to arrange a time.



Representative Publications

  1. Allen, M.L., Haywood, S., Rajendran, T., & Branigan, H.P. (2011). Evidence for syntactic alignment in children with autism. Developmental Science, 14, 540–548.
  2. Foucart, A., Branigan, H.P., & Bard, E.G. (2010). Determiner selection in Romance languages: Evidence from French. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 36, 1414–1421.
  3. Branigan, H.P., Pickering, M.J., Pearson, J. & McLean, J.F. (2010). Linguistic alignment between humans and computers. Journal of Pragmatics, 42, 2355–2368.
  4. Jones, M. W., Branigan, H. P., Hatzidaki, A., & Obregon, M. (2010). Is the 'naming' deficit in dyslexia a misnomer? Cognition, 116, 56-70.
  5. Branigan, H.P., Pickering, M.J, & Tanaka, M. (2008). Contributions of animacy to grammatical function assignment and word order during production. Lingua, 118, 172-189.
  6. Branigan, H.P., Pickering, M.J, McLean, J.F., & Cleland, A.A. (2007). Participant role and syntactic alignment in dialogue. Cognition, 104, 163-197.

Research grants/projects