People

Lab Director

Kara Morgan-Short

Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Psychology
Director of the Cognition of Second Language Acquisition Laboratory‍

1706 University Hall
karams@uic.edu

Informed by the fields of linguistics, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Kara Morgan-Short’s research aims to elucidate the linguistic and cognitive processes underlying late-learned second language acquisition and use. Further, her research explores how these processes may be moderated by the effects or interactions of factors external to the learner, such as the context under which a second language is learned, and factors internal to the learner, such as learners’ level of proficiency or learners’ individual cognitive abilities (e.g., working memory, declarative/procedural memory, attention). These issues are examined using a set of complementary behavioral (e.g., accuracy on spoken language tasks) and electrophysiological (event-related potentials, ERPs) approaches.

Irene Finestrat-Martínez

Irene Finestrat-Martínez

Ph.D. Candidate

Hispanic Linguistics
Second Language Acquisition
ifines2@uic.edu

Irene is interested in examining the role of individual differences (IDs) in adult second language acquisition and how this connection is modulated by the training conditions under which the language is learned. Specifically, she is interested in the role played by learners’ mastery of their first language, both from the point of view of performance (using behavioral data) and language processing (ERPs). Irene graduated with honors from the University of Alicante (Spain) and she is currently pursuing a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics at UIC.

David Abugaber-Bowman

David Abugaber-Bowman

Ph.D. Candidate

Hispanic Linguistics
Second Language Acquisition
dabuga2@uic.edu

David is interested in how implicit/subconscious and explicit/conscious processes interact in second language learning, with a particular eye to how this can be inferred using analysis methods that are still relatively new in the field of L2 research (e.g., Multivariate Pattern Analysis for EEG and drift diffusion modeling and Weibull distribution modeling for reaction time data). Other interests include the role of frequency (i.e., how often words or grammatical constructions occur in a learner’s input) in second language acquisition, both in traditional second language learners and in “heritage speakers” from bicultural communities. Prior to coming to UIC, David studied linguistics as an undergrad at Princeton University and as a master’s student at the University of Cambridge.

Josh Buffington

Josh Buffington

Ph.D. Student

Cognitive Psychology
bffngtn2@uic.edu

Josh’s research interests include investigating the contributions of long-term memory systems to second language acquisition, as well as understanding the role that different types of instruction play in affecting the cognitive strategies that learners use to acquire a second language. In particular, he is interested in work that will clarify the contributions made by declarative and procedural memory in second language acquisition, as well as understanding how differences in the content of instruction affect outcomes in second language acquisition. Prior to coming to UIC, Josh completed an M.A. in linguistics at Cornell University, and a B.A. in English with minors in Psychology and Spanish at Texas A&M University.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Gayatri Chavan, Major: Philosophy, Minors: Linguistics and Biology
  • Anahi Gante (Postbac), Majors: Psychology & Sociology, Minor: Spanish
  • Sarah Hassan, Major: Integrated Health Studies-Concentration in Health Sciences, Minor: Psychology
  • Ana Hernandez (Postbac), Majors: Biology & Spanish, Minors: Chemistry & Psychology
  • Victoria Ogunniyi, Major: Neuroscience, Minor: Professional Writing
  • Kelly Ortiz, Majors: Linguistics & Psychology, Minor: Art
  • Elizabeth Sodimu, Major: Neuroscience, Minor: Professional Writing

CogSLA Alumni

  • John Escalante, M.A.

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  • Brianna Villegas, M.A.

  • Alicia Luque-Ferreras, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor, Spanish
    Director of Heritage Language Program
    Texas Tech University

    Website

  • Kate Brill-Schuetz, Ph.D.

    Digital Quantitative Analyst, John Crane

    ResearchGate

  • Bernard Issa, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics
    Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures
    University of Tennessee at Knoxville

    Website

    ResearchGate

  • Mandy Faretta-Stutenberg, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics
    Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures
    Northern Illinois University

    Website

    Academia.edu

    ResearchGate

  • Laura Bartlett, Ph.D.

    Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Lecturer of Spanish, University of Chicago

  • Sara Fernandez-Cuenca, Ph.D.

    M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago; Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Assistant Professor
    Wake Forest University

    Website

  • Janire Zalbidea, Ph.D.

    M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago; Ph.D., Georgetown University

    Assistant Professor
    Temple University

    Website