Arella Gussow

Graduate Student

B.A in Psychology and Linguistics – The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 2016
M.Sc in Cognitive Neuroscience of Language – Basque Center on Brain, Cognition and Language (BCBL), Spain, 2017


Research Interests

I am interested in what guides our choice of words and sentence structures during everyday language use. This includes what processing constraints affect the words we choose and the way we arrange them in a sentence; how such constraints are expressed in different languages; why different people are differently affected by them; and also how we reconstruct messages as comprehenders – translating a string of sounds into meaning. I am also interested in the relationship between language and other cognitive domains, most recently exploring shared mechanisms in the planning and production of linguistic utterances and non-linguistic motor actions.

Current Projects

One project with Maryellen MacDonald (and collaborators) investigates similarities between language production and motor actions. Specifically, we look at sequencing in the two domains: how people put sub-steps together in order, as part of a larger production plan. Using a Tongue-Twister task in the language domain, and a key-pressing task (“Finger Fumblers”) in the action domain, we compare error patterns in the production of structurally analogous sequences between the two domains.In another line of work with Maryellen MacDonald, I ask whether speakers take advantage of incremental language production – planning and producing individual parts of an utterance successively – when there is uncertainty about what they want to say. This could be a useful strategy during natural conversation, where people exchange responses very quickly, and often have to begin planning their next response in advance – before even knowing for certain what their interlocuter is going to ask or say. In this project we use picture stimuli to elicit sentence production; exploring whether people take advantage of incremental planning under uncertainty, how that shapes their choice of word order and sentence structure, and what benefit it provides.

Past Research

I previously worked with Nicola Molinaro and Effie Kapnoula at the Basque Center on Brain, Cognition, and Language (BCBL), investigating lexical prediction during spoken sentence comprehension. In earlier work at Ram Frost’s lab at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I studied individual differences in statistical learning and how they may predict success in second language acquisition.


Gussow, A. E., Kapnoula, E. C., & Molinaro, N. (2019). Any leftovers from a discarded prediction? Evidence from eye-movements during sentence comprehension. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 1-18.
Link to paper:

Comments are closed