Elise Hopman

Former Graduate Student

Pronouns: they/them/theirs

B.Sc. in Mathematics – Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2012
B.Sc. in Physics – Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2012
M.Sc. in Cognitive Neuroscience – Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2015
M.S. in Psychology – University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, 2017
PhD in Psychology – University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, 2022

Graduation Update:

Dr. Hopman successfully defended their dissertation in May 2022. They are starting a job as a learning scientist at Duolingo after graduation. You can read their dissertation here.In case you are currently in academia and interested in potentially going into industry or working at Duolingo, Dr. Hopman’s job application materials* are below, feel free to learn from these & distribute them freely as is helpful:

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Response to open question on application form about interest in working at Duolingo
  • Job add (bad copy of website with job add into word; included for context)

*Email addresses, phone numbers & an out of date pronoun are redacted; otherwise these are the originals materials.

———————————————————————- old academic profile below———————————————————————————————-

 CV (updated May 2021)

How does human learning work, and can we make it more efficient? I investigate this question in the area of second language learning. Read more below about my various lines of research. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are interested in knowing more about any of these projects. Finally, I want to share a statement I and others in my department sent to our department leadership recently where we speak out against racism and call our department to action.

How do language production and comprehension differentially affect language learning?

This is the main question that I am investigating during my PhD here at UW Madison with Maryellen MacDonald. We hypothesize that due to the nature of language production, learning about a given regularity will be different than in situations where people mostly comprehend but are not pushed to produce language. Here’s a video of a talk I gave in November 2021 that covers both main journal publications in this line of research.


Hopman, E.W.M. & MacDonald, M.C. (2018). Production Practice During Language Learning Improves Comprehension. Psychological Science, 29 (6), 961-971https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618754486 
PDF (journal website, restricted access)|PDF (manuscript, open access)|OSF archive|
|radio interviews: WORT (30 min) & WPR (our 10 min portion start at 11:40)|press releases: UW-Madision & APS|accessible summaries: OASIS & kudos|

Rojas, C.E., Hopman, E.W.M., & MacDonald, M.C. (2020). How can you get better at learning a foreign language? Frontiers for Young Minds, 8 (42). https://doi.org/10.3389/frym.2020.00042

Keppenne, V., Hopman, E.W.M., & Jackson, C.N. (2021). Production training benefits comprehension of grammatical gender in L2 German. Applied Psycholinguistics. https://doi.org/10.1017/S014271642100014X

Hopman, E.W.M., Ludin, M., & MacDonald, M.C. (accepted). A balanced test of comprehension versus production practice using artificial language learning. Journal of Visualized Experiments. Note: video protocol delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions on campus.

Conference Presentations:

Keppenne, V., Hopman, E.W.M., & Jackson, C.N. (2019). Production training benefits comprehension of grammatical gender in L2 German. Talk presented at the 12th International Symposium of Bilingualism. Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Keppenne, V., Hopman, E.W.M., & Jackson, C.N. (2019). Production training benefits both comprehension and production of grammatical gender agreement in L2 German. 32nd annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence processing, Boulder, CO.

Hopman, E.W.M. & MacDonald, M.C. (2018). A little production practice provides a big boost in language learning. International Workshop on Language Production, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
|Abstract & Poster|

Hopman, E.W.M. & Zettersten, M. (2018). Immediate feedback is critical for learning from your own productions. Psycholinguistics in Flanders, Ghent University, Belgium.
|AbstractPosterExperiment Demo|

Hopman, E.W.M. & MacDonald, M.C. (2018). Language production practice improves comprehension performance on grammatical dependencies in early L2 learning. 2nd International Symposium on Bilingual and L2 Processing in Adults and Children, TU Braunschweig. Best student talk award.

Hopman, E.W.M. & MacDonald, M.C. (2017). Producing during Language Learning Affects Comprehension. 30th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence processing, Cambridge, MA.
|Video of conference talk|slides|abstract|

What makes some words harder to learn than others in a second language?

Although some factors have been identified robustly based on small scale experimental studies, many relevant factors are difficult to study in such experiments due to the amount of data necessary to test them. With Yiwen Wang, Bill Thompson, Joe Austerweil and Gary Lupyan, I am investigating this question in a large data set of users learning English as a second language through the Duolingo mobile app. In a regression analysis, we test several well-studied predictors of word learning accuracy like concreteness and cognate status. Furthermore, we investigate effects for both cross- linguistic semantic alignment and English semantic density, two novel predictors derived from large scale distributional models of lexical semantics. We also investigated several other psycholinguistically plausible word level predictors.

Refereed conference proceedings:

Hopman, E.W.M., Thompson, B., Austerweil, J.L., & Lupyan, G. (2018). Predictors of L2 word learning accuracy: A big data investigation. Proceedings of the 40th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Madison, WI.
|6-page paper|talk slides|OSF archive|


Hopman, E.W.M., Wang, Y., Thompson, B., Austerweil, J.L., & Lupyan, G. (2019). Predictors of L2 word learning accuracy: A big data investigation.Scaling Cognitive Science workshop, Princeton, NJ.

Do people fully understand information from accented speech?

Prior research on accented speech shows that listeners adapt to new accents fast, but also that there are differences in the way accented speech is processed. Teresa Turco won a Hilldale award to conduct a senior thesis to investigate comprehension of accented speech in classroom-style spoken explanations. We test native English speakers, in order to see if there is a difference in how they perform on questions about passages heard in Mandarin Chinese accented English versus American accented English. We also test native speakers of Mandarin Chinese who study here at UW-Madison. We ask if they do better on American accented English (the standard accent they hear in their classes) or on Mandarin Chinese accented English (which matches their own production of English).

Conference talk:

Turco, T.L., Hopman, E.W.M., & MacDonald, M.C. (2018). The effects of accented speech on knowledge Acquisition. Psycholinguistics in Flanders, Ghent University, Belgium.

Does fluency in a second language make you more creative?

In Joe Austerweil’s lab, I co-supervised V Lange’s senior thesis which investigates individual differences in creativity as related to semantic networks and bilingualism. Some previous research has shown evidence that bilinguals are more creative. There are several different theoretical accounts about creativity in bilinguals, ranging from semantic network based mechanisms to skepticism about the existence of a bilingual advantage. We examine existence as well as hypothesized semantic network difference based mechanisms for the relationship between bilingualism and creativity here by measuring creativity and fluency for monolinguals and bilinguals. The fluency measure allows us to analyze the structure of individuals’ semantic networks (average shortest path length, clustering coefficient, and modularity).


Lange, K.V., Hopman, E.W.M., Zemla, J.C., & Austerweil, J.L. (2020). Evidence against the bilingual advantage for creativity and the semantic network theory of creativity. Plos ONE, 15 (6), e0234928. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234928

|paper|OSF archive|

Conference presentations:

Lange, K., Hopman, E.W.M., Petit, E., Rao, A., Beckage, N., Zemla, J. & Austerweil, J.L. (2018). Possible mechanisms of bilingual advantage on creativity. 40th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Madison, WI
|abstract & poster|

Lange, K., Hopman, E.W.M., Petit, E., Rao, A., Beckage, N., Zemla, J. & Austerweil, J.L. (2018). Possible mechanisms of bilingual advantage on creativity. 7th annual Midwest Cognitive Science Conference, Bloomington, IN.

How do people learn multiple regularities?

I’ve investigated this question in several research projects while obtaining my master’s degree. During my honors research project (conducted at Indiana University Bloomington with Caitlin Fausey) I investigated how people learn about a visual regularity in the presence of a linguistic regularity. I found that only when the linguistic input was uninformative did people learn about the visual regularity. During my master’s project (conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics with Falk Huettig, Elisabeth Norcliffe and Caitlin Fausey) I investigated how people learn about a visual context regularity and a linguistic regularity at the same time, and I found that people are better at learning about linguistic regularities than visual regularities. Besides these projects of my own, I also worked for one year as a research assistant in the Magic Moments in Word Learning project (at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior with Atsuko Takashima, Iske Bakker and James McQueen). The study I worked on investigated the neural correlates of novel word learning in children before and after puberty, and was recently published .

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