Yi Ting Huang

Assistant Professor

Yi Ting Huang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Harvard University and trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Cognitive Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Huang’s research focuses on how young language learners acquire the ability to coordinate linguistic representations during real-time comprehension. She explores this question by using eye-tracking methods to examine how the moment-to-moment changes that occur during processing influence the year-to-year changes that emerge during development. She has applied this approach to examine a variety of topics including word recognition, application of grammatical knowledge, and the generation of pragmatic inferences. Other interests include the relationship between language and concepts, language comprehension and production, and language development and literacy.  She is currently a member of the Maryland Language Science Center and the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science.  

Areas of Interest:
  • Language acquisition
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Development of semantics-pragmatics interface
  • Emergent literacy
Degrees
  • Ph.D Psychology, Harvard University, 2009
  • MA Psychology, Harvard University, 2005
  • BA Psychology and Economics, Northwestern University, 2003

The study of language acquisition unites both common sense observations and truly counterintuitive puzzles.  On the one hand, it seems obvious that caregiver input impacts children’s development (e.g., quality of signal, amount of exposure). Yet, empirical evidence has also showcased examples of generalizations that go far beyond what is presented to the learner (e.g., fast mapping of words, acquisition of grammatical categories).  Critically, to understand why input matters for development, it is necessary to understand how it is used.  My fascination with these issues has inspired a research program that explores how the moment-to-moment changes in processing shape the year-to-year changes in development.  My research tackles this question using eye-tracking, a method that yields fine-grained measures of comprehension as it occurs.  Through this lens, I examine how patterns of processing vary with the computational demands of spoken utterances (e.g., accessibility, timing) and the cognitive resources of learners (e.g., age, hearing ability, experience, inhibitory control).  By isolating the precise challenges faced by learners, we can better understand the causes of variable outcomes, both typical and atypical.

Professional Editorial board, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Professional Editorial board, Semantics & Pragmatics
Campus Director, Language and Cognition Laboratory
Campus Co-Director, PhD program in Hearing and Speech Sciences
Current Students
  • Yi Ting Huang
0141A Lefrak Hall
Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences
Phone: (301) 405-4227
Email: ythuang1@umd.edu
Office Hours:
Tuesday/Thursday (10:45AM - 11:30AM), by appointment