Contact Information

Department of Psychology
Woodbury University
7500 Glenoaks Blvd
Burbank, CA 91504

Office Phone: (818) 394-3346
Fax: (818) 394-3305


Robert Thornton

Background and Research Interests

My primary research interests are in psycholinguistics and cognitive development; specifically: (1) sentence processing, (2) grammatical agreement processes, (3) cognitive aging, (4) language acquisition, and (5) compositional semantic processes. See my research statement for more details.

Click here to view my curriculum vitae. If you're a latex user, you can copy my bibtex file, which has over 2,700 cognitive science references.

Recent Courses

LGCS 11, Introduction to Cognitive Science
LGCS 121, Psycholinguistics
LGCS 123, Acquisition of Language
LGCS 185C, Reading and Literacy
LGCS 185C, Topics in Cognitive Science: Cognitive Development
LGCS 185L, Topics in Psycholinguistics: Language Production

Grant Support

2005-2011 - National Institute of Aging Career Development Award, "On-line sentence processing in older and younger adults", NIA K01 AG025195, $560,075 direct costs.

Representative Publications

Thornton, R., MacDonald, M. C., & Gil, M. (1999). Pragmatic constraint on the interpretation of complex noun phrases in Spanish and English. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25, 1347-1365. [pdf]

Thornton, R., & MacDonald, M. C. (2003). Plausibility and grammatical agreement. Journal of Memory and Language, 48, 740-759. [pdf]

Thornton, R., & Light, L.L. (2006). Language comprehension and production in normal aging. In J.E. Birren & K.W. Schaie (Eds.) Handbook of the Psychology of Aging (6th ed.) (pp. 261-287). San Diego, CA: Elsevier. [pdf]

MacDonald, M. C., and Thornton, R. (2009). When language comprehension reflects production constraints: Resolving ambiguities with the help of past experience. Memory & Cognition, 37, 1177-1186. [pdf]

Haskell, T.R., Thornton, R., & MacDonald, M.C. (2010). Experience and grammatical agreement: Statistical learning shapes number agreement production. Cognition, 114, 151-164. [pdf]

Selected Recent Conference Presentations

Thornton, R., Skovbroten, K. A., & Creech, N. (April, 2006) Does grammatical processing change in normal aging? Poster presented at the Cognitive Aging Conference, Atlanta, GA. [pdf version of the handout]

Thornton, R., & Bye, J. (March, 2008). Syntactic category ambiguity and grammatical agreement. Poster presented at the Twenty-First Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Chapel Hill, NC. [pdf version of the handout]

Thornton, R., Klein, N., Llewellyn, E., & Hackl, M. (September, 2008). Integrating the spatial semantics of verbs and prepositions during sentence processing. Poster presented at the Fourteenth Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP), Cambridge, UK. [pdf version of the handout]

Thornton, R. (October, 2009). Older adults' more effective use of context: Evidence from modification ambiguities. Poster presented at Aging and Speech Communication: Third International and Interdisciplinary Research Conference, Bloomington, IN. [ppt version of the handout]

R. Thornton --Last modified Fri Sep 4 11:00:41 PDT 2009