Vicky Lai

Vicky Lai's picture
Real name: 
Assistant Professor, Cognition/Neural Systems
Assistant Professor of the Cognitive Science Program
Director, Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Laboratory
(520) 621-3443
Psychology 509
Research Interests: 


Dr. Lai uses behavioral and neuroscience (brainwave activities, neural imaging) methods to study meaning and language in context. Specifically, there are three lines of research: (1) Figurative language: How do people process metaphorical language? What is the role of metaphor in embodied view of language? What are the social-affective functions of metaphors? (2) Emotion and language: How is emotion encoded in language? How do language activities such as reading give rise to emotion? How do readers’ mood states influence meaning making in language? (3) Language and thought in bilinguals: Do people who speak two languages that have conflicting semantic constructs perceive and reason about the world differently? 

Selected Publications: 

Lai, V. T. & Desai, R. H. (2016). The Grounding of Temporal Metaphors. Cortex, 76, 43-45.

Coulson, S., & Lai, V. T. (2016). Editorial: The Metaphorical Brain. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 699.  

Lai, V. T. & Coulson, S. (2016). Frontiers Research Topics: The Metaphorical Brain.

Desai, R. H. Choi, W. Lai, V. T., & Henderson, J. M. (2016). Towards Semantics in the Wild: Activation to Manipulable Nouns in Naturalistic Reading. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(14): 4050-4055.

Lai, V. T. & Huettig, F. (2016). When Prediction is Fulfilled: Insight from Emotion Processing. Neuropsychologia, 85,110-117.

Samur, D., Lai, V. T., Hagoort, P., & Willems, R. (2015). Emotional Context Modulates Embodied Metaphor Comprehension. Neuropsychologia, 78, 108-114.

Lai, V. T., van Dam, W., Conant, L. L., Binder, J. R., & Desai, R. H. (2015). Familiarity Differentially Affects Right Hemisphere Contributions to Processing Metaphors and Literals. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 44.

Lai, V. T., Willems, R. M., & Hagoort, P. (2015). Feel between the Lines: Implied Emotion in Sentence Comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(8), 1528–1541.

Lai, V. T., & Narasimhan, B. (2015). Verb Representation and Thinking-for-Speaking Effects in Spanish–English Bilinguals. In R. G. de Almeida & C. Manouilidou (Eds.), Cognitive Science Perspectives on Verb Representation and Processing (pp. 235–256). Springer International Publishing.

Lai, V. T., Rodriguez, G. G., & Narasimhan, B. (2014). Thinking-for-speaking in Early and Late Bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(01), 139–152.

Lai, V. T. & Curran, T. (2013). ERP Evidence for Conceptual Mappings and Comparison Processes during the Comprehension of Conventional and Novel Metaphors. Brain and Language, 127, 484–496.

Lai, V. T., & Boroditsky, L. (2013). The Immediate and Chronic Influence of Spatio-temporal Metaphors on the Mental Representations of Time in English, Mandarin, and Mandarin-English speakers. Frontiers in Cultural Psychology, 4, 142.

Lai, V. T., Hagoort, P., & Casasanto D. (2012). Affective Primacy vs. Cognitive Primacy: Dissolving the Debate. Frontiers in Cognitive Science. 3, 243.

Kim, A. & Lai  V. T. (2012). Rapid Interactions between Lexical Semantic and Word Form Analysis during Word Recognition in Context: Evidence from ERPs. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24(5), 1104–1112.

Lai, V. T., Hagoort, P., & Casasanto, D. (2011). Affective and Non-Affective Meaning in Words and Pictures. In L. Carlson, C. Holscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, pp. 390-395. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Chen, A. & Lai  V. T. (2011). Comb or Coat: the Role of Intonation in Online Reference Resolution in a Second Language. In: Zonneveld, W., Quené, H., Heeren, W. (Eds.), Sound and Sounds, Utrecht: UiL OTS, pp. 57-68.

Munro, R., Bethard, S., Kuperman, V., Lai  V. T., Melnick, R., Potts, C., Schnoebelen, T., & Tily, H. (2010). Crowdsourcing and Language Studies: The New Generation of Linguistic Data. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Creating Speech and Language Data With Amazon's Mechanical Turk, North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL), pp. 122-130.

Bethard, S., Lai  V. T., & Martin, J. (2009). Topic Model Analysis of Metaphor Frequency for Psycholinguistic Stimuli. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Approaches to Linguistic Creativity, North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL), pp. 9-16.

Lai, V. T., Curran, T., & Menn, L. (2009). Comprehending Conventional and Novel Metaphors: An ERP study. Brain Research, 1284, 145-155.

Courses Taught: 

PSYC/LING/SLAT 542 Topics in Psycholinguistics (Fall 2016)

PSY 496F Cognitive Psychology (Spring 2017)

Research Program: