Rebecca Gomez

Professor, Cognition/Neural Systems Director, Child Cognition Lab

Rebecca Gomez

Professor, Cognition/Neural Systems Director, Child Cognition Lab

Research Interests: 

  • Learning and memory development in infants and young children.
  • Language development in infants and young children.
  • The role of sleep in memory formation in infants and young children.

Updated: 07/05/22

Selected Publications: 

Refereed journal articles (published or accepted in final form)

Note on authorship: Starting with papers published in 2013, my roles as first or last author denote an anchor role on the paper.

  • Werchan, D., Kim, J-S, Gómez, R. L. (2020). A Daytime Nap Combined with Nighttime Sleep Promotes Learning in Toddlers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
  • Frost, R. L. A., Dunn, K., Christiansen, M. H., Gómez, R. L., & Monaghan, P. (2020). Exploring the “anchor word” effect in infants: Segmentation and categorisation of speech with and without high frequency words. PLOS.
  • Simon, K. C., Nadel, L., & Gómez, R. L. (2020). Parameters of memory reconsolidation: Learning mode influences likelihood of memory modification. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, section Learning and Memory.
  • Simon, K. C., Gómez, R. L., & Nadel, L. (2020). Sleep’s role in memory reconsolidation. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.
  • Bryant, N., Nadel, L., Gómez, R. L. (2020). Associations between sleep and episodic memory updating. Hippocampus.
  • Spanò, G., Gómez, R. L., Demara, B. I., Alt, M., Cowen, S. L., & Edgin, J. O. (2018). REM sleep in naps differentially relates to memory consolidation in typical preschoolers and children with Down syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences115(46), 11844-11849.
  • Stare, C. J., Gruber, M. J., Nadel, L., Ranganath, C., Gómez, R. L. (2018). Curiosity-driven memory enhancement persists over time but does not benefit from post-learning sleep. Cognitive Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1080/17588928.2018.1513399 
  • Gonzales, K., Gerken, LA & Gómez, R. L. (2018). How who is talking matters as much as what they say to infant language learners. Cognitive Psychology, 206, 1-20.
  • Simon, K., Gómez, R. L., Nadel, L. (2018). Losing memories during sleep after targeted memory reactivation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
  • Plante, E., & Gómez, R. L. (2018). Learning without trying: The clinical relevance of statistical learning. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 710-722.
  • Simon, K., Werchan, D., Goldstein, M., Sweeney, L., Nadel, L., Bootzin, R. R., & Gómez, R. L., (2017).  Sleep and statistical language learning: Insights into cortical development and retention in very young infants. Brain and Language, 167, 3-12.
  • Simon, K., Gómez, R.L., Nadel, L., Scalfe, P. (2017). Brain correlates of memory reconsolidation: A role for the TPJ. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
  • Sandoval, M., LeClerc, J., & Gómez, R. L. (2017). Words to sleep on: Naps facilitate verb generalization in habitually and nonhabitually napping preschoolers. Child Development. doi:10.1111/cdev.12723.
  • Gómez, R. L. (2017). Do infants retain the statistics of a statistical learning experience? Insights from a developmental cognitive neuroscience perspective. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B. 372: 20160054.
  • Gómez, R.L. & Edgin, J.O. (2016). The extended trajectory of hippocampal development: implications for early memory development and disorder. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, pp. 57-69. DOI information: 10.1016/j.dcn.2015.08.009
  • Gordon, K.R., McGregor, K.K., Waldier, B., Curran, M., Gómez, R.L., Samuelson, L.K. (2016). Preschool Children’s Memory for Word Forms Remains Stable Over Several Days, but Gradually Decreases after Six Months. Frontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences, 7, Article 1439.
  • Sandoval, M., & Gómez, R. L. (2016). Overriding the metrical bias with lexical information: English-learning 7.5-month-olds use Mommy to segment iambic words. Language Learning & Development, 12, 398-412.
  • Bryant, N.B., & Gómez, R.L. (2015). The Teen Sleep Epidemic: What can be done? Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 1, 116-125.
  • Gómez, R.L. & Edgin, J.O. (2015). Sleep as a window into early neural development: Shifts in sleep-dependent memory formation across early childhood. Child Development Perspectives, 9, 183-189.
  • Gonzales, K., Gerken, LA & Gómez, R. L. (2015). Does hearing two dialects at different times help infants learn dialect-specific rules? Cognition, 140, 60-71.
  • Plante, E., Patterson, D., Gómez, R., Almryde, K., Asbjørnsen (2015). The nature of the language input affects brain activation during learning from a natural language. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 17-34.
  • Werchan, D. M., & Gómez, R. L. (2014). Wakefulness (Not Sleep) Promotes Generalization of Word Learning in 2.5-Year-Old Children. Child Development, 85, 429-436.
  • Dongaonkar, B., Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., & Nadel, L. (2013). Effects of Psychosocial Stress on Episodic Memory Updating. Psychopharmacology.
  • Sandoval, M., & Gómez, R. L. (2013). Learning of nonadjacent dependencies in natural and artificial languages. Wires Cognitive Science.
  • Torkildsen, J. V. K., Dailey, N. S., Aguilar, J. M., Gómez, R. L., Plante, E. (2013). Exemplar variability facilitates rapid learning of an otherwise unlearnable grammar. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 618-629.

2013 Research Paper Award from the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research.

  • Werchan, D. M., & Gómez, R. L. (2013). An interaction between reinforcement learning and sleep to facilitate transitive inference. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 100, 70-76.
  • Lany, J. A., Gómez, R. L. (2012). Probabilistically cued patterns trump perfect cues in statistical language acquisition. Language Learning and Development9, 66-87.
  • Nadel, L., Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., & Newman-Smith. K. (2012).  Memory formation, consolidation and transformation. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 1640-1645.
  • Gómez, R. L., Newman-Smith, K. C., Breslin, J. H., & Bootzin, R. R. (2011).  Sleep, memory, and learning in children.  In B. Stickgold (Ed.) Learning, memory & sleep.  Sleep Medicine Clinics, 6, 45-57.
  • Hupbach, A., Gómez, R. L., & Nadel, L. (2011). Episodic memory updating: the role of context familiarity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 787-797.
  • Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., Bootzin, R., & Nadel, L. (2009).  Nap-dependent learning in infants. Developmental Science12, 1007-1012.1
  • Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., & Nadel, L. (2009). Episodic Memory Reconsolidation: Updating or Source Confusion? Memory, 17, 502-510.
  • Lany, J. A., Gómez, R. L. (2008). Twelve-Month-Olds Benefit from Prior Experience in Statistical Learning. Psychological Science, 19, 1247-1252.
  • Hupbach, A., Hardt, O., Gómez, R., Nadel, L. (2008). The dynamics of memory: Context-dependent updating.  Learning & Memory, 15, 574-579.
  • Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., Hardt, O., & Nadel, L. (2007). Reconsolidation of episodic memories:  A subtle reminder triggers integration of new information.  Learning & Memory, 14, 47-53.
  • Lany, J. A., Gómez, R. L., & Gerken, L.A. (2007).  The role of prior experience in language acquisition.  Cognitive Science, 31, 481-508.
  • Gómez, R. L., Bootzin, R., & Nadel, L. (2006).  Naps promote abstraction in language learning infants. Psychological Science, 17, 670-674.
  • Grunow, H., *Spaulding, T. J., Gómez, R. L. & Plante, E. (2006).  The effects of variation on learning word order rules by adults with and without language-based learning disabilities. Journal of Communication Disorders, 39, 158-170PMID: 16376369
  • Gómez, R. L. & Maye, J.  (2005).  The developmental trajectory of nonadjacent dependency learning. Infancy, 7, 183-206.
  • Gómez, R. L. & †LaKusta, L. (2004).  A first step in form-based category abstraction by 12-month-old infants. Developmental Science, 7, 567-580.
  • Gómez, R. L. (2002).  Variability and detection of invariant structure.  Psychological Science, 13, 431-436.
  • Plante, E., Gómez, R., & Gerken, L. A. (2002).  Sensitivity to word order cues by normal and language/learning disabled adults.  Journal of Communication Disorders, 35, 453-462.
  • Gómez, R. L., Gerken, L., & Schvaneveldt, R. W.  (2000). The basis of transfer in artificial grammar learning.  Memory & Cognition, (28) 253-263.
  • Gómez, R. L., & Gerken, L. A. (2000).  Infant artificial language learning and language acquisition.  Trends in Cognitive Sciences (4,) 178-186.
  • Thompson, L. A., Gómez, R. L., Schvaneveldt, R. W. (2000).  The salience of temporal cues in the developing structure of event knowledge.  American Journal of Psychology, 113, 591-619.
  • Gómez, R. L. & Gerken, L. A.  (1999).  Artificial grammar learning by one-year-olds leads to specific and abstract knowledge.  Cognition, 70, 109-135.
  • Schvaneveldt, R. W. & Gómez, R. L.  (1998). Attention and probabilistic sequence learning. Psychological Research, 61, 175-190.
  • Schvaneveldt, R. W., Reid, G. B, Gómez, R. L., & Rice, S. (1998).  Modeling mental workload.  Cognitive Technology, 3, 19-31.
  • Gómez, R. L. (1997).  Transfer and complexity in artificial grammar learning.  Cognitive Psychology, 33, 154-207.
  • Gómez, R. L., Hadfield, O. D., & Housner, L. D. (1996). Conceptual maps and simulated teaching episodes as indicators of competence in teaching elementary mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(3), 572.
  • Gómez, R., Schvaneveldt, R., & Staudenmayer, H. (1996).  Assessing beliefs about environmental illness/multiple chemical sensitivity.  Journal of Health Psychology, 1(1), 107-123.
  • Gómez, R. L. & Schvaneveldt, R. W. (1994).  What is learned from artificial grammars?  Transfer tests of simple associative knowledge.  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20(2), 396-410.
  • Housner, L. D., Gómez, R. L., & Griffey, D. C. (1993). Pedagogical knowledge structures in prospective teachers: Relationships to performance in a teaching methodology course. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 64(2), 167-177.
  • Housner, L. D., Gómez, R. L., & Griffey, D. C. (1993). A pathfinder analysis of pedagogical knowledge structures: A follow-up investigation. Research quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 64(3), 291-299.

Chapters in scholarly books

  • Gómez, R.L. (2020). Learning in Infancy. In: Benson, J.B. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development, 2nd edition. vol. 2, Elsevier, pp. 249 - 259.
  • Esterline, Katherine & Gómez, R. L., & (in press). Sleep in infancy and early childhood. In J. Benson & S. Johnson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development. Biological: Brain and Physical/Motor, pp. xx-xx.  Oxford, UK: Elsevier Press.
  • Gómez, R. L., & Esterline, Katherine (2019). A role for sleep in understanding language acquisition. In J. Horst & J. von Koss Torkildsen (Eds.), International Handbook on Language Development.
  • Sweeney, L. & Gómez, R. L. (2018). Statistical learning. In S. Rueschmeyer & G. Gaskell (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics.
  • Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., & Nadel, L. (2015). Memory Reconsolidation. In D. R. Addis, M. Barense, & A. Duarte (Eds.), The Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Memory. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 244-264.
  • Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., & Nadel. L. (2013). Episodic memory reconsolidation: an update. In C. Alberini (Ed.), Memory Reconsolidation (pp. 233-246). Elsevier.
  • Nadel, L., Hupbach, A., Gómez, R., Newman-Smith, K. (2012). Memory Formation, Consolidation and Transformation, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 1640-1645.
  • Sandoval, M., Gonzales, K., & Gómez, R. L. (2012). The road to word class acquisition is paved with statistical and sound cues.  In P. Rebuschat & J. Williams (Eds.) Statistical Learning and Language Acquisition, pp. 145-170. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter Press.
  • Gómez, R. L. (2011).  Memory, sleep and generalization in language acquisition.  In I. Arnon & E. Clark (Eds.) Experience, Variation, and Generalization: Learning a First Language (Trends in Language Acquisition Research), pp. 261-276. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
  • Lany, J. A., & Gómez, R. L. (2010). Prior experience shapes abstraction and generalization in language acquisition. In M. Banich & D. Caccamise (Eds.), Optimizing Generalization of Knowledge: Multidiscipinary Perspectives, pp. 113-134. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Gerken, L. A., Wilson, R., Gómez, R., & Nurmsoo, E. (2009). The relation between linguistic analogies and lexical categories. In J. P. Blevins & J. Blevins (Eds.), Analogy in Grammar: Form and Acquisition, pp. 101-117. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Gómez, R. L. (2009).  Learning.  In J. Benson & M. Haith (Eds.), Language, Memory, and Cognition in Infancy and Early Childhood, pp. 290-301.  Oxford, UK: Elsevier Press
  • Gómez, R. L. (2009). Processing constraints on learning. In S. P. Johnson (Ed.), Neoconstructivism: The new science of cognitive development, pp. 195-212. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Gómez, R. L. (2008).  Learning.  In M. Haith & J. Benson (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Infant & Early Childhood Development. San Diego: Academic Press, Vol. 2, pp. 213-224.
  • Nadel, L., Hupbach, A., Hardt, O., & Gómez, R. (2008).  Episodic memory: Reconsolidation.  In E. Dere, J. P. Huston, A. Easton, & L. Nadel, (Eds). Handbook of Episodic Memory Research, pp. 43-56. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Press.
  • Gómez, R. L. (2007).  Statistical learning in infant language development. In M. Gareth Gaskell (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 601-616.
  • Gómez, R. L. (2006).  Dynamically guided learning.  In M. Johnson & Y. Munakata (Eds.), Attention & Performance XXI: Processes of change in brain and cognitive development, pp. 87-110, Oxford University Press.
  • Gómez, R. L. & Gerken, L. A. (2001).  Artificial language learning as a means for investigating language  acquisition.  In M. Tomasello & E. Bates (Eds.)  Essential Readings in Language Development.  Oxford/New York: Basil Blackwell. 


1 At the time I published this paper I was still following authorship conventions for psychology rather than neuroscience. I am the anchor author on this paper.


Courses Taught: 

  • PSY 240 - Introduction to Child Development (2018)
  • PSY 340 - Introduction to Cognitive Development (2019)
  • PSY 596F - Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (2017)

Updated: 07/12/22


  • B.A. Philosophy, New Mexico State University (1985)
  • M.A. Experimental Psychology, New Mexico State University (1989)
  • Ph.D. Experimental Psychology, New Mexico State University (1995)
Faculty Core Faculty Cognition & Neural Systems
Gomez Headshot

Psychology 442 (Office)
Psychology 429 (Lab)