Professor J Kathryn Bock

Section 1

Program Area: Cognitive

Professor Emerita of Psychology

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Contact Information:


  • cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, adult language use

Research Description

My work focuses on how people turn thoughts into speech. There are three questions behind much of the research. One is how the features of ideas affect language forms. A prospective graduate student might say either "The application took forever to fill out" or "It took forever to fill out the application." What determines which kind of sentence is used? A second question has to do with the cognitive processes that control how words are arranged. Speakers begin with scenes or ideas whose components may be present to the eye -- or the mind's eye -- all at once. But the words to communicate these mental pictures have to be spoken one at a time. If a mental picture is worth a thousand words, I ask: Which words? In what order? How does the speaker manage the flow of information? A third issue in my research involves what goes wrong when speakers make errors in selecting or arranging words. If you say "I have a room in my phone" when you mean "I have a phone in my room", what slipped? And why? The answers to these questions draw on theories about language and about cognitive processes, and emerge from new experimental techniques for examining language production.


  • Ph.D. from the University of Illinois



  • Psychology 425 Psychology of Language


Journal Articles

  • Bock, J. Kathryn. "'How much correction of syntactic errors are there, anyway?' ." Language & Linguistics Compass 5 (2011): 322-335.
  • Bock, J. Kathryn. "Editorial." Journal of Memory and Language 58 (2008): 1-2.
  • Eberhard, Kathleen M., John C. Cutting, and J. Kathryn Bock. "Making syntax of sense: Number agreement in sentence production." Psychological Review 112 (2005): 531-559.
  • Bock, J. Kathryn, and Zenzi M. Griffin. "The persistence of structural priming: Transient activation or implicit learning?." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 129 (2000):
  • Griffin, Zenzi M., and J. Kathryn Bock. "What the eyes say about speaking." Psychological Science 11 (2000): 274-279.
  • Bock, J. Kathryn, and Carol A. Miller. "Broken agreement." Cognitive Psychology 23 (1991): 45-93.
  • Bock, J. Kathryn. "Structure in language: Creating form in talk." American Psychologist 45 (1990): 1221-1236.
  • Bock, J. Kathryn. "Syntactic persistence in language production." Cognitive Psychology 18 (1986): 355-387.
  • Bock, J. Kathryn. "Toward a cognitive psychology of syntax: Information processing contributions to sentence formulation." Psychological Review 89 (1982): 1-47.
Section 2


Facilities Information

Building Remodeling Projects

Click on the title to check out these pictures from the classroom remodeling project in the basement. A second project to replace the elevators will begin in September. Beginning with the freight elevator, each elevator will be out of service for three months. To get quickly from one floor to another, and improve your fitness, we will encourage the use of the stairs. The repainting of the northeast stairwell has been completed, and the painter is starting on the southwest stairwell.