Kiel Christianson



  • 2125 Beckman Institute
  • 405 North Mathews Avenue
  • Urbana, Illinois 61801


Kiel Christianson received a Ph.D. in linguistics and cognitive science from Michigan State University in 2002. From 2002 to 2004, he was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has been an assistant professor in the Departments of Educational Psychology and Psychology since 2004.

Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a member of the founding faculty at the University of Aizu, in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan, where he taught and conducted research for four years.

His fields of research center on psycholinguistics and reading, including syntactic parsing, visual word recognition, language production, shallow (or "good enough") processing in language comprehension, and bilingual language processing. Other areas of interest include second language acquisition and the integration of linguistic and non-linguistic information.


NSF CAREER Award; Arnold O. Beckman Research Award; UIUC Campus Research Board; Fulbright fellow (1988, 2000).


Kiel Christianson's Educational Psychology Psycholinguistics Lab is located wholly within the Beckman Institute. At present, he and his graduate research assistants are conducting experiments in sentence comprehension and production, syntactic reanalysis of garden-path sentences, and visual word recognition in Korean. Efforts are underway to begin projects using eye-tracking methodologies to investigate the processing of advertisements.


  • 2016
    • Christianson, K., When Language Comprehension Goes Wrong for the Right Reasons: Good-Enough, Underspecified, or Shallow Language Processing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 2016, 69, (5), 817-828.
    • Den Ouden, D. B.; Dickey, M. W.; Anderson, C.; Christianson, K., Neural Correlates of Early-Closure Garden-Path Processing: Effects of Prosody and Plausibility. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 2016, 69, (5), 926-949.
    • Ferreira, F.; Christianson, K., Is Now-or-Never Language Processing Good Enough? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2016, 39, 72.
    • Huang, Z.; Li, Q.; Christianson, K., Visual Attention toward Tourism Photographs with Text: An Eye-Tracking Study. Tourism Management 2016, 54, 243-258.
    • Zhou, P. Y.; Christianson, K., I "Hear" What You're "Saying": Auditory Perceptual Simulation, Reading Speed, and Reading Comprehension. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 2016, 69, (5), 972-995.
  • 2015
    • Kim, S-A.; Christianson, K.; Packard, J., Working memory in L2 character processing: The case of learning to read Chinese. In W. Zhisheng, M. Mota, & A. McNeill (Eds.), Working Memory in Second Language Acquisition and Processing: Theory, Research and Practice, 2015, pp. 85-104. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

    • Luke, S. G.; Christianson, K., Predicting Inflectional Morphology from Context. Language Cognition and Neuroscience 2015, 30, (6), 735-748, DOI:10.1080/23273798.2015.1009918.

    • Hussey, E. K.; Ward, N.; Christianson, K.; Kramer, A. F., Language and memory improvements following tDCS of executive-control brain regions. PLOS One. In press.

    • Hussey, E. K.; Ward, N.; Christianson, K.; Kramer, A. F., Language and Memory Improvements Following TDCS of Left Lateral Prefrontal Cortex. PLOS One 2015, 10, (11).
    • Lim, J.-H.; Christianson, K., L2 Sensitivity to Agreement Errors: Evidence from Eye Movements During Comprehension and Translation. Applied Psycholinguistics 2015, 36, 1283-1315.
  • 2014
    • Payne, B. R.; Grison, S.; Gao, X. F.; Christianson, K.; Morrow, D. G.; Stine-Morrow, E. A. L., Aging and Individual Differences in Binding During Sentence Understanding: Evidence from Temporary and Global Syntactic Attachment Ambiguities. Cognition 2014, 130, (2), 157-173, DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.10.005.

    • Stoops, A.; Luke, S. G.; Christianson, K., Animacy Information Outweighs Morphological Cues in Russian. Language, Cognition, & Neuroscience 2014, 29, 584-604.

  • 2013
    • Kim, J. H.; Christianson, K., Sentence Complexity and Working Memory Effects in Ambiguity Resolution. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 2013, 42, (5), 393-411, DOI: 10.1007/s10936-012-9224-4.

    • Lim, J. H.; Christianson, K., Integrating Meaning and Structure in L1-L2 and L2-L1 Translations. Second Language Research 2013, 29, (3), 233-256, DOI: 10.1177/0267658312462019.

    • Lim, J. H.; Christianson, K., Second Language Sentence Processing in Reading for Comprehension and Translation. Bilingualism-Language and Cognition 2013, 16, (3), 518-537, DOI: 10.1017/s1366728912000351.

    • Luke, S. G.; Christianson, K., Spam: A Combined Self-Paced Reading and Masked-Priming Paradigm. Behavior Research Methods 2013, 45, 143-150.

    • Luke, S. G.; Christianson, K., The Influence of Frequency across the Time Course of Morphological Processing: Evidence from the Transposed-Letter Effect. Journal of Cognitive Psychology 2013, 25, (7), 781-799, DOI: 10.1080/20445911.2013.832682.

    • Slattery, T. J.; Sturt, P.; Christianson, K.; Yoshida, M.; Ferreira, F., Lingering Misinterpretations of Garden Path Sentences Arise from Competing Syntactic Representations. Journal of Memory and Language 2013, 69, (2), 104-120, DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2013.04.001.

    • Stites, M. C.; Luke, S. G.; Christianson, K., The Psychologist Said Quickly, "Dialogue Descriptions Modulate Reading Speed!". Memory & Cognition 2013, 41, (1), 137-151.

  • 2012
    •  Luke, S. G.; Christianson, K., Semantic Predictability Eliminates the Transposed-Letter Effect. Memory & Cognition 2012, 40, (4), 628-641.

    • Christianson, K.; Mestre, J. P.; Luke, S. G., Practice Makes (Nearly) Perfect: Solving 'Students-and-Professors'-Type Algebra Word Problems. Applied Cognitive Psychology 2012, 26, (5), 810-822.

    • Shin, J. A.; Christianson, K., Structural Priming and Second Language Learning. Language Learning 2012, 62, (3), 931-964.

  • 2011
    • Christianson, K.; Luke, S. G., Context Strengthens Initial Misinterpretations of Text. Scientific Studies of Reading 2011, 15, (2), 136-166. 

    • Shin, J.-A.; Christianson, K., The status of dative constructions in Korean, English, and in the minds of Korean-English bilinguals. In Processing and Producing Headfinal Structures, Yamashita, H.; Packard, J.; Hirose, Y., Eds. Springer: New York, 2011; pp 153-169.

    • Luke, S. G.; Christianson, K., Stem and Whole-Word Frequency Effects in the Processing of Inflected Verbs in and out of a Sentence Context. Language and Cognitive Processes 2011, 26, (8), 1173-1192.

  • 2010
    • Christianson, K.; Luke, S. G.; Ferreira, F., Effects of Plausibility on Structural Priming. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition 2010, 36, (2), 538-544.

  • 2009
    • Christianson, K.; Cho, H. Y., Interpreting null pronouns ( pro) in isolated sentences. Lingua 2009, 119, (7), 989-1008.

    • Shin, J. A.; Christianson, K., Syntactic processing in Korean-English bilingual production: Evidence from cross-linguistic structural priming. Cognition 2009, 112, (1), 175-180.

  • 2008
    • Christianson, K., Sensitivity to Syntactic Changes in Garden Path Sentences. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 2008, 37, (6), 391-403.

  • 2006
    • Christianson, K.; Williams, C. C.; Zacks, R. T.; Ferreira, F. Younger and older adults' "good-enough" interpretations of garden-path sentences. Discourse Processes 2006, 42, (2), 205-238.

  • 2005
    • Christianson, K., Johnson, R.L., and Rayner, K. Letter Transpositions Within and Across Morphemes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition 2005, 31, 1327-1339.

    • Christianson, K. and Ferreira, F. Planning in sentence production: Evidence from a free word-order language (Odawa). Cognition 2005, 98, 105-135.

  • 2003
    • Beretta, A., Campbell, C., Carr, T., Huang, J., Schmitt, L.M., Christianson, K., and Cao, Y. (2003), "An ER-fMRI investigation of regular and irregular inflection in German," Brain and Language, 85(1), pp.67-92.

  • 2001
    • Christianson, K. (2001), "Optimality Theory in Language Production: The Choice between Direct and Inverse in Odawa," Linguistica Atlantica, 23, pp. 93-126.

    • Christianson, K., Hollingworth, A., Halliwell, J. F., and Ferreira, F. (2001), "Thematic-roles assigned along the garden path linger," Cognitive Psychology, 42, pp. 368-407.

    • Ferreira, F., Christianson, K., and Hollingworth, A. (2001), "Misinterpretations of garden-path sentences: Implications for models of sentence processing and reanalysis," Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 30(1), pp. 3-20.


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