I was awarded my BBSc(Hons) in 2000 and my PhD (Psycholinguistics) in 2004, both from La Trobe University, Australia. I worked at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology as a postdoctoral research associate between 2003 – 2005, and as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The University of Manchester (UK) between 2005 - 2012. From 2008 - 2011 I was also a Charles La Trobe Research Fellow at La Trobe University. I am currently a Professor of Psychology at The Australian National University, and a Senior Investigator and Research Group Leader at the MPI.
My research investigates the psychology of language, with a main focus on the developmental processes that contribute to language acquisition and use. My current research interests include (i) the acquisition and processing of syntax, (ii) individual differences in first and second language acquisition, (iii) the neurocognitive mechanisms that support syntax acquisition and use (e.g., memory, statistical learning), and (iv) the role of socio-cognitive processes such as symbolic play in language acquisition. I have conducted research on a number of languages, including English, German, Italian, Finnish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Persian, Murrinhpatha (Non-Pama-Nyungan), Pitjanjatjara (Pama-Nyungan), and Tagalog (Austronesian).