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Debra Long


  • Ph. D., Cognitive Psychology, The University of Memphis, 1989
  • M. S., Cognitive Psychology, The University of Memphis, 1988
  • B. A., Sociology, California State University, Fullerton, 1977


In addition to her academic appointment in the Department of Psychology, Debra Long is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Mind and Brain. She has also served as chair of the Department of Psychology since 2009. Professor Long is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Psychonomic Society and the Society for Text and Discourse, of which she serves on the governing board. She also serves on the editorial board of Discourse Processes and on the governing board society for Text and Discourse. Previously, she served as associate editor of Psychological Bulletin and as consulting editor of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition.

Research Focus

Professor Long is a psycholinguist who conducts research in the area of language processing and reading ability. Her work can be described broadly as the attempt to achieve four related goals: (1) to understand the nature of individuals' discourse representations, (2) to specify the linguistic and cognitive processes involved in constructing these representations, (3) to understand the nature of skilled reading and reading disability, and (4) to specify the neural mechanisms of language comprehension. A secondary area of interest has been the application of neural network models to language processing and human memory. She uses standard psycholinguistic techniques in combination with a variety of computational, neuropsychological and individual-difference methods.

Selected Publications

  • Long, D. L.,  Johns, C. L., &  Jonathan, E. (2012). A memory-retrieval view of discourse representation: The recollection and familiarity of text ideas. Language and Cognitive Processes, 6, 821-843.

  • Boudewyn, M. A.,  Long, D. L., &   Swaab, T. Y. (2015). Graded expectations: Predictive Processing and the adjustment of expectations during spoken language comprehension. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience. DOI 10.3758/s13415-015-0340-0

  • Johns, C. L.,  Gordon, P. C.,  Long, D. L., &  Swaab, T. Y. (2014). Memory availability and referential access. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, Jan., 60-87.

  • Boudewyn, M. A., Long, D. L., & Swaab, T. Y. (2013). Effects of working memory span on processing of lexical associations and congruence in spoken discourse. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 2-16.

  • Long, D. L., Johns, C. L., & Jonathan, E. (2012). Hemispheric Differences in the Organization of Text Ideas in Memory. Brain and Language, 123, 145-153.


Professor Long teaches Introduction to Cognitive Psychology and seminars in psycholinguistics.


Professor Long received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999-2000 from the Academic Senate of the University of California, Davis. She was selected as a Fellow by the Society for Text and Discourse in 2009.