Fernanda Ferreira

Fernanda Ferreira Portrait

Position Title

174A Young Hall


  • Ph.D., Psychology, Univ. of Mass., Amherst 1988
  • M.A., Linguistics, Univ. of Mass., Amherst 1986
  • M.S., Psychology, Univ. of Mass., Amherst 1985
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Manitoba, Canada, 1982


In addition to her academic role, Fernanda Ferreira serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Fair Open Access journal Glossa Psycholinguistics. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Cognitive Science Society, the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

Research Focus

Professor Ferreira’s area of research is psycholinguistics. She uses basic insights from formal linguistics, especially theories in sentence phonology and syntax, to develop models of processing. Her empirical work relies both on behavioral and neural measures, including eyetracking (for measurement of fixations, saccades and pupil diameter) and the recording of event-related potentials (ERPs). The fundamental aim of her research is to uncover the mechanisms that enable humans to understand and generate language in real time and in cooperation with other cognitive systems.

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Ferreira Lab


Goldberg, A., & Ferreira, F. (2022). Good enough language production. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Ferreira, F. (2021). What is lost when we all sound the same: Review of Memory Speaks by Julie Sedivy. Science, 374(6571), 1060.

Huang, Y., & Ferreira, F. (2021). What causes lingering misinterpretations of garden-path sentences: Incorrect syntactic representations or fallible memory processes? Journal of Memory and Language, in press.

Ferreira, F., & Qiu, Z. (2021). Predicting syntactic structure. Brain Research.

Beier, E. J., Chantavarin, S., Rehrig, G., Ferreira, F., & Miller, L. M. (2021). Cortical Tracking of Speech: Toward Collaboration between the Fields of Signal and Sentence Processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1-20.

Blott, L., Rodd, J.M., Ferreira, F., & Warren, J.E. (2020). Recovery from misinterpretations during online sentence processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/3ejqy

Rehrig, G., Hayes, T. R., Henderson, J. M., & Ferreira, F. (2020). When scenes speak louder than words: Verbal encoding does not mediate the relationship between scene meaning and visual attention. Memory & Cognition, 48, 1181-1195.

Ferreira, F. (2020). In defense of the passive voice. American Psychologist. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000620

Yujing, H., & Ferreira, F. (2020). The application of signal detection theory to acceptability judgements. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00073

Ferreira, F., & Rehrig, G. (2019). Linearisation during language production: evidence from scene meaning and saliency maps. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 1-11.

Lowder, M. W., & Ferreira, F. (2019). I see what you meant to say: Anticipating speech errors during online sentence processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Ferreira, F., & Chantavarin, S. (2018). Integration and prediction in language processing: a synthesis of old and new. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(6), 443-448.

Maxfield, N. D., & Ferreira, F. (2018). Backward-looking sentence processing in typically disfluent versus stuttered speech: ERP evidence. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 1-19.

Henderson, J. M., Choi, W., Lowder, M. W., & Ferreira, F. (2016). Language structure in the brain: A fixation-related fMRI study of syntactic surprisal in reading. NeuroImage, 132, 293-300.

Lowder, M. W., & Ferreira, F. (2016). Prediction in the processing of repair disfluencies: Evidence from the visual-world paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42, 1400-1416.

Engelhardt, P. E., Demiral, S. B., & Ferreira, F. (2011). Over-specified referential expressions impair comprehension: An ERP study. Brain and Cognition, 77, 304-314.

Ferreira, F., Apel, J., & Henderson, J. M. (2008). Taking a new look at looking at nothing. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 405-410.

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Professor Ferreira teaches in the areas of cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, language comprehension, language production, prosody and disfluency, individual differences, and working memory and language processing.


Professor Ferreira has won numerous awards throughout her career, including the 1996 American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology (Cognition and Human Learning).