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Professor Kim Plunkett

Emeritus Fellow

Professor Kim Plunkett is Director of the Oxford BabyLab, Emeritus Fellow of St Hugh’s College and Professor of Cognitive Science.

Kim obtained a BSc in Physics from Imperial College before switching to Experimental Psychology at Sussex University where he obtained a D.Phil. in 1979. After brief sojourns at Nottingham University and the Open University, he moved to the Institute of Psychology, Aarhus University, Denmark and studied children’s acquisition of Scandinavian languages. From 1986, he spent a great deal of time at the University of California, San Diego studying the application of neural networks to modelling linguistic and cognitive development in young children. Since 1991, he has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Hugh’s College, Oxford. In 1992, he established the Oxford BabyLab which is a research facility for the experimental investigation of linguistic and cognitive development in babies and young children. He maintains an active interest in Scandinavian languages and neural network modelling.

Research summary

Kim’s main interest is in understanding the mechanisms of change that drive linguistic and cognitive development in infants and young children. The primary focus of his work is on word recognition, word learning, semantic development and category formation during the first two years of life. He also has a long standing interest in morphological processes in children and adults.

Researchers in his lab employ experimental techniques (preferential looking, eye-tracking and habituation), computational modelling (artificial neural networks) and imaging (ERPs) methods as tools of investigation. Further details can be found on the Oxford BabyLab website.

Kim was welcomed into The Academy of Social Sciences in March 2013.

Selected publications

  • Arias-Trejo, N. & Plunkett, K. (2013) What’s in a Link: Associative and Taxonomic Priming Effects in the Infant Lexicon. Cognition, 128, 214-227
  • Mather, E. & Plunkett, K. (2012) The Role of Novelty in Early Word Learning. Cognitive Science, 36, 1157-1177
  • Mayor, J. & Plunkett, K. (2011) A statistical estimate of infant and toddler vocabulary size from CDI analysis. Developmental Science, 14(4), 769-785
  • Mani, N. & Plunkett, K. (2010) In the Infant’s Mind’s Ear: Evidence for Implicit Naming in 18-Month-Olds. Psychological Science, 21(7), 908-913.
  • Mayor, J. & Plunkett, K. (2010) A neuro-computational account of taxonomic responding and fast mapping in early word learning. Psychological Review, 117(1), 1-31
  • Ković, V., Plunkett, K. & Westermann, G. (2010) The shape of words in the brain: An Event Related Potential study. Cognition, 114, 19-28
  • Gliozzi, V., Mayor, J., Hu, J-F. & Plunkett, K. (2009) Labels as Features (Not Names) for Infant Categorization: A Neuro-computational Approach. Cognitive Science, 33, 709-738.
  • Plunkett, K., Hu, J. & Cohen, L B. (2008) Labels can override perceptual categories in early infancy. Cognition, 106:2, 665-681.
Professor Kim Plunkett
Emeritus Fellow
Emeritus Fellows