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Ping Li

Ping Li

Professor of Psychology and Linguistics

452 Moore Building
Office Phone: (814) 863-3921



  1. Ph.D., Leiden University, 1990


Research Interests

My research aims at understanding the relationships among language, brain, and culture. In particular, we examine the dynamic changes that occur in the language learner and the dynamic interactions that occur in the competing language systems over the course of learning. We investigate the computational and neural mechanisms underlying language acquisition and representation in both native and non-native speakers of Western languages (e.g., English) and Asian languages (e.g., Chinese). Our research identifies common and distinct cognitive and neural processes in language acquisition and representation. To achieve these goals, we rely on a variety of convergent behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging methodologies (e.g., reaction time studies, artificial neural network models, and functional magnetic resonance imaging).

Recent Publications

Li, P. (2009). Lexical organization and competition in first and second languages: Computational and neural mechanisms. Cognitive Science, 33, 629-664.  
Zhao, X., & Li, P. (2009). The acquisition of lexical and grammatical aspect in a developmental lexicon model. Linguistics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences, 47, 1075-1112.
Li, P., & Green, D. (2007). Neurocognitive approaches to bilingualism: Asian languages. A special issue ofBilingualism: Language and Cognition, 10 (2), 117-210.
Li, P., Zhao, X., & MacWhinney, B. (2007). Dynamic self-organization and early lexical development in children. Cognitive Science, 31, 581-612.
Hernandez, A., & Li, P. (2007). Age of acquisition: Its neural and computational mechanisms.  Psychological Bulletin, 133, 638-650.  
Li, P., Tan, L.-H., Bates, E., & Tzeng, O. (2006). The Handbook of East Asian Psycholinguistics (Vol. 1: Chinese). Cambridge University Press. 
Li, P., Sepanski, S., & Zhao, X. (2006). Language history questionnaires: A web-based interface for bilingual research. Behavioral Research Methods, 38, 202-210.
Hernandez, A., Li, P., & MacWhinney, B. (2005). The emergence of competing modules in bilingualism.Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 220-225.
Li, P., Farkas, I., & MacWhinney (2004). Early lexical acquisition in a self-organizing neural network. Neural Networks, 17, 1345-1362.
Li, P., Jin, Z., & Tan, L. (2004). Neural representations of nouns and verbs in Chinese: An fMRI study.NeuroImage, 21, 1533-1541.

Research Interests:

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