Photo of Professor Ben Ambridge

Professor Ben Ambridge

Professor Psychology


    Personal Statement

    My research investigates children's first language acquisition, mostly using judgment and production methodologies. I am particularly interested in children's errors involving question formation (e.g., *What he doesn't like?) and verb argument structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *The joked giggled him; *I falled over), which I am currently investigating in an ERC-funded study of English, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese and K'iche'. I also study children's acquisition of morphology, focusing particularly on Optional Infinitive errors in English and German (e.g., *He play), and tense/agreement/case-marking errors in morphologically rich languages, specifically Japanese, Polish, Finnish and Lithuanian.

    I also have three sidelines: (1) Conducting studies that investigate alternative discourse/processing-based accounts of so-called "Universal Grammar" phenomena (e.g., subjacency; structure dependence), (2) Writing review articles/chapters (ideally controversial ones) and a textbook ("Child Language Acquisition: Contrasting Theoretical Approaches") and (3) Writing popular science, including my books Psy-Q, Are You Smarter than a Chimpanzee? , and my Observer/Guardian Personality Quiz Column; all of which introduces readers to interesting findings from the Psychology literature by means of interactive tests, games, illusions and quizzes.

    You can download all of my papers and chapters from [] (

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