Liv J. Hoversten
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Psychology Department
  • Phone
    831-459-5084 (messages)
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Social Sciences 2, 379
    • Social Sciences 2, room 435
  • Office Hours (Spring 2023) (In Person) Wed., 2:30pm - 4pm; Social Sciences 2 Rm 379
  • Mail Stop Psychology Faculty Services
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Cognitive Science; Psycholinguistics; Bilingualism, Multilingualism; Language Processing
  • Courses Psych 125: Psychology of Language, Psych 139G: Eye-tracking: A Window into Cognition, Psych 133: Bilingualism & Cognition

Summary of Expertise

psycholinguistics; language processing; bilingual language control; cognitive processes of reading; sentence processing; eye-tracking; event-related potentials (ERPs); parafoveal processing; language switching

Research Interests

My research program comprises two main themes: bilingual language processing and the neurocognitive mechanisms of reading.

Bilingual Language Control

Although it is estimated that more than half of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual, the cognitive processes that these individuals use to monitor and select the appropriate language for comprehension and production remain unclear. Language selection is a critical skill for bilinguals in their daily lives to ensure efficient communication with interlocutors who have a variety of language backgrounds.

The majority of our research focuses on the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of bilingual language control that prevent the unintended language from overtly interfering with the use of the intended language. We use behavioral, eye-tracking, and electrophysiological (EEG/ERP) methods to assess how bilinguals retrieve linguistic information from long-term memory during language processing. 

Neurocognitive Approaches to Reading

Another major theme of my research program concerns reading processes in monolinguals and bilinguals with the aim of examining how various levels of linguistic representation (i.e., orthography, phonology, semantics, syntax) interact during sentence processing. The ultimate goal of this work is to better specify how visually extracted information from text progresses through the language processing system to produce the outcome of successful (or unsuccessful) comprehension. 

In one major line of this research, we design and implement experiments to test different models of eye movement control during reading. Current work in progress examines the role of parafoveal processing (i.e., to the right of the currently fixated word) during reading in native and non-native readers. This research aims to answer questions about how readers with different linguistic backgrounds extract information from text for successful comprehension.

Biography, Education and Training

Postdoc, Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language (BCBL), San Sebastián, Spain

PhD in Cognitive Psychology at UC Davis, CA, USA

BA in Chemistry at St. Olaf College, MN, USA

Selected Publications

Hoversten, L. J., & Traxler, M. J. (2020). Zooming in on zooming out: Partial selectivity and dynamic tuning of bilingual language control during reading. Cognition195, 104118.

Brothers, T., Dave, S., Hoversten, L. J., Traxler, M. J., & Swaab, T. Y. (2019). Flexible predictions during listening comprehension: Speaker reliability affects anticipatory processes. Neuropsychologia135, 107225.

Hoversten, L. J., Brothers, T., Swaab, T. Y., & Traxler, M. J. (2017). Early processing of orthographic language membership information in bilingual visual word recognition: Evidence from ERPs. Neuropsychologia103, 183-190.

Brothers, T., Hoversten, L. J., & Traxler, M. J. (2017). Looking back on reading ahead: No evidence for lexical parafoveal-on-foveal effects. Journal of Memory and Language96, 9-22.

Hoversten, L. J., & Traxler, M. J. (2016). A time course analysis of interlingual homograph processing: Evidence from eye movements. Bilingualism19(2), 347.

Hoversten, L. J., Brothers, T., Swaab, T. Y., & Traxler, M. J. (2015). Language membership identification precedes semantic access: Suppression during bilingual word recognition. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience27(11), 2108-2116.