Alissa Ferry


A bit about Alissa Ferry

I am Lecturer of Language and Communicative Development at the University of Manchester. I received my undergraduate degree with specialisations in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh (USA). I completed my PhD at Northwestern University (USA) specialising in how infants learn concepts and how they learn words for those concepts.   I then moved to the International School for Advanced Studies (Italy) where I looked at early morphology learning and speech processing.  In Italy, I also became interested in cross-linguistic research and investigating how language learning is different (and the same!) when infants learn different languages.  I currently teach on the undergraduate Psychology programme with an emphasis on language/communication development and evolution.

My role in LuCiD 

In LuCiD2 I am working on the From Variation to Explanation stream on a project with Dr Perrine Brusini from Liverpool.  In this project we will be looking at how children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) process language to try to identify how this differs from children without DLD. DLD affects approximately 7% of children and can lead to difficulties is education and communication.  Yet, little is known about the underlying causes of DLD, which can make it difficult to diagnose and treat.  This work package will use cutting edge neuroimaging techniques to measure how different parts of the brain work together to process speech in children with and without DLD.  When people speak, they usually speak quite quickly, without pauses between the words.  This means that one of the first steps to process incoming speech is to break it down into words and this step requires fast coordination between different areas of the brain.  This work package will look at how different brain areas coordinate when breaking speech down into words to determine if this process differs in children with and without DLD, which can help us better understand DLD and develop effective diagnostics and interventions.

LuCiD publications (1) by Alissa Ferry

Lieven, E., Ferry, A., Theakston, K., & Twomey, K. E. (2020). Similarity, analogy and development in radical exemplar theory: A commentary on Ambridge (2020) First Language, Vol. 40(5-6) 600–603.

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