Katherine (Katie) Twomey
A bit about Katherine (Katie) Twomey
I am a Lecturer in Language and Communicative Development at the University of Manchester. I use empirical and computational methods to examine the foundations of language acquisition, with a particular interest in the effect of nonlinguistic input on early language development. Previously I worked as a Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University (UK) with Gert Westermann, and before that a postdoc in the University of Liverpool (UK) Child Language Study Centre with Ben Ambridge and Franklin Chang, where I used corpus analysis and a connectionist model of sentence production to investigate school-age children’s acquisition of the English locative construction. I completed my PhD at the WORD Lab at the University of Sussex (UK), where I focused on toddlers’ word learning and object and action categorisation. This research included fast mapping, familiarisation and habituation experiments and Dynamic Neural Field neural network modelling. I also collaborate with Prof. Angelo Cangelosi (Computer Science, UoM) in using developmental robotic systems to conduct embodied word learning studies.
My Role in LuCiD
My LuCiD research looks at the effect of different sources of environmental variability on children’s early category formation and word learning, and the interaction between children’s curiosity-driven learning and their language development.
In my empirical studies I ask what children do when they form categories and learn words. I use eye-trackers in categorisation tasks with infants to discover what factors (e.g., colour variation, object/action familiarity) influence children’s object and action category formation. I also conduct word learning studies with toddlers to explore how these same aspects of the environment affect longer-term word learning.
In my computational work I ask how they do it! I use connectionist neural network models and developmental robots to examine the development over time of the cognitive processes which underlie infants’ behaviour in these empirical tasks.
LuCiD publications (56) by Katherine (Katie) Twomey
Lester, N., Theakston, A. & Twomey, K. (2023). The role of the natural history museum in promoting word learning for young children Infant and Child Development, ISSN: 1522-7219
Chen, X., Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2022). Curiosity enhances incidental object encoding Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Volume 223,105508, ISSN 0022-0965
Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., Theakston, A. L. & Twomey, K. E. (2020). Introduction. In Current Perspectives on Child Language Acquisition: How children use their environment to learn. John Benjamins pp. 1-7.
Bazhydai, M., Twomey, K. E. & Westermann, G. (2020). Exploration and curiosity. In Benson, J.B. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development (2nd ed.), Vol. 2: Cognition, Perception & Language, pp. 370-378. Academic Press
Taxitari, L., Twomey, K. E., Westermann, G. & Manu, N. (2019). The Limits of Infants’ Early Word Learning. Language Learning and Development
Capelier-Mourguy, A., Twomey, K. E. & Westermann G. (2020). Neurocomputational Models Capture the Effect of Learned Labels on Infants’ Object and Category Representations. IEEE
Silverstein, P., Westermann, G., Parise, E., Twomey, K. (2019). In J. Torresen & K. Dautenhahn (Eds.) Proceedings of the 9th Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robots
Twomey, K., Morse, A., Cangelosi, A., Horst, J. (2014). In G. Westermann, P. Monaghan, K. E. Twomey & A. Smith (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop (NCPW14). World Scientific.
Ke, H., Westermann, G., & Twomey, K. E. (2018). In Eiterjoerge, S. (chair) Using Innovative Methods to Understand Infants’ Curiosity-Driven Learning. Symposium presented at the XXI ICIS International Conference on Infant Studies, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2016). In Papafragou, A., Grodner, D., Mirman, D., & Trueswell, J.C. (Eds.) (2016). Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.Page 10.
Westermann, G. & Twomey, K. E (2016). In Twomey, K. E., (chair) Understanding Infants’ Curiosity-Based Learning: Empirical and Computational Approaches. Symposium presented at the XX Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, New Orleans, LA, USA. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3821.5288
Twomey, K. E., Malem, B. & Westermann, G. (2016). (chair) Understanding Infants’ Curiosity-Based Learning: Empirical and Computational Approaches. Symposium presented at the XX Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Twomey, K. E., Morse, A. F., Cangelosi, A., & Horst, J. S. (2016). Poster presented at the 2016 IEEE ICDL-EPIROB Workshop on Language Learning, Cergy-Pontoise, France. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26329.93282
Twomey, K. E., Chang, F., & Ambridge, B. (2016). Lexical distributional cues, but not situational cues, are readily used to learn abstract locative verb-structure associations. Cognition, 153, 124–139.
Thill, S., & Twomey, K. (2016). What’s on the inside counts: A grounded account of concept acquisition and development. Front. Psychol. (Cognition), 7, 402.
Twomey, K. E. (2016). Book review: The Handbook of Language Emergence. First Language.
Twomey, K. E., Morse, A. F., Cangelosi, A., & Horst, J. S. (2016). Children’s referent selection and word learning: insights from a developmental robotic system. Interaction Studies, 17(1).
Frost, R., Twomey, K. E., Taylor, G., Westermann, G. and Monaghan P. (2015). Word for word. Nursery World Magazine, 27 July, 21-23
Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2015). Curiosity optimises learning in a simulated infant categorisation task. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Developmental and Social Section Annual Conference, Manchester, UK.
Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2015). A neural network model of curiosity-driven infant categorization. Paper presented at the Fifth Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics, Brown University, USA.
Ambridge, B., Bidgood, A., Twomey, K. E., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F. & Freudenthal, D. (2015). Preemption versus Entrenchment: Towards a construction-general solution to the problem of the retreat from verb argument structure overgeneralization. PLoS ONE, 10 (4): e0123723.
Westermann, G. and Twomey, K. (2014). Some thoughts on curiosity in infants and neural network models. Paper presented at the 1st Interdisciplinary Symposium on Information-Seeking, Curiosity and Attention (Neurocuriosity 2014). Bordeaux, France