Yaling Hsiao

Yaling Hsiao

School of Education
Assistant Professor

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Yaling research focuses on literacy development and language processing. She is particularly interested in how linguistic input shapes the way humans learn and process words and sentences. For example, why are certain words and sentences more difficult to read or understand than the others? Why are some people better at reading or language comprehension? What is the link between comprehension and production? How do children learn to read and become skilled readers? She uses a variety of methods to investigate these issues, e.g. corpus analysis, computational modelling, behavioural experiments.

Google Scholar


  • PhD in Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015
  • Ed.M. in Mind, Brain and Education, Harvard University, 2008


  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Contemporary Issues in Education


Recent publications


Nation, K, Dawson, NJ & Hsiao, Y 2022, 'Book language and its implications for children’s language, literacy, and development', Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 375-380. https://doi.org/10.1177/09637214221103264

Taylor, E, Nation, K & Hsiao, Y 2022, 'Context availability and sentence availability ratings for 3,000 English words and their association with lexical processing', Journal of Cognition, vol. 5, no. 1, 20. https://doi.org/10.5334/JOC.211

Hsiao, Y, Dawson, NJ, Banerji, N & Nation, K 2022, 'The nature and frequency of relative clauses in the language children hear and the language children read: a developmental cross-corpus analysis of English complex grammar', Journal of Child Language. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000921000957

Mak, MHC, Hsiao, Y & Nation, K 2021, 'Anchoring and contextual variation in the early stages of incidental word learning during reading', Journal of Memory and Language, vol. 118, 104203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2020.104203

Hsiao, Y, Banerji, N & Nation, K 2021, 'Boys write about boys: androcentrism in children’s reading experience and its emergence in children’s own writing', Child Development, vol. 92, no. 6, pp. 2194-2204. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13623

Dawson, NJ, Hsiao, Y-L, Tan, AWM, Banerji, N & Nation, K 2021, 'Features of lexical richness in children's books: comparisons with child-directed speech', Language Development Research, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 9-53. https://doi.org/10.34842/5we1-yk94

Mak, MHC, Hsiao, Y & Nation, K 2021, 'Lexical connectivity effects in immediate serial recall of words', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, vol. 47, no. 12, pp. 1971-1997. https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0001089

Pagán, A, Bird, M, Hsiao, Y & Nation, K 2020, 'Both Semantic Diversity and Frequency Influence Children’s Sentence Reading', Scientific Studies of Reading, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 356-364. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888438.2019.1670664

Hsiao, Y, Bird, M, Norris, H, Pagán, A & Nation, K 2020, 'The influence of item-level contextual history on lexical and semantic judgments by children and adults.', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, vol. 46, no. 12, pp. 2367-2383. https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000795

Hsiao, Y & Nation, K 2018, 'Semantic diversity, frequency and the development of lexical quality in children's word reading', Journal of Memory and Language, vol. 103, pp. 114-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2018.08.005

Hsiao, Y & MacDonald, MC 2016, 'Production predicts comprehension: Animacy effects in Mandarin relative clause processing', Journal of Memory and Language, vol. 89, pp. 87-109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2015.11.006

Hsiao, Y, Gao, Y & MacDonald, MC 2014, 'Agent-patient similarity affects sentence structure in language production: Evidence from subject omissions in mandarin', Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 5, no. SEP, 1015. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01015

Thompson, WL, Hsiao, Y & Kosslyn, SM 2011, 'Dissociation between visual attention and visual mental imagery', Journal of Cognitive Psychology, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 256-263. https://doi.org/10.1080/20445911.2011.477810

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Hsiao, Y-L & MacDonald, MC 2018, Sentence Comprehension. in S-A Rueschemeyer & MG Gaskell (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics. 2 edn, The Oxford Handbook of, Oxford University Press, pp. 171-196. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198786825.013.8


Hsiao, Y-L, Dawson, NJ, Banerji, N & Nation, K 2022 'A corpus-based developmental investigation of lexical richness and syntactic complexity in children's written stories' SSRN. <https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4198377>