Jesse Harris


Associate Professor
Primary Area: Cognitive Psychology
Address: 2224-6 Campbell Hall

Research and Teaching Interests:

My primary research area is in psycholinguistics, the psychology of language, with the broad aim of developing and testing working cognitive models of human sentence processing that respect linguistic, cognitive, and general contextual constraints. My experimental studies are designed to investigate when different sources of information become available for structuring linguistic representations, and to explore how the language processing system might be embedded within a greater neuro-cognitive architecture.

My recent research topics include how prosodic information is integrated into real-time sentence processing, how recovering elided material utilizes a domain-general memory system for retrieval, how language comprehenders predict upcoming words and structure, and how a character’s perspective is established within a discourse. I am also interested in non-literal language, the use of metaphor and metonymy, and the resolution of ambiguity during online comprehension. I use various experimental methods in my research, including real-time response time methods, eye-tracking and pupillometry, as well as questionnaires and corpus studies. In addition, I am interested in languages beyond English, and have conducted or advised studies on languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, and Farsi.

I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Language Processing (LING 132, LING 213C), Research Design and Statistical Methods (LING 239), Pragmatic Theory (LING 207), and various advanced topic courses on psycholinguistics and pragmatics.


Dr. Harris is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at UCLA, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Psychology. Previously, he taught at Pomona College, in the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science. He earned his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was advised by Lyn Frazier and Christopher Potts in Linguistics and collaborated closely with Chuck Clifton in Psychology. He received a MSc in Logic from the University of Amsterdam and a joint BA/MA in Linguistics from the University of Chicago. He also worked as a lab manager at the Neurolinguistics Lab at NYU, where he conducted neuroimaging (magnetoencephalography) studies at Bellevue Hospital.

His research has appeared in such outlets as Journal of Memory & Language, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Brain & Language, Language, Cognition & Neuroscience, and Language & Speech. He is an associate editor for Language, the flagship journal of the Linguistic Society of America, and serves as a section editor for the semantics and pragmatics section of Language and Linguistics Compass. He is also the co-founder of the California Meeting on Psycholinguistics (CAMP), an annual workshop designed to promote the research of early-career scholars in California. In addition, he is an advocate for people who stutter, and serves on the Board of Directors of MySpeech, a non-profit dedicated to facilitating access to high-quality, client-centered speech therapy to people in underserved communities.

See his homepage for talks, publications, and more information on the UCLA Language Processing Lab.