About Associate Professor Joanne Arciuli

I am passionate about spoken and written language. How is it that most typically developing children acquire language so quickly and effectively? What are the brain processes that allow this to happen? Why do some children with certain developmental disorders have difficulties in terms of speaking, comprehension, and literacy?

Much of my research is basic scientific research in the area of language processing (both spoken and written language). One of my areas of expertise is lexical stress which is a type of prosody used in languages such as English and Italian. I have clarified the role of lexical stress during spoken word recognition (e.g., Arciuli & Cupples, 2004; Arciuli & Slowiaczek, 2007) and explored lexical stress in the context of speech production (e.g., Arciuli, Simpson, Vogel & Ballard, 2014; Ballard, Djaja, Arciuli, James & van Doorn, 2012; Van Rees, Ballard, McCabe, Macdonald-D'Silva & Arciuli, 2012). I have revealed that, in languages such as English, that do not have fixed patterns of lexical stress (compare first-syllable stress in ‘ZEbra' with second-syllable stress in ‘girAFFE'), correct placement of stress during reading aloud may be a consequence of gradually learning the statistical probabilities of particular spelling patterns within written words (Arciuli & Cupples, 2006; Seva, Monaghan & Arciuli, 2009). I have made important discoveries regarding the development of stress assignment during reading acquisition in English - typically developing children are more likely to attend to stress cues contained in the spelling of the final part of a word as they grow older as reported in the paper by Arciuli, Monaghan and Seva (2010). This paper contains a triangulation of corpus analyses, behavioural testing of 186 children, and computational modeling. It was a key outcome of a bilaterally funded research project (funded in Australian and the UK by the ARC and ESRC). In a related study conducted at Yale University, I found that adolescents with autism spectrum disorders appear to be less sensitive to these stress cues when they are reading (Arciuli & Paul, 2012). My research has transformed our understanding of psychological models of reading aloud which have focused only on monosyllabic words that do not exhibit lexical stress, even though the vast majority of words in English contain more than one syllable.

My team and I continue to investigate lexical stress and other aspects of spoken and written language processing in typically developing children and healthy adults and in special populations, such as children with ASD, Down syndrome, or apraxia of speech. We are examining reading in healthy children and adults (e.g., see special issue of Scientific Studies of Reading edited by Wang & Arciuli, 2015; see the special issue of Journal of Neurolinguistics guest-edited by Arciuli, 2009; Arciuli & Simpson, 2012). We are also examining literacy development in children with developmental disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome. This line of research is called the Developmental Disability and Literacy Project (DDLP) (e.g.,Arndt & Arciuli, 2015;  Arciuli, Stevens, Trembath & Simpson, 2013; Nash & Arciuli, 2016; Lim, Arciuli, Rickard Liow & Munro, 2014; Arciuli, Villar, Colmar, Evans, Einfeld & Parmenter, 2013). Other topics we are interested in include the representation of nouns and verbs in the brain (e.g., Arciuli, McMahon & de Zubicaray, 2012; de Zubicaray, Arciuli & McMahon, 2013), dichotic listening (Arciuli, Rankine & Monaghan, 2010; Arciuli, 2011; Bless, Westerhausen, Arciuli, Kompus, Gudmundsen & Hugdahl, 2013), and forms of implicit learning such as statistical learning (e.g., Arciuli & Simpson, 2011; Kidd & Arciuli, 2016). 

My research is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) including an ARC Future Fellowship. My research has been published in leading journals in their field, including Cerebral Cortex, Cortex, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Science, Neuropsychologia, Journal of Memory and Language, Brain and Language, Cognitive Science, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, and American Journal of Speech Pathology.

Selected publications

Kidd, E., & Arciuli, J. (2016). Individual Differences in Statistical Learning Predict Children’s Comprehension of Syntax. Child Development, 87, 184-193.

Nash, R., & Arciuli, J. (2016). Prosodic awareness is related to reading ability in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Research in Reading, 39, 72-87. 
Wang, M., & Arciuli, J. (2015). Introduction to the Special Issue. Phonology Beyond Phonemes: Contributions of Suprasegmental Information to Reading. Scientific Studies of Reading, 19, 1-4. 

Arndt, A., & Arciuli, J. (2015). Shared reading between mothers and children with Autism or Specific Language Impairment. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech Language Pathology, 17, 120-124.

Lim, L., Arciuli, J., Rickard Liow, S., & Munro, N. ( 2014). Predictors of spelling ability in children with Down syndrome. Scientific Studies of Reading. 18, 173-191.

Arciuli, J., Simpson, B., Vogel, A., & Ballard, K. ( 2014 ). Acoustic changes in the production of lexical stress during Lombard speech. Language and Speech, 57, 149-162.

Arciuli, J., Stevens, K., Trembath, D., & Simpson, I. ( 2013). The relationship between parent report of adaptive behavior and direct assessment of reading ability in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 1837-1844.

Arciuli, J.,
Villar., G., Colmar, S., Evans, D., Einfeld, S., & Parmenter, T. (2013). Home-based reading between mothers and their children with autism spectrum disorders. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 18:1, 17-33.

de Zubicaray, G., Arciuli, J., & McMahon, K. (2013). Putting an ‘end’ to the motor cortex representations of action words. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25:11, 1957-1974.

Bless, J., Westerhausen, R., Arciuli, J., Kompus, K., Gudmundsen, M., & Hugdahl, K. (2013). “Right on all occasions?” – on the feasibility of laterality research using a smartphone dichotic listening application. Frontiers in Psychology – Cognition, 4, Article 42. [Part of special issue – Research Topic

Arciuli, J.,
McMahon, K., & de Zubicaray, G. (2012). Probabilistic orthographic cues to grammatical category in the brain. Brain and Language, 123:3, 202-210.

Arciuli, J.,
& Simpson, I. (2012). Statistical learning is related to reading ability in children and adults. Cognitive Science, 36:2, 286-304.

Arciuli, J.,
& Paul, R. (2012). Sensitivity to probabilistic orthographic cues to lexical stress in adolescent speakers with ASD and typical peers. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 1288-1295.

Ballard, K., Djaja, D., Arciuli, J., James, D., & van Doorn, J. (2012). Developmental trajectory for production of prosody: Lexical stress contrastivity in children 3 to 7 years and adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 55, 1822-1835.

Van Rees, L., Ballard, K., McCabe, P., Macdonald-D’Silva, A., & Arciuli, J. (2012). Training production of lexical stress in typically developing children with orthographically biased stimuli and principles of motor learning. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 21, 197-206.

Arciuli, J.,
& Simpson, I. (2011). Statistical learning in typically developing children: The role of age and speed of stimulus presentation. Developmental Science, 14:3, 464-473.

Arciuli, J.
(2011). Manipulation of voice onset time during dichotic listening. Brain and Cognition, 76, 233-238.

Arciuli, J.,
Monaghan, P., & Seva, N. (2010). Learning to assign lexical stress during reading aloud: Corpus, behavioural and computational investigations. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 180-196.

Arciuli, J., Rankine, T. & Monaghan, P. (2010). Auditory discrimination of voice-onset time and its relationship with reading ability. Laterality, 15:3, 343-360.

Seva, N., Monaghan, P., & Arciuli, J. (2009). Stressing what is important: orthographic cues and lexical stress assignment. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 22:3, 237-249.

Arciuli, J., & Slowiaczek, L. (2007). The where and when of linguistic word-level prosody. Neuropsychologia, 45, 2638-2642.

Arciuli, J., & Cupples, L. (2006). The processing of lexical stress during visual word recognition: Typicality effects and orthographic correlates. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59:5, 920-948.

Arciuli, J., & Cupples, L. (2004). The effects of stress typicality during spoken word recognition by native and non-native speakers: Evidence from onset-gating. Memory and Cognition, 32:1, 21-30.