Katie Twomey website

Katherine (Katie) Twomey

Researcher

A bit about Katherine (Katie) Twomey

I am currently a Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University (UK).  I use empirical and computational methods to examine the foundations of language acquisition.  Previously I worked as 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 colleagues at the University of Plymouth (UK), using developmental robotic systems to conduct embodied word learning studies, and University of Skövde, Sweden, exploring the symbol grounding problem in early language acquisition.

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.

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 to examine the development over time of the cognitive processes which underlie infants’ behaviour in these empirical tasks.

LuCiD publications (24) by Katherine (Katie) Twomey

Twomey, K. E. & Westermann, G. (in press). (2017). Learned labels shape pre-speech infants’ object representations. Infancy.

Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2016). A learned label modulates object representations in 10-month-old infants. 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.

Twomey, K. E., Westermann, G., Oudeyer, P.-Y., & Yu, C. (2016). Understanding infants’ curiosity-based learning: empirical and computational approaches. Symposium presented at the XX Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies New Orleans, LA, USA.

Hilton, M., Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2016). Caregivers as experimenters: Reducing unfamiliarity helps shy children learn words. Paper presented at the XX Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, New Orleans, LA, USA.

Loucaides, M., Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2016). The effect of labelling on infants’ object exploration. Poster presented at the 1st Lancaster Conference on Infant & Child Development, Lancaster, UK.

Westermann, G. & Twomey, K. E (2016). A computational model of infants’ curiosity-based learning. 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). Infants’ information seeking in a category learning task. (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.

Horst, J. S., Twomey, K. E., Morse, A., Nurse, R., & Cangelosi, A (2016). Toddlers and robots learn more object names when everything they see together is the same colour. Paper presented at the 1st Lancaster Conference on Infant & Child Development, Lancaster, UK.

Hilton, M., Twomey, K. E. and Westermann, G. (2016). FaceTime: Shy children’s increased attention to faces and its effect on word learning. Paper presented at the 1st Lancaster Conference on Infant & Child Development, Lancaster, UK.

Twomey, K. E. & Westermann, G. (2016). Learned labels shape prelinguistic infants’ object representations. Paper presented at the 1st Lancaster Conference on Infant & Child Development, Lancaster, UK. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.22396.13442

Ma, S., Twomey, K. E., & Westermann, G. (2016). The effect of background variability on referent selection in fast mapping tasks: Evidence from eye movements. Poster presented at the XX Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, New Orleans, LA, USA. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.20877.33763

Twomey, K. E., Morse, A. F., Cangelosi, A., & Horst, J. S. (2016). How context affects early language acquisition: An embodied model of early referent selection and word learning. 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., Smith, A., Monaghan, P. & Westermann, G. (2016). Neurocomputational Models of Cognitive Development and Processing: Proceedings of the 14th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop (NCPW). World Scientific. Trends in Psychology and Artificial Intelligence. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Capelier-Mourguy, A., Twomey, K. E., Kovic, V. & Westermann, G. (2016). Categories with Mismatching Feature Salience and Diagnosticity: How a Label Helps Learning. Poster presented at the 15th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop. Phliadelphia, USA.

Capelier-Mourguy, A., Twomey, K. E. & Westermann, G. (2016). A neurocomputational model of the effect of learned labels on infants’ object representations. Paper presented at the 38th Annual Cognitive Science Society Meeting. Philadelphia, USA.

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

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