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Professor Padraic Monaghan


Padraic Monaghan

Fylde College



Tel: +44 1524 593813


I am Professor of Cognition in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University. I have a BSc (Mancun) in Philosophy and Maths, an MSc and a PhD (Edinburgh) in Cognitive Science. I have previously held posts at Edinburgh University, University of Warwick, University of York, and the University of Amsterdam. My work sits at the intersection of Psychology and Linguistics, and I use methods including behavioural and observational studies and computational modelling to investigate language and cognition.

My name is pronounced "pad+rick mon-uh-hun" (unless you're Irish and you know better).

Research Interests

Language acquisition, literacy, and language evolution

I am interested in children's early environment supports their language development. In particular, how phonology, prosody, gesture, distribution of words, and wider environmental information sources are combined by the child as she/he constructs knowledge of words and grammar.

I am also interested in how early language development influences literacy development, and how children's oral language skills relate to the effectiveness of different types of reading training.

I am also interested in the properties of languages that assist in learning - because languages change quickly, there is lots of scope for dialects that are easier to learn to be selected over dialects that are harder to learn. I plot the extent to which these learnability properties are embedded within the world's languages and can be tracked through diachronic studies of language change.


Thanks to my excellent lab group and generations of talented students, I have become intrigued by how sleep affects learning, memory, and problem solving. Kekule's famous discovery of the structure of Benzene during a dream seems to reflect a general truth: sleeping on it really does help.

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