New students in our lab!

Our lab is growing! We have some new recruits:

-Eleanor Luckock is a PhD student based in University of Reading Malaysia (first supervisors: Prof. Carmel Houston-Price and Dr Rachel Pye). Her PhD topic is How does multilingual language experience influence vocabulary acquisition in an additional unfamiliar language? Her work in our lab will involve designing a new ERP experiment for her thesis.

-Varun Arunachalam Chandran is a PhD student that recently joined us (first supervisor: Prof. Bhismadev Chakrabarti). Varun will look at the effects of autism on the structure of the brain by using methods targeting both the grey and the white matter.

-Holly Davies is an MSc student in our Speech and Language Therapy programme. In collaboration with Dr Tomasina Oh (Plymouth Marjon University), Holly will be looking at the effects of multilingualism on brain structure, comparing monolingual to bilingual and multilingual participants.

-James Philip is an MSc student in our Language Sciences programme. In collaboration with Dr Wesley Weimer (University of Michigan) will be looking at structural effects in the brain of experienced computer programmers.

All in all, exciting times ahead! As always, if you are interested in joining our lab, including applying for a PhD, feel free to email at c.pliatsikas[at],  or use the contact form.


Invited talk at St. Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls

I was recently honoured by an invitation to talk at the St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls. At what turned out to be a really inspiring session, I had the opportunity to talk with the students about the brain and its basic and higher cognitive functions. Perhaps more interestingly, we also had the opportunity to discuss (and debunk) popular beliefs about the brain, such as that there are “male” and “female” brains, that there are “left-brained” and “right-brained” people, and that humans only use 10% of their brain. This presentation can be found here.



In all, a great day! Who knows, this might be the new generation of congitive neuroscientists! Special thanks to St. Philomena’s and particularly to Mr Christos Stavrou for the invitation!

New book chapter on Multilingualism and Brain Plasticity

This book chapter summarises the available evidence on the effects of multilingualism on brain structure and functional connectivity. It has just been accepted and it will appear in Schwieter, J. (Ed.) (2019). The Handbook of the Neuroscience of Multilingualism, Wiley-Blackwell.

To access, use the contact form or click here


Register now: Workshop on fMRI and language processing: State of the art and future directions. Places still available!

fMRI and language processing: State of the art and future directions

Register for free here


Palmer 1.09, Whiteknights Campus, University of Reading, Reading, UK, RG6 6AL


The Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN) and the Psycho-Neurolinguistics Lab at the University of Reading are jointly organising a day workshop titled: “fMRI and language processing: State of the art and future directions”.

This event will look into contemporary approaches in the study of language processing with the use of functional MRI and related methods. It will bring together early career and established researchers and will comprise a state-of-the-art snapshot in the field, as well help discuss and unveil potential future directions for research.

Registration now open! For more information, and to register for free, visit the workshop website (

Keynote speakers:

Andrea Santi (UCL)

Jenni Rodd (UCL)

Mirjana Bozic (University of Cambridge)

Etienne Roesch (University of Reading)

This free event is organised by the Neuroscience theme of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), and is co-funded by CeLM and CINN.


Conferences, workshops, talks -busy week ahead for our lab! Come and say hi!

Next week we will all be engaged in various conferences, talks an events:

-More specifically,  I will be at the Conference on Multilingualism (COM2017) at Groningen, the Netherlands, presenting Vince Deluca’s PhD project with the title:  The Bilingual Gradient: Investigating the effect of the bilingual experience on neural structure. My presentation is scheduled for Monday morning at 11.15 am.

-In the meantime, Vince will be travelling to the USA, to present his project at the annual meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language in Baltimore, where his poster presentation is scheduled for Friday morning at 10 am.

-On Thursday I am invited to give a talk about our research at the University of Westminster, London, scheduled at 5 pm.

-And finally, on Friday Toms Voits and I will attend a workshop related to native language attrition, titled The Importance of the Native Language – Practitioner Day, at Birkbeck College, London.

So good times, and busy times! If you are around in any of these events, come say hi to us!


PhD Studentships in Language Sciences at the University of Reading (i.e. more opportunities to join our lab)

See below for the official announcement from our Research Division. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in our lab, feel free to contact me via the contact form or email.

The School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading is inviting applicants for PhD studentships to work on topics within the Language, Development and Ageing Research Division. This research division conducts research in psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, language development, bi-/multilingualism, and language disorders. We are looking for students interested in pursuing PhD projects along these broad themes. Successful applicants will have full access to facilities within the School, which include eye-tracking, TMS, EEG and MRI, and will become members of various labs and research centres across the School and university. This includes the Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics Lab and the Acquired Brain and Communication Disorders Lab within the School, and the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism and the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics across the university. A number of PhD studentships are currently available for study beginning in October 2018, as described below.

SeNNS Doctoral Training Partnership

The University of Reading is part of the ESRC funded SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership which awards studentships for either 3-year PhD study, or combined MSc/PhD study involving a 1-year MSc followed by 3-year PhD. These studentships are open to UK and EU residents on a fees + yearly stipend basis (for UK residents) or a fees only basis (for EU residents). The deadline for applications for these studentships is January 15th, 2018.


Magdalen Vernon Studentship
The School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences also offers funding via the Magdalen Vernon Studentship. This year, one studentship will be available within the Language, Development and Ageing Research Division. This studentship is open to UK, EU and international students and covers fees at the UK/EU rate plus a yearly stipend. International students are welcome to apply but must be able to pay the difference between UK/EU and international fees. The application deadline for this studentship is December 13th, 2017.


University International Research Studentships
The University of Reading also offers studentships to international (non-UK/EU) students. This year, seven International Research Studentships will be available across the university. One award will be made on a fees + stipend basis, while six awards will be made on a fees-only basis. The deadline for applications for International Studentships is January 26th, 2018.

Further information on all schemes is available via the university’s Graduate School Website. Interested applicants should contact the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at to register their interest in applying. Interested applications should also contact potential supervisors at Reading (see staff list within the School here) to discuss their proposal and application.



New article at The Catalyst (magazine for STEM students)

I was recently invited to write an article about bilingualism and brain structure for The Catalyst, a science magazine for students aged 14-19 years. The article is now freely available online, and can be found here. I hope science teachers and students find it interesting and useful!

The Catalyst