Letitia Naigles

Degree: Ph.D., 1988. University of Pennsylvania
Webpages: UConn Child Language Lab; UConn K.I.D.S.
Research Interests: Language acquisition across languages and etiologies
Research Synopsis: How do young children acquire language? My research focuses on the interacting roles of linguistic input and linguistic/cognitive/social/neurological predispositions in children’s acquisition of word meanings, sentence structures, and discourse patterns. I consider both typically developing children and children who have been diagnosed with autism; I also consider how the processes of language acquisition might vary with the specific language being learned.
Courses: Developmental (2400); Language Development (3470 at the undergrad level, 5440 at the graduate level); Lab in Developmental (3450W), Neurobiology of Language: Typical and Atypical Language and Cognitive Development (5445/COGS 5140)
Students in Research: I may be accepting new students for Fall 2017.
Recent publications: Bavin, E.L. & L.R. Naigles (Eds.) (2015) Cambridge Handbook of Child Language, 2nd edition. Cambridge: CUP.


Potrzeba, E., Fein, D., & Naigles, L. (2015) Investigating the shape bias in typically developing children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Frontiers in Psychology: Cognition.


Orinstein, A., Tyson, K. E., Suh, J., Troyb, E., Helt, M., Rosenthal, M., Barton, M. L., Eigsti, I. M., Kelley, E., Naigles, L., Schultz, R. T., Stevens, M. C., & Fein, D. A. (2015) Psychiatric symptoms in youth with a history of autism and optimal outcome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 45, 3703-3714.


Leischner, F.N., Weissenborn, J. & Naigles, L.R. (2016): Universal and Language-Specific Patterns in the Acquisition of Verb Argument Structures in German, Language Learning and Development, DOI: 10.1080/15475441.2015.1052450

Representative Publications: 1. Goodwin, A., Fein, D., & Naigles, L. (2015) The role of maternal input in the development of wh-question comprehension in autism and typical development. Journal of Child Language 42, 32-63.

2. Tek, S., Mesite, L., Fein, D., & Naigles, L.R. (2014) Longitudinal Analyses of Expressive Language Development Reveal Two Distinct Language Profiles among Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 44, 75-89.


3. Naigles, L.R., Kelley, E., Troyb, E., & Fein, D. (2013) Residual difficulties with categorical induction in children with a history of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 43, 2048-2061.   doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1754-y


4. Candan, A., Küntay, A., Yeh, Y., Cheung, H., Wagner, L., & Naigles, L. (2012) Age and language effects in children’s processing of word order. Cognitive Development 27, 205-221.


5. Naigles, L., and Terrazas, P. (1998) Motion verb generalizations in English and Spanish: Influences of language and syntax. Psychological Science 9, 363-369.


6. Naigles, L.R. (2002) Form is easy, meaning is hard: Resolving a paradox in early child language. Cognition 86, 157-199.


7. Naigles, L.R., Hoff, E. & Vear, D. (2009) Flexibility in early verb use: Evidence from a multiple-n diary study. Monographs for the Society for Research in Child Development, Vol. 74, No. 2.

Professional Activities: Cognitive Science Executive Committee




CT Institute for Brain & Cognitive Science


Former Associate Editor, Journal of Child Language


Fellow, Association for Psychological Science (2009)


Visiting Professor of Psychiatry, MIND Institute (2013)


Visiting Professor, Koç University, Turkey (2004-2005)


Research Funding from NIDCD, NIHCD, NIMH, NSF