A/Prof Evan Kidd

BBSc(Hons), PhD (La Trobe)

I was awarded my BBSc(Hons) in 2000 and my PhD (Psycholinguistics) in 2004, both from La Trobe University. I worked at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology as a postdoctoral research associate between 2003 – 2005, and as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The University of Manchester (UK) between 2005 - 2012. From 2008 - 2011 I was also a Charles La Trobe Research Fellow at La Trobe University. I started my position at ANU in February 2012. 

**Please note: as of August 2017 I will be working at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. Although I will still be associated with the ANU, I am not taking on any more honours or graduate students. 


Research interests

My research investigates the psychology of language, with a main focus on the developmental processes that contribute to language acquisition and use. My current research interests include (i) the acquisition and processing of syntax, (ii) the neurocognitive mechanisms that support syntax acquisition and use (e.g., memory, statistical learning), (iii) the role of socio-cognitive processes such as symbolic play in language acquisition, and (iv) the use and function of non-standard language varieties (e.g., Australian Slang). I conduct research on a number of languages, including English, German, Italian, Finnish, Cantonese, Persian, and Qaqet (Baining, PNG).

You can hear about my research on imaginary companions and play here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzCfUvWD0Q4

You can hear about my research on Australian slang here: http://www/abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4431826.htm


2016 - 2018: Discovering sources of individual differences in first language acquisition (Funding body: ARC, AUD$274,000) (Evan Kidd, Joanne Arciuli, Michael Smithson).

2016 - 2017: What lurks beneath: using electroencephalography (EEG) to study psychological processes in special populations (Funding body: ANU MEC grant, $70,000) (Evan Kidd, Michael Kyrios, Deborah Apthorp, Bruce Christensen).

2014 -  2021: ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (AUD$28 million)

2012 – 2013: Language socialisation and the transmission of Qaqet Baining (Papua New Guinea): Towards a documentation project. (Funding body: Endangered Languages Documentation Project: £8406) (Birgit Helliwig, Evan Kidd).

2010 – 2012: Language processing in children with high functioning autism: Evidence from eye tracking. (Funding body: ARC, $AUD150K) (Edith Bavin, Cheryl Dissanayake, Evan Kidd, Margot Prior).

2008 – 2011: Charles La Trobe Research Fellowship, La Trobe University ($AUD 250K).

2007 – 2009: Investigating the memory systems that support the acquisition of morphology: evidence from Finnish (Funding body: ESRC: £93K). (PI: Evan Kidd).

2007 – 2008: Investigating the memory systems responsible for syntactic priming during language acquisition. (Funding body: The Nuffield Foundation: £6, 440). (PI: Evan Kidd).

2006 – 2007: The influence of readers’ goals on the online construction and updating of situation models. (PI: Andrew Stewart, co-applicant: Evan Kidd, ESRC, £39K).

2006 – 2007: What exactly do preferential looking studies measure? Eye-tracking as a more sensitive measure of young children’s knowledge of argument structure. (Funding body: The Royal Society, £15K). (PI: Evan Kidd). 

2006: An investigation of the memory mechanisms underlying the acquisition of past tense morphology (Funding body:The British Academy, £6, 777). (PIs: Evan Kidd, Jarrad Lum).


  • Selected Publications (since 2006):
  • Quinn, S., & Kidd, E. (2018). Symbolic play promotes non-verbal communicative exchange in infant-caregiver dyads. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12251. 
  • Kalashnikova, M., Escudero, P., & Kidd, E. (2018). The development of fast-mapping and novel word retention strategies in monolingual and bilingual infants. Developmental Science, 21, e12674. doi: 10.1111/desc.12674
  • Kidd, E., Junge, C., Spokes, T., Morrison, L., & Cutler, A.(2018). Individual differences in infant speech segmentation: Achieving the lexical shift. Infancy, 23, 770 - 794. 
  • Quinn, S., Donnelly, S., & Kidd, E. (2018). The relationship between symbolic play and language acquisition. A meta-analytic review. Developmental Review, 49, 121 - 135.
  • Kidd, E., Donnelly, S., & Christiansen, M. H. (2018). Individual differences in language acquisition and processing. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22, 152 - 169. 
  • Chan, A., Yang, W., Chang, F., Kidd, E. (2018). Four-year-old Cantonese-speaking children's online processing of relative clauses: A permutation analysis. Journal of Child Language, 45, 174-203.
  • Brandt, S., Nitschke, S., & Kidd, E. (2017). Priming the comprehension of German object relative clauses. Language Learning and Development, 13, 241 - 261.
  • Isbilen, E., McCauley, S., Kidd, E., & Christiansen, M. H. (2017). Testing statistical learning implicitly: A novel chunk-based measure of statistical learning. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
  • Travis, C., Cacoullos, R. T., & Kidd, E. (2017). Cross-linguistic priming: a view from bilingual speech. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 20, 283 - 298.
  • Kirkham, J., & Kidd, E. (2017). The effect of Steiner, Montessori, and National Curriculum education upon creativity and pretence. Journal of Creative Behavior, 51, 20 - 34.
  • Goodhew, S., & Kidd, E. (2017). Language use statistics and prototypical grapheme colours predict synaesthetes' and non-synaesthetes' word-colour associations. Acta Psychologica, 173, 73 - 86.
  • Kirjavainen, M., Kidd, E., & Lieven, E. (2017). How do language-specific characteristics affect the acquisition of different relative clause types? Evidence from Finnish. Journal of Child Language, 44, 120 - 157.
  • Stagnitti, K., Bailey, A., Stevenson, E., Reynolds, E., & Kidd, E. (2016). An investigation into the effect of play-based instruction on the development of play skills and oral language: A 6-month longitudinal study. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 14, 389 - 406.
  • Goodhew, S., & Kidd, E. (2016). The conceptual cueing database: Rated items for the study of the interaction between language and attention. Behavior Research Methods, 48, 1004 - 1007. 
  • Kidd, E., Kemp, N., Kashima, E., & Quinn, S. (2016). Language, culture, and group membership: an investigation into the social effects of colloquial Australian English. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 47, 717 - 737.
  • Kidd, E. & Arciuli, J. (2016). Individual differences in statistical learning predict children's comprehension of syntax. Child Development, 87, 184 - 193.
  • Bavin, E., Prendergast, L., Kidd, E., Baker, E., & Dissanayake, C. (2016). On-line processing of noun modification in young children with high functioning autism. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 51, 137 - 147.
  • Bavin, E. L., Kidd E., Prendergast, L. A., & Baker, E. K. (2016). Young children with ASD use lexical and referential information during online sentence processing. Frontiers in Psychologydoi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00171
  • Kelly, B. F., Kidd, E., & Wigglesworth, G. (Eds.) (2015). Indigenous children's language: Acquisition, preservation and evolution in minority contexts. Special Issue of First Language, 35 (4/5), 279 - 427. 
  • Kidd, E. (2015). Incorporating learning into theories of parsing. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 5, 487 - 493.
  • Kidd, E., Tennant, E., & Nitschke, S. (2015). Shared abstract representation of linguistic structure in bilingual sentence comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 22, 1062 - 1067. 
  • Kidd, E., Chiu, J., & Chan, A. (2015). Crosslinguistic influence in Cantonese-English bilingual children’s comprehension of relative clauses. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition, 18, 438 – 452.
  • Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C., & Theakston, A. (2015). The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 42, 239 – 273.
  • Bavin, E., Kidd, E., Prendergast, L., Baker, E., Dissanayake, C., & Prior, M. (2014). Severity of autism is related to children’s language processing. Autism Research, 7, 687 – 694.
  • Goodhew, S., McGaw, B., & Kidd, E. (2014). Why is the sunny side always up? Explaining spatial mapping of concepts by language use. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 1287 – 1293.
  • Kashima, Y., Kashima, E., & Kidd, E. (2014). Language and Culture. In T. Holtgraves (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Language and Social Psychology (pp. 46 – 61). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rahmany, R., Marefat, H., & Kidd, E. (2014). Resumption aids comprehension of object relative clauses: Evidence from Persian. Journal of Child Language.41, 937-948
  • Nitschke, S., Serratrice, L., & Kidd, E. (2014). The role of linguistic experience in structural priming in comprehension. Language, Cognition & Neuroscience, 29, 525-542.
  • Kidd, E. (2013). The role of verbal working memory in children sentence comprehension: A critical review. Topics in Language Disorders, 33, 208 - 223. 
  • Boyle, W., Lindell, A. K., & Kidd, E. (2013). Investigating the role of verbal working memory in young children's sentence comprehension. Language Learning, 63, 211 - 242.
  • Kidd, E. (2012). Implicit statistical learning is directly associated with the acquisition of syntax. Developmental Psychology, 48, 171 - 184.
  • Kidd, E. (2012). Individual differences in syntactic priming in language acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 33, 393 - 418.
  • Kidd, E., & Kirjavainen, E. (2011). Investigating the contribution of procedural and declarative memory to the acquisition of past tense morphology: Evidence from Finnish. Language and Cognitive Processes, 26, 794 – 829.
  • Kidd, E., Kemp, N., & Quinn, S. (2011). Did you have a choccie bickie this arvo? A quantitative look at Australian hypocoristics. Language Sciences, 33, 359 – 368.
  • Kidd, E., Stewart, A., & Serratrice, L. (2011). Children do not overcome lexical biases where adults do: The role of the referential scene in garden path recovery. Journal of Child Language, 38, 222 – 234.
  • Nitschke, S., Kidd, E., & Serratrice, L. (2010). First language transfer and long-term structural priming in comprehension. Language and Cognitive Processes, 25, 94 – 114.
  • Kidd, E., & Holler, J. (2009). Childen’s use of gesture to resolve lexical ambiguity. Developmental Science, 12, 903 – 913.
  • Brandt, S., Kidd, E., Lieven, E., & Tomasello, M. (2009). The discourse bases of relativization: An investigation of young German and English-speaking children’s comprehension of relative clauses. Cognitive Linguistics, 20, 539 – 570.
  • Kidd, E., & Lum, J. (2008). Sex differences in past tense overregularization. Developmental Science, 11, 882 – 889.
  • Roby, A., & Kidd, E. (2008). The referential communication skills of children with imaginary companions. Developmental Science, 11, 531 - 540.
  • Kidd, E., & Cameron-Faulkner, T. (2008). The acquisition of the multiple senses of withLinguistics, 46, 33 - 61. 
  • Kidd, E., Brandt, S., Lieven, E., & Tomasello, M. (2007). Object relatives made easy: A crosslinguistic comparison of the constraints influencing young children’s processing of relative clauses. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22, 860 – 897.
  • Kidd, E., Lieven, E., & Tomasello, M. (2006). Examining the role of lexical frequency in children’s acquisition of sentential complements. Cognitive Development, 21, 93 – 107.