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Natasha Tokowicz

Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology

Associate Professor (secondary appointment), University of Pittsburgh Department of Linguistics

Member, University of Pittsburgh Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Research Scientist, Learning Research & Development Center

Research Interests

  • Second language learning
  • Bilingualism
  • Meaning representation
  • Cognitive neuroscience of language processing

Bruett, H., Calloway, R.C., Tokowicz, N. & Coutanche, M.N. (2020). Neural pattern similarity across concept exemplars predicts memory after a long delay. NeuroImage, 219.

Tokowicz, N. (2019). The critical roles of errors and individual differences in bilingual translation. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 22, 697–698. [invited commentary in international journal]

Rice, C. A., Tokowicz, N., Fraundorf, S. H., & Liburd, T. L. (2019). The complex interactions of context availability, polysemy, word frequency, and orthographic variables during lexical processing. Memory & Cognition, 1-17.

Martin, K. I., & Tokowicz, N. (2019). The grammatical class effect is separable from the concreteness effect in language learning. Bilingualism: Language & Cognition .

Rice, C.A. & Tokowicz, N. (2019). State of the scholarship: A review of laboratory studies of adult second language vocabulary training. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1-32.

Wiener, S., Tokowicz, N. (2019). Language proficiency is only part of the story: Lexical access in heritage and non-heritage bilinguals. Second Language Research, 1-15.

Tuninetti, A., & Tokowicz, N. (2018). The influence of a first language: Training nonnative listeners on voicing contrasts. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, 33 (6), 750-768.

Tseng, A. M, Doppelt, M. C., & Tokowicz, N. (2018). The effects of transliterations, thematic groupings, and working memory on adult L2 vocabulary learning. Journal of Second Language Studies, 1 (1), 141-165.

Tokowicz, N. (2018). The critical roles of errors and individual differences in bilingual translation. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 21 (4).

Bracken, J., Degani, T., Eddington, C. M., & Tokowicz, N. (2017). Translation semantic variability: How semantic relatedness affects learning of translation-ambiguous words. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20(4), 783-794.

Degani, T., Prior, A., Eddingtion, C. M., Areas da Luz Fontes, A. B., Tokowicz, N. (2016) Determinants of translation ambiguity: A within and cross-language comparison. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism.

Tuninetti, A., Warren, T., & Tokowicz, N. (2015). Cue strength in second-language processing: An eye-tracking study. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 

Tokowicz, N. (2015). Lexical Processing and Second Language Acquisition. New York, NY: Routledge.

Eddington, C. M., & Tokowicz, N. (2015). How context and meaning similarity influences ambiguous word processing: the current state of the literature. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22(1), 13-37.

Francis, W. S., Tokowicz, N., & Kroll, J. F. (2014). The consequences of language proficiency and difficulty of lexical access for translation performance and priming. Memory & Cognition, 42, 27-40.

Francis, W. S., Tokowicz, N., & Kroll, J. F. (2014). Repetition priming in bilingual word translation depends on bilingual language proficiency and item difficulty. Memory & Cognition, 42, 27-40.

Degani, T., Tseng, A. M., & Tokowicz, N. (2014). Together or apart? Learning of translation-ambiguous words. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(4), 749-765.

Tolentino, L. C., & Tokowicz, N. (2014). Cross-language similarity modulates effectiveness of second language grammar instruction. Language Learning, 64,, 279-309.

Presson, N., MacWhinney, B., & Tokowicz, N. (2014). Learning grammatical gender: The use of rules by novice learners. Applied Psycholinguistics, 35, 709-737.

Tokowicz, N. (2014). Translation ambiguity affects language processing, learning, and representation. Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum. Cascadilla Press.

Tokowicz, N. (2013). Bilingual language processing. To appear in H. Pashler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind. Sage Publications.

Tokowicz, N. (2013). The Revised Hierarchical Model. Invited contribution to P. Robinson (Ed.) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Second Language Acquisition. New York/London: Routledge. 

Tokowicz, N. & Tuninetti, A. (2013). Formal models of bilingual lexicons. In C. A. Chapelle (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. (pp. 2173-2179). Wiley-Blackwell. [invited contribution]

Boada, R., Sánchez-Casas, R., Gavilán, J. M., García-Albea, J. E., & Tokowicz, N. (2013). Effect of multiple translations and cognate status on translation recognition performance of balanced bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.

Tokowicz, N., & Degani, T. (2013). Cross-language influences: translation status affects intraword sense relatedness. Memory &Cognition, 41(7), 1046-1064.

Natasha Tokowicz, PI, and Bob Slevc, co-Investigator, University of Maryland, were awarded a new grant from NSF for "Working Memory as Mediating the Role of Music in Learning of a Second Language."

September 2020

Kudos to Natasha Tokowicz, who was named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) in 2019. Fellow status is awarded to APS members who have made sustained outstanding contributions to the science of psychology in the areas of research, teaching, service, and/or application.

July 13, 2020

Kudos to PI Marc Coutanche and co-I Natasha Tokowicz for NSF-funded research examining how the brain represents different granularities of a concept (animal, mammal, dog, Labrador, Fido). The work will use a series of fMRI experiments to test competing hypotheses for how the corresponding brain activity influences new learning, retrieval, and consolidation through sleep.

June 12, 2020

Kudos to Natasha Tokowicz and Tim Nokes-Malach for receiving funding from the Pitt Seed Project for their LRDC Undergraduate Summer Internship Program

June 10, 2019

Natasha Tokowicz is the recipient of a University Honors College Faculty Fellows Award. Among other things, she is being recognized for her outstanding work with students pursuing their Bachelor's of Philosophy (B. Phil) projects.

April 16, 2018

Natasha Tokowicz, Psychology and Linguistics, and graduate student Caitlin Rice won Best Poster Award at the 2017 Second Language Research Forum for "Teaching Translation-Ambiguous Words: Simultaneous or Consecutive Order of Presentation."

October 23, 2017

LRDC received good press for the summer internship program in the "Diversity in the Psychonomic Society: Now More than Ever," blog by Duane Watson and the Psychonomic Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Duane Watson also gave a Facebook shout out to LRDC Research Scientist and Associate Professor, Psychology, Natasha Tokowicz and the entire LRDC community.

June 19, 2017


LRDC awarded a grant to Natasha Tokowicz, Associate Professor, Psychology and Linguistics, and LRDC Research Scientist, for "Integrating fMRI and EEG to Examine Learning and Memory Consolidation."


A list of recent LRDC award recipients is on page 18 of the August 28 issue of the University Times. Einat Heyd-Metzuyanim, Melissa Libertus, Diane Litman, Charles Perfetti, Christian Schunn, Natasha Tokowicz, Tessa Warren, and Jingtao Wang were all mentioned.

August 2014

Congratulation to Natasha Tokowicz with co-PI Debra Titone, McGill University "Women in Cognitive Science: Mentoring, Negotiation, and Obtaining Funding" was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to fund professional development activities associated with Women in Cognitive Science.

July 2014

Natasha Tokowicz has been nominated to participate in the 2014-2015 American Psychological Association (APA) Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology (LIWP). Established by the APA Committee on Women in Psychology, LIWP’s mission is to prepare, support, and empower women psychologists as leaders to promote positive changes in institutional and organizational life and to increase the diversity, number, and effectiveness of women psychologists as leaders.

June 2014

Natasha Tokowicz received a National Institutes for Health (NIH) subaward from Arizona State University for the project "Cognitive Load in the Bilingual Brain:Insights from Decoupled Reading."

April 7, 2014

Invited to author book entitled Lexical processing and second language acquisition


Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Contract awarded 2009 (anticipated submission 2012)

Women in Cognitive Science Networking Award


Principal Investigator, Individual Post-doctoral National Research Service Award (NIH 1 F32 HD42948), "Second language syntactic and semantic development"


Institutional Post-doctoral National Research Service Award (NIH T32 MH19102)


The National Science Foundation awarded a grant to Principal Investigator Natasha Tokowicz, Associate Professor, Psychology and Linguistics, and LRDC Research Scientist, and co-PI Alba Tuninetti for “Doctoral Dissertation Research: Nonnative Phonetic Perception in Adult L2 Learners."


The National Science Foundation awarded a grant to Principal Investigator Natasha Tokowicz, Associate Professor, Psychology and Linguistics, and LRDC Research Scientist for “Women in Cognitive Science: Mentoring, Negotiation, and Obtaining Funding."