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Kim Plunkett is a British developmental psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist, head of the Oxford University BabyLab

Biographical informationEdit


He gained an initial degree in physics at Imperial College, London before switching to experimental psychology at Sussex University where he obtained his D.Phil. in 1979.


He worked briefly at Nottingham University and the Open University, before moving to the Institute of Psychology, Aarhus University, Denmark where he investigated children's acquisition of Scandinavian languages.

In 1986, he moved to the University of California, San Diego to study the application of neural networks to modelling linguistic and cognitive development in young children.

Since 1991, he has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, where he is currently Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Main areas of interestEdit

Child cognitive development, language acquisition, Connectionism

Funded grantsEdit


Editorial board/consulting editorEdit

Association affiliationsEdit

See alsoEdit



  • Cohen, G., Johnston, R. & Plunkett, K. (Eds) (2000) Exploring cognition: damaged brains and neural nets. London: Psychology Press
  • Nakisa, R. C., Plunkett, K. & Hahn, U. (2000). Single and dual-route models of inflectional morphology. In P. Broeder & J. Murre (Eds.) Models of Language Acquisition: Inductive and Deductive Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 201-222.
  • G. Bacon, C. W. Coen, S. A. Greenfield, H. Marsh, K. Plunkett, & J. F. Stein. (1999) Brain Power: working out the human mind. The Ivy Press.
  • Plunkett, K.(Ed.) (1998) Language Acquisition and Connectionism. London: Psychology Press.
  • McLeod, P., Plunkett, K. & Rolls, E. T. (1998) Introduction to Connectionist Modelling of Cognitive Processes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Plunkett, K. & Elman, J. L. (1997) Exercises in Rethinking Innateness: A Handbook for Connectionist Simulations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Elman, J., Bates, E., Karmiloff-Smith, A., Johnson, M., Parisi, D., & Plunkett, K. (1996). Rethinking Innatenes: Development in a connectionist perspective. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Book ChaptersEdit

  • Plunkett, K. (2001). Interactionist approaches to early language acquisition. In J. Weissenborn & B. Hohle (Eds.), Approaches to Bootstrapping: Phonological, lexical, syntactic and neurophysiological aspects of early language acquisition (Vol. 2, pp. 263-280). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Sinha, C. G., Thorseng, L. A., Hayashi, M., & Plunkett, K. (1999). Spatial language acquisition in Danish, English and Japanese. In P. Broeder & J.M.J. Murre (Eds.) Language and thought in development:cross-linguistic studies. Tuebingen: Gunter Narr. 95-125
  • Bates, E., Elman, J. L., Johnson, M., Karmiloff-Smith, A., Parisi, D., & Plunkett, K. (1998). Innateness and emergentism. In W. Bechtel & G. Graham (Eds.), A Companion to Cognitive Science. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp 590-601
  • Plunkett, K. (1998) Connectionism and development. In M. Sabourin, F.I.M Craik and M. Robert (eds) Advances in Psychological Science, Volume 2: Biological and Cognitive Aspects. London: Psychology Press. pp 581-600.
  • Plunkett, K. (1995). Connectionist Approaches to Language Acquisition. In P. Fletcher & B. MacWhinney (Eds.), Handbook of Child Language, (pp. 36-72). Oxford: Blackwell's.
  • McClelland, J. L., & Plunkett, K. (1995). Cognitive development. In M. Arbib (Ed.), Handbook of Neural Networks. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Plunkett, K. (1995) Language acquisition. In M. Arbib (Ed.), Handbook of Neural Networks. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Plunkett, K. & Strsmqvist, S. (1992) The acquisition of Scandinavian languages. In D.I. Slobin (Ed.) The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition., Vol. 3. pp. 457-556, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Hillsdale, NJ.


  • Plunkett, K. (2005) Learning how to be flexible with words. Attention and Performance, XXI, 233-248.
  • Mills, D. L., Plunkett, K., Prat, C. & Schafer, G. (2005) Watching the infant brain learn words: effects of vocabulary size and experience. Cognitive Development, 20, 19-31.
  • Ballem, K. & Plunkett, K. (2005) Phonological Specificity in 1;2. Journal of Child Language, 32, 159-173.
  • Houston-Price, C., Plunkett, K. & Harris, P. L. (2005) Word Learning "Wizardry" at 1;6. Journal of Child Language, 32, 175-189.
  • Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., Bishop, D. V. M. & Plunkett, K. (2004) Simulating SLI: General Cognitive Processing Stressors Can Produce a Specific Linguistic Profile. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 47, 1347-1362.
  • Meints, K., Plunkett, K., Harris, P. L. & Dimmock, D. (2004) The Cow on the High: Effects of background context on early naming. Cognitive Development, 19, 275-290.
  • Bailey, T. & Plunkett, K. (2002) Phonological Specificity in Early Words. Cognitive Development, 17(2), 1267-1284
  • Meints, K., Plunkett, K, & Harris, P. (2002) What is "on" and "under" for 15-, 18-and 24-month-olds? Typicality effects in early comprehension of spatial prepositions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20, 113-130
  • Meints, K., Plunkett, K, & Harris, P. (2002) What is "on" and "under" for 15-, 18-and 24-month-olds? Typicality effects in early comprehension of spatial prepositions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20, 113-130
  • Plunkett, K. (2001) Connectionism Today. Synthese, 129(2), pp. 185-194
  • Hamilton, A., Plunkett, K. & Schafer, G. (2000) Infant vocabulary development assessed with a British Communicative Development Inventory. Journal of Child Language, 27(3), 689-705.
  • Bailey, T. M., Plunkett, K. & Scarpa, E. (1999) A cross-linguistic study in learning prosodic rhythms: Rules, constraints and similarity. Language and Speech, 42(1), 1-38
  • Mareschal, D., Plunkett, K. & Harris, P. L. (1999) A computational and neuropsychological account of object-oriented behaviours in infancy. Developmental Science, 2(3), 306-317
  • Meints, K. Plunkett, K. & Harris, P. L. (1999) When does an ostrich become a bird: the role of prototypes in early word comprehension. Developmental Psychology, 35(4), 1072-1078
  • Plunkett, K., Elman, J.L. & Bates, E. (1999) Understanding the modelling endeavour. Journal of Child Language, 26(1), 253-260
  • Plunkett, K. & Juola, P. (1999) A connectionist model of English past tense and plural morphology. Cognitive Science, 23(4), 463-490.

Plunkett, K. & Schafer, G. (1999) Early speech perception and word learning. In M. Barrett (Ed.) The Development of Language. London: Psychology Press, 51-71.

  • Ragnarsdottir, H., Simonsen, H. G. & Plunkett, K. (1999) The acquisition of past tense morphology in Icelandic and Norwegian children: an experimental study. Journal of Child Language, 26(3), 577-618
  • Schafer, G., Plunkett, K. & Harris, P.L. (1999) What's in a name? Lexical knowledge drives infants' visual preferences in the absence of referential input. Developmental Science, 2(2), 187-194
  • Hamann, C. & Plunkett, K. (1998) Subjectless sentences in child Danish. Cognition, 69(1), 35-72
  • Karmiloff-Smith, A., Plunkett, K., Johnson, M. H., Elman, J. L. & Bates, E. A. (1998) What does it mean to claim something is innate? Response to Clark, Harris, Lightfoot and Samuels. Mind and Language. 13(4), 588-597
  • Plunkett, K. (1998) Language Acquisition and Connectionism. Language and Cognitive Processes, 13(2,3), 97-104.
  • Nakisa, R. C. and Plunkett, K. (1998) Evolution of a rapidly learned representation for speech. Language and Cognitive Processes, 13(2,3), 105-127.
  • Schafer, G., & Plunkett, K. (1998). Rapid word learning by 15-month-olds under tightly controlled conditions. Child Development, 69(2), 309-320.
  • Johnson, M.S., Bates, E., Elman, J., Karmiloff-Smith, A. & Plunkett, K. (1997) Constructivist views on neurocognitive development. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 20(4),569-570
  • Marchman, V., Plunkett, K. & Goodman, J. (1997) Overregularization in English plural and past tense inflectional morphology. Journal of Child Language. 24, 767-779
  • Mareschal, D., Harris, P. & Plunkett, K. (1997) The effect of linear and angular velocity on 2, 4 and 6 month olds' visual pursuit behaviour. Infant Behavior and Development. 20(4), 435-448.
  • Nobre, A. C., & Plunkett, K. (1997). The neural system of language: structure and development. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 7, 262-268.
  • Plunkett, K. (1997) Theories of early language acquisition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 1:4, 146-153.
  • Plunkett, K., Karmiloff-Smith, A., Bates, E., Elman J. L. & Johnson M. (1997) Connectionism and Developmental Psychology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 53-80.
  • Plunkett, K., & Nakisa, R. C. (1997). A connectionist model of the Arabic plural system. Language and Cognitive Processes, 12(5,6), 807-836.
  • Plunkett, K., & Marchman, V. (1996). Learning from a connectionist model of the English past tense. Cognition, 61, 299-308.
  • Strsmqvist, S., Ragnarsd-ttir, H, Engstrand, O., Jonsd-ttir, H., Lanza, E., Leiwo, M., Nordqvist, Å., Peters, A., Plunkett, K., Richtoff, U., Simonsen, H.G., Toivainen, J. & Toivainen, K. (1995) The Inter-Nordic Study of Language Acquisition. Nordic Journal of Linguistics, 18, 3-29.
  • Broeder, P., & Plunkett, K. (1994). Connectionism and second language acquisition. In N. C. Ellis (Ed.), Implicit and Explicit Learning of Languages, (pp. 421-453). London: Academic Press.
  • Cottrell, G.W., & Plunkett, K. (1994). Acquiring the mapping from meanings to sounds. Connection Science, 6(4), 379-412.
  • Sinha, C. G., Thorseng, L. A., Hayashi, M., & Plunkett, K. (1994). Comparative spatial semantics and language acquisition: Evidence from Danish, English and Japanese. Journal of Semantics, 11, 253-287.
  • Plunkett, K. (1993) Lexical segmentation and vocabulary growth in early language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 20, 43-60.
  • Plunkett, K. (1993). Making nets work hard. Mind & Language, 8, 549-558.
  • Plunkett, K. & Marchman, V. (1993) From rote learning to system building: acquiring verb morphology in children and connectionist nets. Cognition, 48, 21-69.
  • Plunkett, K. & Sinha, C. G. (1992) Connectionism and developmental theory. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10, 209-254.
  • Plunkett, K., Sinha, C. G., M¿ller, M. F. & Strandsby (1992) Symbol grounding or the emergence of symbols? Vocabulary growth in children and a connectionist net. Connection Science, 4, 293-312.
  • Plunkett, K. (1992) En paradigmkonflikt i kognitionsforskning. Litteratur & Samfund, 47-48, 82-104.
  • Plunkett, K. (1991) Connectionist Approaches to Language Processing and Acquisition. Hermes, 6, 31-63.
  • Plunkett, K., & Hare, M. L. (1991). Motivating Connectionist Phonology. Neural Network Review, 4 (2) pp 74-76.
  • Plunkett, K. & Marchman, V. (1991) U-shaped learning and frequency effects in a multi-layered perceptron: Implications for child language acquisition. Cognition, 38, 43-102.
  • Plunkett, K. (1990). Psychological and Linguistic Approaches to Language Acquisition. Psyke & Logos, 11, 65-97.
  • Plunkett, K. (1990). Computational Tools for Analyzing Talk. Nordic Journal of Linguistics, 13, 187-199.

External linksEdit

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