Dr. Janet F. Werker, FRSC – CAN2015 Public Lecture
Understanding the foundations of language development by studying the infant brain
Department of Psychology
The University of British Columbia
Canada Research Chair in Psychology (Tier 1)
Director of the Infant Study Centre at UBC
Dr. Janet F. Werker is internationally recognized for her research investigating the perceptual foundations of language acquisition in infancy.
Her research focuses on describing and understanding the critical first steps in infancy that launch the process of language acquisition. She studies infants from birth up to two years of age to reveal the perceptual biases humans have at the beginning of life, and how those are sculpted through maturation, experience, and development to yield the perceptual categories the child uses in language acquisition.
She has published over 140 papers and chapters in prestigious journals including Science, Nature, Nature Communications, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Neuroscience, Psychological Science, and Cognition as well as in the premier journals in developmental psychology, language, and perception.
Her awards include:
- the Killam Research Prize
- the UBC Alumni Prize in Social Sciences
- the Jacob Bieley Prize (UBC’s premier research prize)
- the Anne L. Brown Award in Developmental Psychology
She is a Fellow of
- the Canadian Institutes for Advanced Research
- the Royal Society of Canada
- the Canadian Psychological Association
- The American Psychological Society
- the Cognitive Science Society
- the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Her research is funded by NSERC, SSHRC, and CIFAR in Canada, and by the NIH in the U.S. Previous funding sources include the Human Frontiers Science Program, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and NTT Laboratories.
For more information about Dr. Werker’s studies, visit