Patricia J. Brooks completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in experimental psychology at New York University, where she studied language development under the supervision of Martin Braine and social-cognitive development under the supervision of Douglas Frye. Her dissertation examined children’s collective and distributive interpretations of universal quantifiers and quantifier-spreading errors. Brooks worked as a post-doctoral research fellow with Brian MacWhinney at Carnegie Mellon University, where she began research on spoken word production in children with and without language impairments. Subsequently, Brooks worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Michael Tomasello at Emory University, where she focused on early syntactic development and overgeneralization in children’s sentence production.
Brooks holds the position of professor of psychology at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY), where she directs the Language Learning Laboratory. She holds a joint appointment to the Doctoral Faculty of Psychology and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center. Brooks teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in language development and coordinates instruction of introductory psychology at the undergraduate level. Her research uses a variety of methodologies including experiments, parent-child conversational analysis, and meta-analysis to uncover factors that facilitate learning over the life span. In addition to her research on language learning, Brooks has interests in effective pedagogy, especially with regard to active learning environments, use of technology, and mentoring.
Brooks has authored or coauthored over 75 scientific papers and book chapters. With Vera Kempe, she coauthored the textbook Language Development (2012).
Vera Kempe completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at Moscow State University and her Ph.D. at Humboldt University Berlin (Germany), where she studied sentence processing under the supervision of Friedhart Klix. She then worked as a post-doctoral research fellow with Brian Mac Whinney at Carnegie Mellon University and with Stephen Christman at the University of Toledo (Ohio). During this period, she became interested in the cross-linguistic study of first and second language learning, and used experimental and computational methods to study how distributional characteristics of morphosyntax affect learning and processing in different languages.
Kempe subsequently held faculty positions at the State University of New York, Oswego, and at Stirling University in Scotland. Currently, she holds the position of Chair of Psychology of Language Learning at Abertay University, where she lectures in developmental psychology, lan-guage development, and individual differences. Her research examines how characteristics of the language input, especially those found in child directed speech, interact with individual differ-ences in the learner’s cognitive abilities to shape the process of language learning in children and adults. Her interests also include the interaction of emotion and communication, acquisition and representation of dialects, as well as evolutionary perspectives on language acquisition and use. Together, Kempe and Brooks developed a methodology that harnesses the strict control of lan-guage input found in artificial language learning studies to examine the simultaneous acquisition of phonology, morphosyntax, and vocabulary of natural languages in the laboratory. Kempe has authored or coauthored over 50 scientific papers and book chapters including the textbook Language Development, coauthored with Patricia J. Brooks.