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Ozge Gurcanli
Lecturer in Psychology
  • Ph.D Cognitive Science (2012) Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • B.A. Psychology (2002) Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • MA Course Work Linguistics (2003-2006) Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey
Primary Department
   Department of Psychological Sciences
Department Affiliations
  • Department of Psychological Sciences
     Rice Website
    Research Areas
     Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics, Linguistics

    Research Statement


    How do we talk about what’s happening in the world around us? My research addresses this question by exploring the mapping between event and linguistic representations. I take both a cross-linguistic and a developmental approach to investigate the mechanisms that link these core knowledge systems.

    What tools does language provide about talking about events? Language offers a toolbox for talking about various event types. By combining different tools, information about different properties of an event can be distributed throughout the clause. The ways that these tools are combined can be language-specific but all languages have some way of expressing the distinctions among a range of events.

    How do children learn to use their language-specific toolbox? The ways children initially use the tools of their language provides insight into the different components of linguistic representations. By comparing and contrasting children speaking different languages, I try to understand the complex but rich interaction between the universal and language-specific building blocks of the mapping between events and language.

    Teaching Areas
     Active Learning, Digital Psychological Sciences, Experiential Learning, Learning Through Community Service
    Selected Publications

    Gentner,D., Ozyurek, A., Goldin-Meadow, S. & Gurcanli, O. "Spatial language supports spatial cognition." Cognitive Processing, 10: 133-134.

     Refereed articles

    Gürcanlı, Özge "When Does Active Learning Get Too Active? Lessons from an Editing-to-learn Active Learning Strategy.." Teaching of PsychologySubmitted


    Gentner, D., Ozyurek, A., Gurcanli, O.,& Goldin-Meadow, S. "Spatial language facilitates spatial cognition: Evidence from children who lack language input.." Cognition, 127: 318-330.

     Refereed conference papers

    Gurcanli, O., Ozyurek, A., & Nakipoglu, M. "Shared information and argument omission in Turkish.." Proceedings of the 31st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (2007) : 267-273.

     Conference Paper

    Gürcanlı, Ö., Landau, B., & Wilson, C. (2010). Spatial factors that contribute to linguistic choice in English. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of Linguistic Society of America, Baltimore, January.


    Gentner, D., Özyürek, A., Gürcanlı, Ö., Goldin-Meadow, S. (2009). Spatial language supports spatial cognition: Evidence from deaf homesigners. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference of Spatial Cognition: Spatial Cognition and Action, Rome, Italy, September


    Gürcanlı, Ö & Landau, B. (2009). The language of joining and separating: Syntactic and semantic contributions. Paper presented at Society of Research in Child Development, Denver, April


    Gentner, D., Özyürek, A., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Gürcanlı, Ö. (2008). Spatial language potentiates spatial cognition: Evidence from deaf homesigners. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Conference, Chicago, February.


    Gürcanlı, Ö & Landau, B. (2008). Putting things together: How children and adults distribute spatial information across the clause. BU Conference on Child Language Development, Boston, November.


    Gentner, D., Özyürek, A., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Gürcanlı, Ö. (2007). Does lack of conventional language hamper children’s spatial cognition? Presented as part of the symposium “Thinking with and without language”, European Cognitive Science Conference, Delphi, Greece, May


    Gürcanlı, Ö., Nakipoglu Demiralp, M., & Özyürek, A. (2006). Shared information and argument omission in Turkish. Paper presented at the Boston University Conference for Child Language Development, Boston, November


    Gürcanlı, Ö. & Öztürk, B. (2005). phrases and double object constructions in Turkish. XIXth National Congress for Linguistics, Harran, Turkey (In Turkish)

     Conference abstracts

    "When Does It Get Too Experiential? Lessons From An Experiential-Learning Developmental Psychology Course With A Documentary Component.." (2017)

     Invited Talks

    Rice University, The Program for Writing and Communication and Digital Media Commons, Workshop, Designing and Assessing Video and Multimedia Assignments


    Rice University, Department of Psychology, I/O Brown Bag

    Non-traditional Careers In Academia. How did I find myself in innovative teaching?”


    Rice University, Department of Psychology, CogTea, “The acquisiton of symmetrical verbs: Syntactic Bootstrapping and Truth-Value Judgement”


    Rice University, Linguistics, Colloquium “Why are symmetrical verbs resistant to the meaning contribution of “together” and “each other”?”


    University of Houston, Department of Psychology, “Development of lexical and syntactic representations: The acquisition of symmetrical and asymmetrical verbs”


    "Testing Activity-Based Versus Reading-Based In-Class Exercises: A Pilot Study ." Rice University, Department of Psychology, Teaching Interest Group, Houston, TX. (September, 2017)


    Rice University, Scientia, Panel Discussion, “The Traditional Classroom: What Future?”


    "Documentary Project as an Active Learning Strategy in a Developmental Psychology Course." ICCTL 2018: International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, Miami, Florida, USA. (Accepted, 2018, March)


    Gürcanlı, Ö., Tarlton, G., & Ding, H. (2014). Children know that symmetrical verbs are a heterogeneous category. Poster presented at Annual Meeting of Linguistic Society of America, Minneapolis, January.


    Gürcanlı, Ö & Landau, B. (2011). Representation and acquisition of symmetrical verbs. Poster presented at the Cognitive Science Society, Boston, July.

    Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
     Favorite Professor, Will Rice College, Rice University, Will Rice College (Spring 2017)

     Recognition: the 32nd Scholar-Athlete Banquet, Scholar Athlete Division of Athletics Department at Rice University (2018)

     Favorite Professor, Will Rice College, Rice University, Will Rice University (Fall 2017)

     Recognition: the 30th Scholar-Athlete Banquet, (2016)

     Recognition: the 28th Scholar-Athlete Banquet,