Department Chair:
Nancy Darling

Administrative Assistant:
Joan Gleason, Severance Hall Building Rep. Academic Year-Severance Hall room reservations email Summer-Severance Hall room reservations email

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8355
Fax: (440) 775-8356

Severance Hall
120 West Lorain
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Office Hours: Academic Year - Monday through Friday - 8:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Summer Hours June to August - Monday through Friday TBD

Joy Hanna

Joy Hanna

Assistant Professor

Joy Hanna, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Contact Information


Severance Laboratory 213
(440) 775-5317

Personal Office Hours:
Monday & Tuesday 1:00-2:15 p.m. or by appointment

Joy Hanna

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, Vassar College, 1991 (Cognitive Science)
  • Master of Arts, University Rochester, 1999 (Brain and Cognitive Sciences)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University Rochester, 2001 (Brain and Cognitive Sciences)
  • NIH National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow, SUNY Stony Brook, 2001-2004

I am a psycholinguist with a background in cognitive science, cognitive psychology, and linguistics. After my graduate training, I was a postdoctoral fellow at SUNY Stony Brook, working on ways to study comprehension during conversational interaction using head-mounted eyetracking technology. At Oberlin, I have set up two eyetracking laboratories, one for use in experiments that use computer-based displays and one for use in experiments where participants are in face-to-face, conversational settings.

I participate in the team-taught introductory course (Introduction to Psychological Science), and teach Cognitive PsychologyAdvanced Methods in Cognitive Psychology, and an upper level Seminar in Psycholinguistics. I have also developed a First Year Seminar called Psychological Mythbusters: What do we believe, why do we believe it, and is it true?

My research focuses on the sources of information that contribute to moment-by-moment language comprehension, including linguistic factors (such as syntax and semantics), as well as factors that come from the context of being involved in a conversation (such as the common ground between interlocutors, their spatial perspectives, or their eye gaze). I have also conducted eyetracking reading experiments that looked at how prior discourse context affects within-sentence ambiguity resolution.


Selected articles:

Hanna, J.E., Brennan, S.E., & Savietta, K.J. (Under revision). Costs and benefits of using a speaker's eye gaze in face-to-face communication. Accepted with revisions at Cognitive Science.

Brown-Schmidt, S. & Hanna, J.E. (2011).  Talking in another person's shoes: Incremental perspective-taking in language processing.  Dialog and Discourse, 2, 11-33.

Brennan, S.E. & Hanna, J.E. (2009). Partner-specific adaptation in dialogue.  Topics in Cognitive Science (Special Issue on Joint Action), 1, 274-291.

Hanna, J.E. & Brennan, S.E. (2007).  Speakers' eye gaze disambiguates referring expressions early during face-to-face conversation.  Journal of Memory and Language, 57, 596-616.

Hanna, J.E. & Tanenhaus, M.K. (2004). Pragmatic effects on reference resolution in a collaborative task: evidence from eye movements. Cognitive Science, 28, 105-115.

Hanna, J.E., Tanenhaus, M.K., & Trueswell, J.C. (2003). The effects of common ground and perspective on domains of referential interpretation. Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 43-61.



NSF HCC-Small: Establishing and breaking conceptual pacts with dialog partners.  Co-PI on collaborative grant with D. Byron (joint review by Information and Intelligent Systems/Human Centered Computing and Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences/Perception, Action, and Cognition).  10/2007-9/2010; No cost extension through 9/2011; NSF approved extensions through 3/2013; Supplement awarded to J.E. Hanna 6/2012.

NIH National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow, SUNY Stony Brook, 2001-2004. Title: The use of perspective during referential communication. Sponsor: Dr. Susan E. Brennan.