• Psychology

Alexandra Frazer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Cognitive Psychology, Psychology of Language
Moyer Hall - Room 224
afrazer@muhlenberg.edu
484-664-4313
Fax: 484-664-5627

Background
B.A., M.A., Northern Arizona University; Ph.D., Lehigh University

Professor Frazer started teaching at Muhlenberg in 2013 and teaches Introduction to Psychology, Psychological Statistics, Research Methods, Sensation and Perception, Cognitive Processes, a seminar on the Psychology of Language, and also teaches the training course for new Learning Assistants – Adult Personal and Cognitive Development. She previously taught classes at Lehigh University and at Lafayette College.

Research Interests
My work is in cognitive psychology. My research interests include psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, the representation of conceptual knowledge, language production and comprehension, memory, attention, and language and the media.

I am currently pursuing language research along three major lines. First, I am interested in how recent selection and use of certain grammatical structures influences later use of those same structures and syntactic alternatives (e.g. active/passive alternation). I am also interested in how the availability of to-be-spoken words influences structural selection. In addition to my work on syntactic representation, I am researching word form production by considering which components of words are the functional units of phonological encoding using the form preparation task. Essentially in this task, participants are given a group of words that share the initial sounds (e.g. bake beach, bore, boot) and asked to iteratively name them. The degree of relatedness in sounds is varied, and we compare how easily participants can access those words compared to ones that do not share a relationship. Last but not least, I am also studying the combined and separate effects of phonological form preparation, a facilitatory attentional process (described above), and semantic interference, which involves unconscious adaptation in memory, using blocked cyclic picture naming.

My previous work has been on sentence structure when non-professional writers describe interpersonal and sexual violence; specifically I have found that people’s selection of active or passive voice in descriptions of spousal violence is often influenced by the gender of the victim relative to the gender of the perpetrator. I am interested in expanding this line of work to better understand how the linguistic presentation of information may alter the assignment of blame and responsibility on a more general level. I have recently worked on a project with Muhlenberg students, examining how victim-blaming in police shootings may be expressed linguistically.

 

Selected Publications

  • Frazer, A.K., O’Seaghdha, P.G., Munoz-Avila, H., & Roessler, N. (2014). Competitor activation and semantic interference: Evidence from combined phonological and semantic similarity. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1108-1113 ). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • O’Seaghdha, P.G. & Frazer, A.K. (2014). The exception does not rule: Attention constrains form preparation in word production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40, 797-810. doi: 10.1037/a0035576
  • Frazer, A.K., & O’Seaghdha, P.G. (2011). Phrase Structure Priming Across Sentences: Facilitation or Reconfiguration? In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1140-1145). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Frazer, A.K., & Miller, M.D. (2009). Double standards in sentence structure: Passive voice in narratives describing domestic violence. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 28 (1), 62-71. doi: 10.1177/0261927X08325883

 Selected Presentations

  • Frazer, A.K., & O’Seaghdha, P.G. (November, 2015). Cumulative and immediate priming in sentence production. Poster presented at the 56th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Chicago, IL, USA.
  • Frazer, A.K., O’Seaghdha, P.G., & Rehrig, G.* (November, 2014). Structural variation does not prevent form preparation in word production: Support for an attentional account. Poster accepted for presentation at the 55th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Long Beach, CA, USA.
  • Frazer, A.K., O’Seaghdha, P.G., Munoz-Avila, H., & Roessler, N.* (July, 2014). Competitor activation and semantic interference: Evidence from combined phonological and semantic similarity. Paper presented at the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Quebec City, Canada.
  • O’Seaghdha, P.G., Packer, D., Frazer, A.K., Preusse, K.*, Hatalis, K., Munoz-Avila, H., & Hupbach, A. (November, 2013). Does mere co-activation drive semantic interference? Paper presented at the 54th annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Frazer, A.K. & O’Seaghdha, P.G. (July, 2012). Does phrase structure priming exist? Poster presented at the 7th International Workshop on Language Production, New York, New York.
  • Frazer, A.K. & O’Seaghdha, P.G. (July, 2011). Phrase structure priming across sentences: Facilitation or reconfiguration? Poster presented at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Boston, MA.
  • Frazer, A.K. & O’Seaghdha, P.G. (November, 2010). Flexible planning in word production. Poster presented at the 51st annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Frazer, A.K., Knicely, J.L., & O’Seaghdha, P. G. (July, 2009). Expect the unexpected: Robust planning processes in speech production. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Frazer, A.K. & Miller, M.D. (April, 2007). Gender of attacker and victim affects sentence structure in descriptions of interpersonal violence. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Denver CO.