Elena Levy

Associate Professor


Dr. Elena Levy received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Chicago. Her current research is concerned with the development of language and thought in young children, including the coordination of speech with gestures and other forms of nonverbal communication to form a single, unified communication system. She is currently collecting narrations of movies from children and adults of different ages, looking at changes over time in how language is used to create thematic summaries of the stories they tell. She is also analyzing the use of speech and gesture in videorecordings of young children’s spontaneous speech. Many students from her undergraduate classes are assisting her in these projects.

Named Faculty of the Year in 1999-2000, Dr. Levy regularly teaches the Psychology of Language, Developmental Psychology, and History and Systems of Psychology and important special seminars, such as Disorders of Language and the Brain, and A Cognitive Science Approach to Autism and Dyslexia.

Dr. Levy encourages students to conduct research projects, both in her classes and in one-on-one student contact. Examples of past undergraduate research projects are: “The Development of Children’s Story-Telling Skills,” “The Effect of Repeated Reproductions on Verbal Summaries,” “Phonemic Analysis of Readers-at-Risk,” and “Promoting Sources of Motivation for Elementary School Children.”

Students combine research and direct experience working with learning-disabled children in Dr. Levy’s Reading Program, in which students work in an afterschool center with children who are at risk for reading disabilities.

Recent Publications:

Levy, E.T. (2011). Constructing and pre-constructing coherent accounts of the social world. Narrative Inquiry, 21:1.

Levy, E.T. (2009-10). The Mediation of Coherent Discourse by Kinesthetic Reenactment: A Case Study of an Autistic Adolescent, Part II. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 29, pp. 41-70.

Levy, E.T. (2008). Pre-construction of third-person elicited narratives: Relationships between short- and long-term language change. Narrative Inquiry, 18:2, 274-298.

Duncan, S., Cassell, J., & Levy, E. (Eds.) (2007). Gesture and the Dynamic Dimension of Language: Essays in Honor of David McNeill. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Passonneau, R.J., Goodkind, A., & Levy, E.T. (2007). Annotation of children’s oral narrations: Modeling emergent narrative skills for computational applications. In: Proceedings of the FLAIRS-20 Conference, Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society, Special Track on Applied Natural Language Processing. Key West, Florida, May 7-9, 2007. AAAI Press.

Elena Levy
Contact Information
Phone(203) 251-8423
Office Location3.47