Lynn K. Perry, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

(305) 284-8481
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Dr. Lynn K. Perry is the principal investigator and faculty advisor of the Object and Word Learning Lab. She is an Associate Professor in the Child Division of the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami. Her research investigates language, categorization, and social interaction in children and adults from typical and atypical populations, in the laboratory, home, and preschool.


2012Ph.D. Developmental Science, University of Iowa
2006B.S. Psychology, Indiana University

Professional Experience

2012 - Faculty, University of Miami, Psychology
2012 - 2015Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Wisconsin-Madison

My Research

I study how children learn individual words and categories, how this process changes over development—or how children learn how to learn words—and what consequences that has for cognition. Imagine a child who is just beginning to produce words. She first hears her mother say CUP in the context of a cluttered mealtime setting. In order to figure out what CUP means, she has to not only locate the particular referent of the word in that moment (e.g., that CUP refers to her sippy cup, and not to her hand, her juice, or the act of drinking), but she also has to understand what properties of the individual cup are relevant for belonging to the category of cups in order to remember the word later and apply it to new cups she encounters (e.g., it is the abstract shape of the object that matters, rather than its sippy lid or its purple plastic material). Adding to the challenge is that this child is not only learning about cups: she needs to learn many other words that refer to all sorts of different objects, actions, and ideas. This problem seems incredibly complex, and yet it is easily solved by even a diaper-wearing toddler. My research addresses this fascinating contradiction, with a major focus on individual differences in learning in children with and without communication disorders, including late talkers, and children with hearing loss or autism spectrum disorder.

Key Publications

Perry, L. K., & Kucker, S. C. (2019). The heterogeneity of word learning biases in late talking children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(3), 554–563.

Perry, L. K., Prince, E. B., Valtierra, A. M., Rivero-Fernandez, C., Ullery, M. A., Katz, L. F., Laursen, B., Messinger, D. S. (2018). A year in words: The dynamics and consequences of language experiences in an intervention classroom. PLOS ONE, 13(7), e0199893.

Perry, L. K., & Saffran, J. R. (2017). Is a pink cow still a cow? Individual differences in toddlers’ vocabulary knowledge and lexical representations. Cognitive Science, 41(4), 1090–1105.