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Director - Experimental Psychology



Dr. Ashby studies the cognitive processes involved in silent reading by monitoring eye movements and recording brain waves. Early in her career, Dr. Ashby learned about reading development and instruction at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Massachusetts General Hospital Language Clinic. She taught writing workshop and content-area reading to inner-city young adults, then tutored children who struggled learning to read. In Ohio, she established the Language Training Institute at Marburn Academy to provide professional learning for teachers and supplemental instruction for students with dyslexia. Her work with dyslexic readers motivated an interest in reading research, which led to earning a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 2006. She then completed a two-year postdoc with Dr. Keith Rayner and Dr. Lisa Sanders in order to investigate phonological processing early in word recognition using eye movements and EEG. She co-authored Psychology of Reading (2012). In recent years, Dr. Ashby refreshed her knowledge of reading instruction and assessment by tutoring several children who struggled with reading. She served as the Senior Director of Education at the Stern Center for Language and Learning in Vermont, where she provided professional learning to advance the literacy knowledge of elementary school teachers. Presently, Jane serves as the Director of the Experimental Psychology Program here at CMU.

Drieghe, D., Veldre, A., Fitzsimmons, G., Ashby, J., Andrews, S. (2019). The influence of number of syllables on word skipping during reading revisited. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 26(2), 616-621.

Ashby, J., Roncero, C., de Almeida, R.G., & Agauas, S.J. (2017). The early processing of metaphors and similes: Evidence from eye movementsThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Jared, D., Ashby, J., Agauas, S.J., Levy, B.A. (2016). Phonological activation of word meanings in Grade 5 readers. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Ashby, J. (2016). Why does prosody accompany fluency? Re-conceptualizing the role of phonology in reading. In A. Khateb and I.B. Kochova (Eds.) Reading Fluency (pp. 65-89). Springer International Publishing.

Scherr, K.C., Agauas, S.J., Ashby, J. (2015). The text matters: eye movements reflect the cognitive processing of interrogation rightsApplied Cognitive Psychology.

Ashby, J., Dix, H., Bontrager, M., Dey, R., & Archer, A. (2013). Phonemic awareness contributes to text reading fluency: Evidence from eye movements. School Psychology Review, 42(2), 157-170.

Halderman, L.K., Ashby, J., Perfetti, C. (2012) Phonology: An early and integral role in identifying words. In J.S. Adelman (Ed.), Visual word recognition (pp.207-228). Psychology Press.

Rayner, K., Pollatsek, A., Ashby, J., & Clifton, Jr., C.E. (2012). The Psychology of Reading. Psychology Press.

Ashby, J. (2010). Phonology is fundamental in skilled reading: Evidence from ERPs. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 95-100.

Ashby, J., Sanders, L.D., Kingston, J. (2009). Skilled readers begin processing phonological features by 80 ms: evidence from ERPs. Biological Psychology, 80, 84-94.

Dr. Ashby's present research investigates how adults and children process text by recording eye movements during silent reading. Her early research provides eye movement and electrophysiological evidence that skilled readers recognize words during silent reading through fast phonological activation that operates at the front end of word recognition (see Halderman, Ashby, & Perfetti, 2012 for a review). Current studies examine questions about the intersection of reading, speech, hearing, and visual processes in skilled readers. Collaborative projects investigate differences between typical, hearing readers and readers with cochlear implants as well as reading differences between children with speech/language impairment (SLI) and children with dyslexia without SLI.  The findings extend our understanding of skilled reading processes, reading processes in special populations, and reading development.