Andy Ellis
Emeritus Professor



I joined the University of York in 1988 after eleven years at Lancaster University. I retired in 2014. During my time at York I served five years as Head of Department and four as Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research. I taught undergraduate modules on Brain and Language, and Face Perception (usually with Andy Young). I supervised many Literature Surveys and Projects. I also supervised 23 PhD and MPhil students to completion. Their research appeared in over 40 publications.

I wrote books on Reading, Writing and Dylexia, Human Cognitive Neuropsychology (with Andy Young) and the Psychology of Language and Communication (with Geoffrey Beattie), all published with Psychology Press. The books were translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Hungarian.

I was President British Neuropsychological Society (2000-02) and was an active member of the Experimental Psychology Society, the Cognitive Section of the BPS, and the British Aphasiology Society, doing spells on the organising committees of all of those societies. At various times I served on the Editorial Boards of the British Journal of Psychology, Brain and Language, Cognitive Neuropsychology and Psicológica. I chaired the Psychology Section of the British Science Association in 2008-9. I was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

I plan to spend my retirement travelling to nice places, eating nice food, and enjoying being a grandfather. In between, I hope to write a book or two on historical topics.

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  • University of Cambridge 
    BA in Natural Sciences (1973)
  • University of Leicester
    PGCE (1974)
  • University of Edinburgh
    PhD, Psychology (1979)
  • University of Lancaster
    Lecturer/Reader, Department of Psychology (1977-1988)
  • University of York
    Professor of Psychology (1988 - 2014)
  • University of York Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research (2000 - 2004)
  • Emeritus Professor of Psychology (2014 - )



My research was primarily concerned with the psychological and neural processes underlying word, object and face recognition. I employed a variety of methods including experimental studies of healthy participants, analysis of processing deficits in patients with dementia and stroke, and direct measurement of human brain activity using fMRI and MEG. I received funding from the Medical Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and the Biology and Biotechnology Research Council. I co-ordinated a European Research Training Network on Language and Brain which helped advance the careers of 19 young researchers in 12 different locations across Europe.

I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with many excellent researchers (and nice people) down the years including Laura Barca, Marc Brysbaert, Cristina Burani, Piers Cornelissen, Fernando Cuetos, Peter Hatcher, Dennis Hay, Cristina Izura, Beth Jefferies, Matt Lambon Ralph, Michal Lavidor, Padraic Monaghan, Catriona Morrison, Karen Sage, Annalena Venneri, Andy Young and Pierluigi Zoccolotti. Two areas of particular interest for me were the role of the two cerebral hemispheres in visual word recognition and the notion that early experience has a disproportionate influence on the structure and functioning of the adult cognitive system (reflected in my publications on "age of acquisition" effects). I have now begun a new chapter of research into historical topics.

Google Scholar page

Selected publications:

  • Ellis, A. W., Raitmayr, O., & Herbst, C. (in press). The K.'s: The Other Couple in the Case of Freud's 'Dora'. Journal of Austrian Studies.
  • Kwok, K. W. R., & Ellis, A. W. (in press). Visual word learning in skilled readers of English. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
  • Urooj, U., Cornelissen, P., Simpson, M. I. G, Wheat, K. L., Barca, L., Woods, W., & Ellis, A. W. (2014). Interactions between visual and semantic processing during object recognition revealed by modulatory effects of age of acquisition. NeuroImage, 87, 256-264. 
  • Barca, L., Cornelissen, P., Simpson, M., Urooj, U., Woods, W., & Ellis, A. W. (2011). The neural basis of the right visual field advantage in reading: an MEG analysis using virtual electrodes. Brain and Language, 118, 53-71.
  • Izura, C., Pérez, M., Agallou, E., Wright, V. C., Marín, J., Stadthagen-Gonzalez, H., & Ellis, A. W. (2011). Age / order of acquisition effects and cumulative learning of foreign words: a word training study. Journal of Memory and Language, 64, 32-58.
  • Cuetos, F., Herrera, E., & Ellis, A. W. (2010). Impaired visual word recognition in Alzheimer’s disease: the role of age of acquisition. Neuropsychologia, 48, 3329-3334.
  • Ellis, A. W., & Brysbaert, M. (2010). Split fovea theory and the role of the two cerebral hemispheres in reading: a review of the evidence. Neuropsychologia, 48, 353-365.
  • Monaghan, P., & Ellis, A. W. (2010). Modeling reading development: Cumulative, incremental learning in a computational model of word naming. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 506-525.
  • Burani, C., Barca, L., & Ellis, A. W. (2006). Orthographic complexity and word naming in Italian: Some words are more transparent than others. Psychological Bulletin and Review, 13, 346-352.
  • Ellis, A. W., Burani, C., Izura, C., Bromiley, A., & Venneri, A. (2006). Traces of vocabulary acquisition in the brain: evidence from covert object naming. Neuroimage, 33, 958-968.
  • Izura, C., & Ellis, A. W. (2004). Age of acquisition effects in translation judgement tasks. Journal of Memory and Language, 50, 165-181.
  • Sage, K., & Ellis, A. W. (2004). Lexical influences in graphemic buffer disorder. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 21, 381–400.
  • Lavidor, M., Ellis, A. W., & Pansky, A. (2002). Case alternation and length effects in the two cerebral hemispheres: A study of English and Hebrew. Brain and Cognition, 50, 257-271.
  • Monaghan, J., & Ellis, A. W. (2002). What, exactly, interacts with spelling-sound consistency in word naming? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 28, 183-206.
  • Ellis, A. W. & Lambon Ralph, M. A. (2000). Age of acquisition effects in adult lexical processing reflect loss of plasticity in maturing systems: Insights from connectionist networks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 26, 1103-1123.
  • Ellis, A. W., & Morrison, C. M. (1998). Real age of acquisition effects in lexical retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 24, 515-523.
  • Hatcher, P., Hulme, C., & Ellis, A. W. (1994). Ameliorating early reading failure by integrating the teaching of reading and phonological skills: The phonological linkage hypothesis. Child Development, 65, 41-57.
  • Ellis, A. W., Young, A. W., & Critchley, E. M. R. (1989). Loss of memory for people following temporal lobe damage. Brain, 112, 1469-1483.
  • Ellis, A. W., Flude, B. M., & Young, A. W. (1987). "Neglect dyslexia" and the early visual processing of letters in words and nonwords. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 4, 439-464.
  • Kay, J., & Ellis, A. W. (1987). A cognitive neuropsychological case study of anomia. Brain, 110, 613-629.
  • Ellis, A. W. (1982). Spelling and writing (and reading and speaking). In A. W. Ellis (Ed.). Normality and pathology in cognitive functions (pp. 113- 146). London : Academic Press.
  • Ellis, A. W. (1980). Errors in speech and short-term memory: the effects of phonemic similarity and syllable position. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19,624- 634. 


Contact details

Andy Ellis
Emeritus Professor
Department of Psychology