Accessibility statement

Silvia P. Gennari
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor)



  • Comahue National University, Argentina BSc, MA (1990)
  • Brown University, MSc in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences (1996)
  • Brown University, PhD in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences (1999)


Graduated from Brown University in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences. After 4 years postdoctoral research on language processing and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Maryland and the University of Wisconsin (USA), she moved to a lectureship at Sussex before joining York in 2005.

Departmental roles

She teaches Introduction to Psychology of Language and Brain and Language in the first and second year of the undergraduate degree. She also offers advanced modules on language and cognition in the third year of the undergraduate program.

University roles

Admission officer for Postgraduate Taught programmes. Director of the MRes programme



Sentence production and comprehension, cognitive neuroscience of language, representing event and time in language and memory, the interaction of language, attention and cognition in different languages.


I work on several interrelated areas. One area concerns the representation of event structure in language and memory, e.g., how we process and recollect events that we observe or hear about, and more generally, how we store and recollect familiar events  (e.g., cooking). This may include research on the influence of native language on processing and remembering information, e.g., by comparisons across different languages.

Another area concerns sentence processing, and specifically, the relationship between sentence production and comprehension throughout development and in adults, including comparisons across different languages. 

I would be happy to supervise projects in these areas using neuro-imaging, eye-tracking and other behavioural techniques.

Research group(s)

  • Language Processing


  • Maryellen MacDonald  - University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Barbara Malt - University of Lehigh
  • Garreth Gaskell, Jelena Mirkovic - University of York
  • Marta Coll-Florit  - Open University of Catalonia, Spain
  • Manuel de Vega - University of Laguna, Spain


Selected publications

  • Wang, Y., Gareth Gaskell, M., & Gennari, S. P. (2024). Influences of learned verbal labels and sleep on temporal event memoryJournal of Memory and Language138
  • Wu, S. H., Henderson, L., Gennari, S. P. (2022) Animacy interactions with individual variability in sentence production and comprehension reveal similar lexically driven competitive processes, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.  
  • Wu, S. H., Henderson, L., Gennari, S. P. (2022) Animacy-induced conflict in sentence production and comprehension from late childhood to adolescence, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 217. 
  • Wang Y. & Gennari, S. P. (2019) How language and event recall can shape memory for time, Cognitive Psychology, 108, 1-21.
  • Mollo, G., Jefferies, E. Cornelissen, P. Gennari, S. P. (2018) Context-dependent lexical ambiguity resolution: MEG evidence for the time- course of activity in left inferior frontal gyrus and posterior middle temporal gyrus, Brain and Language, 177-178, 23-36.
  • Faber, M. & Gennari, S. P. (2017) Effects of learned episodic event structure on prospective duration judgments, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 43(8),1203-1214.
  • Humphreys, G., Mirkovic, J., Gennari, S. P. (2016) Similarity-based competition in relative clause production and comprehension, Journal of Memory and Language, 89, 200-221
  • Faber, M. and Gennari, S. P. (2015) In search of lost time: reconstructing the unfolding of events from memory, Cognition, 143, 193-202.
  • Malt, B. C., Ameel, E., Imai, M., Gennari, S. P., Saji, N., Majid, A. (2014) Human Locomotion in languages: constraints on moving and meaning, Journal of Memory and Language, 74, 107-123.
  • Humphreys, G., L. and Gennari S. P. (2014)  Competitive mechanisms in sentence processing: common and distinct production and reading comprehension networks linked to the prefrontal cortex, NeuroImage, 84, 354-366.
  • Humphreys, G., Newling, K., Jennings, C., Gennari, S. P. (2013) Motions and actions in language: Semantic representations in occipitotemporal cortex, Brain and Language, 125, 94-105.
  • Urrutia, M., Gennari, S. P., De Vega, M. (2012)  Counterfactuals in action: An fMRI study of counterfactual sentences describing physical effort, Neuropsychologia, 50, 3663-3672.
  • Gennari, S. P., Mirkovic, J., MacDonald, M. C. (2012). Animacy and competition in relative clause production: a cross-linguistic investigation, Cognitive Psychology, 65, 141-176.
  • Coll-Florit, M. & Gennari. S. P. (2011). Time in language: Event duration in sentence comprehension, Cognitive Psychology, 62, 41-79.
  • Rodriguez-Ferreiro, J., Gennari, S. P., Davies, R., Cuetos, F. (2011). Neural correlates of abstract verb processing, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(1), 106-118.
  • Moody, C. L., and Gennari, S. P. (2010). Effects of implied physical effort in sensory-motor and pre-frontal cortex during language comprehension, NeuroImage, 49, 782-793.
  • Gennari, S. P., and MacDonald, M. C. (2009). Linking production and comprehension processes: The case of relative clauses, Cognition, 111, 1-23.
  • Malt, B. C., Gennari, S. P., Imai, M., Ameel, E., Tsuda, N., and Majid, A. (2008). Talking about walking: Biomechanics and the language of locomotion, Psychological Science, 19, 232-240.
  • Gennari, S. P., and MacDonald, M. C. (2008). Semantic indeterminacy in object relative clauses, Journal of Memory and Language, 58, 161-187.
  • Gennari, S. P., MacDonald, M. C., Postle, B. R. and Seidenberg, M. S. (2007). Context-dependent interpretation of Words: Evidence for interactive neural processes, NeuroImage, 35, 1278-1286.
  • Gennari, S. Poeppel, D. (2003).  Processing correlates of lexical-semantic complexity, Cognition, 89(1), B27-41.
  • Gennari, S. P., Sloman, S., Malt, B., and Fitch, T. (2002). Motion events in language and cognition, Cognition, 83, 49-79.

Full publications list

See the York Research Database for a full list of publications. 



  • Introduction to psychology of Language
  • Brain and Language
  • Language and Cognition

External activities


  • Society for the Neurobiology of Language
  • Cognitive Science Society
  • Experimental Psychology Society

Editorial duties

  • Cognition - Past Action and Senior editor, Editorial board member
  • Language, Cognition and Neuroscience - Editorial board member

Contact details

Dr Silvia Gennari
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor)
Department of Psychology
Room PS/C225

Tel: 01904 322877