Thomas G. Bever

Regents' Professor

About Thomas G. Bever

I regularly work with undergraduates and graduate students in Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, Psychology, Neuroscience and Education, always on topics of interest to them, eventually of interest to me.

My own research and teaching is inclues the current revival of “biolinguistics”, the idea that language is a biological object to be studied through the lens of evolution, with experimental and observational tools used in biology. This leads to studies of the causes of language universals aimed at delineating just those universals that are unique to language as opposed to being properties of general cognition, maturation, perception or motor behaviors. This in turn motivates studies of language-like universal processes outside of language, such as in music, spatial cognition, visual perception, animal cognition, child development, bilingual organization and second language learning, motion perception, conspecific recognition. A current theme of my laboratory is the study of the neurological organization for language and cognition as a function of individual and familial left-handedness: this may give us a small window into the epigenetic dynamics involved in the emergence of brain organization for higher functions in the child.


My lab includes the usual array of computers and small booths for running experiments. In addition, we have an active EEG system for assessing aspects of functional brain organization during language and cognitive behaviors and access to several kinds of eye-movement trackers. 

Research Interests

Cognitive science, biolinguistics, psycholinguistics and sentence processing.

Specific current topics include: Genetic variation in Language knowledge, Behavior and Neurological Organization; Second Language learning; Reading; Language and conscioiusness; Cognition and Aesthetics.