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Dr Anna Woollams

Photograph of Anna Woollams

Senior Lecturer

Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit (NARU)
School of Psychological Sciences
Room T22, Zochonis Building
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PL


My research interests focus on multiple aspects of normal and disordered language processing.  I have primarily considered normal reading and the way in which this ability can be disrupted subsequent to brain damage, in particular by illnesses such as Semantic Dementia and Progressive NonFluent Aphasia.

The theoretical context of this work is provided by connectionist models of language processing.  These models allow for consideration of the impact of systematic individual differences upon normal reading behaviour and also of the consequences that these may have for performance seen after brain damage.

I am currently validating and extending my previous work using neuroimaging techniques and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.  In the future, I aim to apply the predictions of connectionist models to the processes involved in the very first stages of literacy acquisition, using behavioural and electrophysiological measures.


My academic life in Australia included completion of a doctorate in experimental psycholinguistics within the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science in 2002, followed by a Psychology Lectureship at the University of Wollongong in 2003.  I then moved to the UK in order to take up a postdoctoral research position within the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge in 2004. I moved to a Psychology Lectureship at the University of Manchester in 2007, where I currently conduct research within the Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Group (NARU).

Collaborators and affiliated staff

Current Doctoral Students:

Isobel McMillan

Ruth Webster

Magaret Sandars Smith

Michell Hall

Current Collaborators:

Professor Karalyn Patterson

Professor Matt Lambon Ralph

Professor Steven Rapcsak

Dr Anna Theakston

Dr Joanna Moy

Dr Daniel Roberts

Dr Lotte Meteyard

Dr Paul Hoffman

Dr Holly Robson

Dr Rebecca Butler

Dr Lauren Cloutman

Selected publications


  • Hoffman, P., Lambon Ralph, M. & Woollams, A (2015).

    Triangulation of the neurocomputational architecture underpinning reading aloud. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(28), E3719-E3728. eScholarID:277284 | DOI:10.1073/pnas.1502032112

  • Woollams, A (2015).

    For richer or poorer? Imageability effects in semantic dementia patients' reading aloud. Neuropsychologia, 76, 254-263. eScholarID:277279 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.03.023


  • Butler, R., Ralph, M. & Woollams, A (2014).

    Capturing multidimensionality in stroke aphasia: Mapping principal behavioural components to neural structures. Brain, 137(12), 3248-3266. eScholarID:277276 | DOI:10.1093/brain/awu286

  • Woollams, A.M. (2014).

    Connectionist Neuropsychology: Uncovering ultimate causes of acquired dyslexia. Philosophical Transations of the Royal Society B, eScholarID:211006


  • Meteyard, L., Price, C., Woollams, A. & Aydelott, J (2013).

    Lesions impairing regular versus irregular past tense production. NeuroImage: Clinical, 3, 438-449. eScholarID:277281 | DOI:10.1016/j.nicl.2013.10.005

  • Roberts, D.J., Woollams, A.M., Kim, E., Beeson, P., Rapcsak, S.Z., & Lambon Ralph, M.A. (2013).

    Efficient Visual Object and Word Recognition Relies on High Spatial Frequency Coding in the Left Posterior Fusiform Gyrus: Evidence from a Case-Series of Patients with Ventral Occipito-Temporal Cortex Damage. Cerebral Cortex, 23(11), 2568-2580. eScholarID:176462 | DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhs224


  • Evans, G., Ralph, M. & Woollams, A (2012).

    What's in a word? A parametric study of semantic influences on visual word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 19(2), 325-331. eScholarID:176281 | DOI:10.3758/s13423-011-0213-7

  • Woollams, A.M. & Patterson, K. (2012).

    The consequences of progressive phonological impairment for reading aloud. Neuropsychologia, 50(14), 3469-3477. eScholarID:176460 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.09.020


  • Welbourne, S., Woollams, A., Crisp, J. & Ralph, M (2011).

    The role of plasticity-related functional reorganization in the explanation of central dyslexias. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 28(2), 65-108. eScholarID:176279 | DOI:10.1080/02643294.2011.621937

  • Woollams, A., Silani, G., Okada, K., Patterson, K. & Price, C (2011).

    Word or word-like? Dissociating orthographic typicality from lexicality in the left occipito-temporal cortex. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 23(4), 992. eScholarID:110444 | PMID:20429854 | DOI:10.1162/jocn.2010.21502


  • Roberts, D., Ralph, M. & Woollams, A (2010).

    When does less yield more? The impact of severity upon implicit recognition in pure alexia. NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA, 48(9), 2437-2446. eScholarID:110442 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.04.002

  • Woollams, A., Lambon, R., Plaut, D. & Patterson, K (2010).

    SD-Squared Revisited: Reply to Coltheart, Tree, and Saunders (2010). Psychological Review, 117(1), 273-281. eScholarID:85262 | DOI:10.1037/a0017641


  • Knibb, J., Woollams, A., Hodges, J. & Patterson, K (2009).

    Making sense of progressive non-fluent aphasia: An analysis of conversational speech. Brain, 132(10), 2734-2746. eScholarID:85260 | DOI:10.1093/brain/awp207

  • Woollams AM, Joanisse M, Patterson K. (2009).

    Past-tense generation from form versus meaning: Behavioural data and simulation evidence. Journal of Memory and Language, 61, 55-76. eScholarID:1d14856 | DOI:10.1016/j.jml.2009.02.002


  • Hodges J.R, Martinos M, Woollams AM, Patterson K, Adlam A.R. (2008).

    Repeat and Point: Differentiating semantic dementia from progressive non-fluent aphasia. Cortex, 44, 1265-1270. eScholarID:1d14857 | DOI:10.1016/j.cortex.2007.08.018

  • Woollams AM, Cooper-Pye E, Hodges J.R, Patterson K. (2008).

    Anomia: A doubly typical signature of semantic dementia. Neuropsychologia, 46(10), 2503-2514. eScholarID:1d17353 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.04.005


  • Hauk O, Patterson K, Woollams AM, Pye E, Pulvermuller F, Rogers T.T. (2007).

    How the camel lost its hump: The impact of object typicality on ERP signals in object decision. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 1338 - 1353. eScholarID:1d27520 | DOI:10.1162/jocn.2007.19.8.1338

  • Woollams AM, Lambon Ralph MA, D.C. Plaut, K. Patterson. (2007).

    SD-squared: on the association between semantic dementia and surface dyslexia. Psychological Review, 114 no2, eScholarID:1d14614 | DOI:10.1037/0033-295X.114.2.316


  • Hauk O, Patterson K, Woollams AM, Watling L, Pulvermuller F, Rogers T.T. (2006).

    [Q:] When would you prefer a SOSSAGE to a SAUSAGE? [A:] At about 100msec. ERP correlates of orthographic typicality and lexicality in written word recognition. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18(5), 1-15. eScholarID:1d27521

  • Patterson K, Lambon Ralph MA, Jefferies E, Woollams AM, Jones R, Hodges J. R, Rogers T. T. (2006).

    'Pre-semantic' cognition in semantic dementia: Six deficits in search of an explanation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, eScholarID:1d9177


  • Andrews S, Woollams AM, Bond R. (2005).

    Spelling-sound typicality only affects words with digraphs: Further qualifications to the generality of the regularity effect on word naming. Journal of Memory and Language, 53, 567-593. eScholarID:1d14860 | DOI:10.1016/j.jml.2005.04.002

  • Woollams AM. (2005).

    Imageability and ambiguity effects in speeded naming: Convergence and divergence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31(5), 878-890. eScholarID:1d14853 | DOI:10.1037/0278-7393.31.5.878

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Research projects