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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




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

    Lesions impairing regular versus irregular past tense production. NeuroImage: Clinical, 3, 438-449. DOI:10.1016/j.nicl.2013.10.005. Publication link: 4f44a103-18cb-4e55-89d2-47912caeff54
  • Roberts, D. J., Woollams, A. M., Kim, E., Beeson, P. M., 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. DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhs224. Publication link: e8cab104-5530-497a-aecd-344d9de8ff14 | PubMed:22923086







  • Hauk, O., Patterson, K., Woollams, A., Cooper-Pye, E., Pulvermüller, F., & Rogers, T. T. (2007).

    How the camel lost its hump: The impact of object typicality on event-related potential signals in object decision. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(8), 1338-1353. DOI:10.1162/jocn.2007.19.8.1338. Publication link: d1e9a457-d352-40b5-98be-75068a58bac3
  • Woollams, A. M., Ralph, M. A. L., Plaut, D. C., & Patterson, K. (2007).

    SD-squared: On the association between semantic dementia and surface dyslexia. Psychological Review, 114(2), 316-339. DOI:10.1037/0033-295X.114.2.316. Publication link: 61833dde-7910-4c48-ab41-73d126bd703a


  • Lambon Ralph, M., Jefferies, E., Woollams, A. M., Patterson, K., Lambon, R. M. A., Jones, R., ... Rogers, T. T. (2006).

    'Pre-semantic' cognition in semantic dementia: Six deficits in search of an explanation.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18. . Publication link: 433e3e71-569e-4c8c-b88d-870a7649613a
  • Woollams, A. M., Hauk, O., Patterson, K., 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). . Publication link: 02222813-f0ac-427c-8061-1ca5f81ea751


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Research projects