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Krista Byers-Heinlein, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychology

Krista Byers-Heinlein, PhD
Office: L-PY 170-10 
Psychology Building,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2208
Website(s): Lab Website


PhD (University of British Columbia)

Research interests

My research investigates infant development, with a focus on language acquisition. I use primarily behavioral methods such as eye tracking, looking-time, sucking, and reaching measures. I am particularly interested in infants growing up in bilingual environments and the mechanisms that they use to acquire two languages simultaneously. Some current projects compare speech perception and word learning in monolingual and bilingual infants. A related line of work investigates bilingual parenting, and how the language strategies used by bilingual families influence children’s language learning. We are now using our findings to detect bilingual children at risk for language impairment and delay. I also have a strong interest in and commitment to large-scale collaborations and Open Science.

I welcome e-mails from prospective MA and PhD students interested in applying to admission to the research training program, who have interests in early bilingualism and Open Science. Please get in touch well before our December 1st deadline.

Teaching activities

PSYC 311

Research Methods II

PSYC 431


PSYC 333

Lifespan Development

PSYC 726

Graduate seminar in bilingualism

Selected publications

For a full list of publications click here

Byers-­Heinlein, K., Morin-­Lessard, E., & Lew-­Williams, C. (2017). Bilingual infants control their languages as they listen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1703220114  link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K. (2017). Bilingualism affects infants’ expectations about how words refer to kinds. Developmental Science, 20(1), e12486, doi: 10.1111/desc.12486   link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K.
, & Garcia, B. (2015). Bilingualism changes children’s beliefs about what is innate. Developmental Science, 18(2), 344-350. doi: 10.1111/desc.12248 link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K. (2014). Languages as categories: Reframing the “one language or two” question in early bilingual development. Language Learning, 64(s2), 184-201. doi: 10.1111/lang.12055 link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K., & Lew-Williams, C. (2013). Bilingualism in the early years: What the science says. LEARNing Landscapes, 7(1), 95-112. link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K., Fennell, C.T., & Werker, J.F. (2013). The development of associative word learning in monolingual and bilingual infants. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16(1), 198-205. doi:10.1017/S1366728912000417 link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K. (2013). Parental language mixing: Its measurement and the relation of mixed input to young bilingual children’s vocabulary size. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16(1), 32-48. doi: 10.1017/S1366728911000010 link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K., Burns, T.F., & Werker, J.F. (2010). The roots of bilingualism in newborns. Psychological Science, 21, 343-348.doi: 10.1177/0956797609360758 link to paper

Byers-Heinlein, K., & Werker, J.F. (2009). Monolingual, bilingual, trilingual: Infants’ language experience influences the development of a word learning heuristic. Developmental Science, 12(5), 815-823. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00902.x link to paper

Werker, J.F., & Byers-Heinlein, K. (2008). Bilingualism in infancy: First steps in perception and comprehension. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(4), 144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2008.01.008 link to paper

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