Dr Jelena Havelka

Dr Jelena Havelka

Associate Professor
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor

Summary: My research interests include investigation of the reading process in different languages and orthographies, vocabulary acquisition, bilingualism and role of emotion in language and memory processing.

Location: Room G.19, Psychology Building


My main research interest is psychology of language and memory with several distinct lines of enquiry:

1.    Reading process. A particular focus of my work in this area has been on evaluating models of reading aloud in the light of cross-linguistic data, e.g. data obtained in Japanese and Serbian language, and investigating factors which influence the reading process, e.g. age of acquisition, frequency, consistency, and multi-letter graphemes. Recently, as part of Successful Childhood Development Grand Challenge I have expanded this work to include the study of reading acquisition in monolingual and bilingual children.

2.    Bilingualism and second language learning. I have been involved in research on emotional correlates of using the first and/or second language, organisation of bilingual memory, and the process of learning new vocabulary. Understanding the dynamics of language processes in bilinguals is of considerable interest for society given that the modern world is characterised by ever increasing trans-national migration, and obtaining high levels of proficiency in a foreign language is of great economic, social, and emotional importance for an increasing number of people. This work feeds into Health and Wellbeing Grand Challenge.

3.    Impact of life changes and transitions on autobiographical memory and the sense of self. As a member of “living in history” project, in collaboration with Professor Norman Brown (University of Alberta, Canada), we have investigated the circumstances under which major public events play a role in organising autobiographical memory. Recently this collaboration has expanded to include assessing the material and psychological impact of life transitions. This project feeds into Behaviour Change Grand Challenge.

In my research I use a combination of behavioural and neurophysiological methods thus contributing to The Nervous System and its Disorders Grand Challenge.