Josita Maouene

Josita Maouene

Associate Professor
Office: 2213 AuSable Hall
Phone: 616-331-3369
Lab: 301 W. Fulton Street; 104 Eberhard Center
Web Page:

Office Hours


Developmental Psychology

Courses Taught

PSY 101 - Introductory Psychology
PSY 300 - Research Methods in Psychology
PSY 301 - Child Development
PSY 364 - Life-Span Developmental Psychology
PSY 400 - Advanced Research Methods

Current Research Interests

My research focuses on the acquisition of verb meaning in children from 2 to 6 years of age. I take an embodied perspective which means I am looking at what a child has at her disposal (body parts, objects, emotions, rhythm, familiar places, sequences of actions) and I try to build the case that these are fundamental building blocks of verb meanings in children. As a developmental psychologist I compare younger children, older children and adults on experimental tasks, associations, corpus studies, fmri. I am also doing a collaborative work on the development of early noun networks (by 36 months) and on the automatization of higher-level noun categories from their features.

Representative Publications

Maouene, J. C., Sethuraman, N., Maouene, M. M., & Otieno, S. (2016). Contingencies between Verbs, Body Parts, and Argument Structures in Maternal and Child Speech: A Corpus Study. Language and Cognition8(2), 237–282.

Maouene, J., Laakso, A., & Smith, L.B. Object associations of early-learned "light" and "heavy" English verbs. In press. First Language.

Hills,T., Maouene, J., Riordan, B. & Smith, L., B. (2010). Early Word Learning: Contextual Diversity and the Associative Structure of Adult Language. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 259-273.

Maouene, J. Hidaka, S. & Smith B. L. (2008) Body parts and early-learned verbs. Cognitive Science, 32(7), 1200-1216.

Harman James K. & Maouene J. (2009). Auditory verb perception recruits motor systems in the developing brain: an fMRI investigation, Developmental Science, on-line, Sept.1 (early view).

T. Hills, M. Maouene, J. Maouene, A. Sheya & L.B. Smith. Early semantic Networks: Preferential Attachment or Preferential Acquisition? (2009) Psychological Science, 20 (6), 729-739.

T. Hills, M. Maouene, J. Maouene, A. Sheya & L.B. Smith. (2009) Categorical Structure in Early Semantic Networks of Nouns. Cognition, 112, 381-396.

Smith, L., Maouene, J., & Hidaka, S. (2007). The body and children's word learning, in J. M. Plumert & J. Spencer (Eds.), Emerging landscapes of mind: Mapping the nature of change in spatial cognitive development. New York: Oxford University Press.

Page last modified January 11, 2018