Benjamin Swets

Benjamin Swets

Professor - Cognitive Psychology/Psycholinguistics

  • B.A., Hope College
  • M.A., Ph.D., Michigan State University

Office: 2317 Au Sable Hall

Phone: (616) 331-2169



Cognitive Psychology

Courses Taught

PSY 101 - Introductory Psychology
PSY 300 - Research Methods
PSY 357 - Psychology of Language
PSY 365 - Cognition

Research Interests

One overall theme drives much of my work: the ability of people using language to flexibly adapt to internal and external limitations. The different strategies available to people producing and comprehending language reveals a language system that is adaptive to many cognitive, environmental and task constraints. I view language as a processing system that requires the real-time integration of information. How this system can adapt to its environment could answer many unresolved questions of architecture in psycholinguistics. To this end, my past and current work has focused on such topics as the flexibility with which people plan sentences in advance, working memory constraints on language comprehension and production, and the influence of situational goals and real-time pressures on language processes.

Representative Publications


Swets, B., Petrone, C., Fuchs, S., & Krivokapić, J. (2021). A cross-linguistic study of individual differences in speech planning. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1439. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.655516 link   

Ivanova, I., Horton, W.S., Swets, B., Kleinman, D., & Ferreira, V. S (2020). Structural alignment in dialogue and monologue (and what attention may have to do with it). Journal of Memory and Language, 110, 104052.

Swets, B., & Kurby, C. A. (2016). Eye movements reveal the influence of event structure on reading behavior. Cognitive Science, 40, 466–480. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12240 link

Swets, B., Jacovina, M. E., & Gerrig, R. J. (2014). Individual differences in the scope of speech planning: Evidence from eye movements. Language and Cognition, 6, 12-44. link

Swets, B., Jacovina, M. E., & Gerrig, R. J. (2013). Effects of conversational pressures on speech planning. Discourse Processes, 50, 23-51. link

Swets, B., Desmet, T., Clifton, C., & Ferreira, F. (2008). Underspecification of syntactic ambiguities: Evidence from self-paced reading. Memory and Cognition, 36, 201-216. link

Swets, B., Desmet, T., Hambrick, D. Z., & Ferreira, F. (2007). The role of working memory in syntactic ambiguity resolution: A psychometric approach. Journal of Experiment Psychology: General136, 64-81.

Ferreira, F., & Swets, B. (2005). The production and comprehension of resumptive pronouns in relative clause "island" contexts. In A. Cutler (Ed.), Twenty-first Century Psycholinguistics: Four Cornerstones (pp. 263-278). Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. link

Ferreira, F. & Swets, B. (2002). How incremental is language production? Evidence from the production of utterances requiring the computation of arithmetic sums. Journal of Memory and Language, 46, 57-84.

Page last modified March 2, 2022