I first studied linguistics in Italy and then psychology of language at the University of Edinburgh. I am interested in the idea that people (both children and adults) understand others partly by anticipating what they are about to say. Studying how we do this will hopefully pave the way to understanding how we can take turns so smoothly in conversation and even complete one another’s utterances at times.


Wee Chiara

Wee Chiara

I am from the beautiful Italian town of Ravenna. I received both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degrees from the University of Bologna, where I studied at Collegio Superiore. I first came to Scotland in 2008 for a short internship at the University of Edinburgh, and I have been in love with the place ever since. I received my PhD in Psychology of Language from Edinburgh in 2013. After one year teaching and doing research in Germany (Saarland University), I came back to Edinburgh in November 2014, when I joined Wee Science. I am currently working as a Research Assistant on a project on anticipation and language learning, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Grant awarded to Dr. Hugh Rabagliati.

Likes: reading, sheep, and raspberries
Dislikes: steep hills, ironing, and ketchup


During my Ph.D. I looked at what happens when people (adults) know they are speaking at the same time as one another (they get slower) or they know that they might have to suddenly stop speaking to let somebody else continue their utterance (they find it a bit more difficult to stop than if they know nobody will continue). This shows that imagining or anticipating that somebody else will speak interferes with our own ability to speak, perhaps because they make use of similar cognitive mechanisms. Right now, I am studying how adults and children make linguistic predictions, and whether they can make similar types of predictions (this research is part of Dr. Hugh Rabagliati’s project, Expectation-driven language learning, which is generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust). To address this question, I track people’s eye-movements towards objects or pictures while they listen to sentences.

Current research topics

  • Anticipation during language understanding
  • Turn-taking
  • Joint language production


  • Gambi, C., Cop, U., & Pickering, M.J. (2014). How do speakers coordinate? Evidence for prediction in a joint word-replacement task. Cortex, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2014.09.009.
  • Gambi, C., Van de Cavey, J., & Pickering, M.J. (2014). Interference in joint picture naming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0037438.
  • Gambi, C., & Pickering, M.J. (2013b). Prediction and imitation in speech. Frontiers in Psychology, 4:340, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00340.
  • Gambi, C., & Pickering, M.J. (2013a). Talking to each other and talking together: Joint language tasks and degrees of interactivity. Commentary on Schilbach, et al. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(4), 423-424.
  • Gambi, C. & Pickering, M.J. (2011). A cognitive architecture for the coordination of utterances. Frontiers in Psychology, 2:275, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00275