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College of Arts and Letters | Michigan State University

schmibig.jpgJens Schmidtke


I received a B.A. in English Studies and Applied Linguistics from the University of Bochum, Germany, in 2007 and an M.A. in German Studies from the University of Connecticut in 2010. 

Research Interests

I am interested in the cognitive processes involved in speaking two languages. In my research I have used tasks such as the visual world paradigm, picture naming, and Stroop tasks. In my first study, I investigated how English native speakers and Chinese learners of English use the English indefinite article as a cue during spoken word recognition. In a later study, I became interested in bilingual speakers who started learning both languages early in life. Research shows that bilingual speakers enjoy certain cognitive benefits but at the same time, they might experience slowed-down lexical access. This might be because of language interference but might also be the result of having less experience in each language. Finding the causes for the bilingual advantage in cognitive control and the disadvantage in language control will inform theories of how (language) experience shapes cognition.

Besides being a PhD student in the program of Second Language Studies, I am also in MSU's Cognitive Science program and I have taken classes in speech perception, computer programing, cognitive psychology, and statistics to be able to investigate the complexities of bilingualism.


Schmidtke, J. (2014). Second language experience modulates word retrieval effort: evidence from pupillometry. Frontiers in Psychology 5:137. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00137

Godfroid, A. & Schmidtke, J. (2013). What do eye movements tell us about awareness? A triangulation of eye-movement data, verbal reports and vocabulary learning scores. In J. M. Bergsleithner, S. Frota & J. K. Yoshioka (Eds.), Noticing: L2 studies and essays in honor of Richard Schmidt.Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i at Manoa, National Foreign Language Resource Center.

Loewen, S., Lavolette, B., Spino, L., Papi, M., Schmidtke, J., Sterling, S., Wolf, D. (2013). Statistical Literacy among Applied Linguists and Second Language Acquisition Researchers, TESOL Quarterly. Advanced online publication.

Oral Presentations

Schmidtke, J. (October, 2011). Online processing of indefinite articles by English L1 and L2 speakers: A visual-world paradigm study. Paper presented at the Second Language Research Forum, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

Schmidtke, J. (March, 2012). English L1 but not L2 speakers make rapid use of indefinite articles during auditory language processing: An eye-tracking study. Paper presented at AAAL, Boston, MA.

Schmidtke, J. (May, 2012). Reliability of linguistic cue enhances detection of count nouns. Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Schmidtke, J., Spino, L.A. & Lavolette, B. (October, 2012). How statistically literate are we? Examining SLA professors’ and graduate students’ statistical knowledge and training. Paper presented at the Second Language Research Forum, Pittsburgh, PA.

Schmidtke, J. (May, 2013). Enhanced Inhibitory Control in Bilingual Speakers: Further Evidence. Paper to be presented to the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Poster Presentations

Schmidtke, J., (March, 2013). Lexical access and attentional control in bilingual speakers. Poster presented at the 11th Symposium of Psycholinguistics, Tenerife, Spain.

Schmidtke, J., (May, 2013). Lexical access and inhibitory control in Spanish-English bilingual speakers. Poster to be presented at the International Workshop on Bilingualism and Cognitive Control, Krakow, Poland. 

Schmidtke, J., (November, 2013). Language Proficiency Modulates Frequency Effects in Speech Production and Recognition. Poster to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Toronto, Canada.

Book Reviews

Jason Anastas, Lauren Gindin, Emma Kelty, Anurag Rimzhim, Jingjing Zhao, Bryndis Andrade, Daniel Finkel, Kinga Palatinus, Jens Schmidtke, Stephen Tobin and Letitia Naigles (2010). Review of Edith L. Bavin 'The Cambridge handbook of child language' Journal of Child Language, 37, pp 1133-1140.  

Grants & Fellowships

NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant 

SLS Summer Fellowship

Cognitive Science Summer Fellowship