Erica L. Middleton, PhD

Institute Scientist
Director of Language and Learning Laboratory
Director of Moss Rehabilitation Research Registry
Erica L. Middleton, PhD

Dr. Middleton’s research focuses on understanding how words are mentally represented and produced, both in healthy speakers as well as in people who have experienced language impairment due to stroke (called aphasia).

A major emphasis in her work is to delineate how treatments can be designed in accord fundamental principles of human learning to maximize and sustain recovery.

Dr. Middleton holds a PhD in cognitive psychology with a specialization in psycholinguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received postdoctoral training in a joint appointment at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Middleton’s published research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals in psychology, neuropsychology, and rehabilitation including Journal of Memory and Language, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, Cognitive Neuropsychology, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, and Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Dr. Middleton has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Albert Einstein Society (Einstein Healthcare Network, Philadelphia, PA).


Research Interests
  • Characterizing the lexical representations and processes that underpin word production, and how they are damaged in aphasia
  • Establishing how lexical systems are repaired (i.e., lexical learning) via retrieval practice (i.e., practice with retrieving names from long-term memory) and efficacious schedules of learning
  • Impact of lexical competition on lexical learning
  • Speech error monitoring in aphasia and implications for lexical learning
  • Mobile app technology development for the treatment of aphasia

*Mentored or co-mentored papers.

In press/2019

 Lorimor, H., Adams, N. C., Middleton, E. L. (in press). Agreement with conjoined NPs reflects language experience. Frontiers in Psychology.

Chen, Q., Middleton, E. L., & Mirman, D. (in press). Words fail: Lesion-symptom mapping of errors of omission in post-stroke aphasia. Journal of Neuropsychology.

*Harvey, D. Y., Traut, H. J., & Middleton, E. L. (2019). Semantic interference in speech error production in a randomized continuous naming task: Evidence from aphasia. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience34(1), 69-86.


*Schuchard, J., & Middleton, E. L. (2018). Word repetition and retrieval practice effects in aphasia: Evidence for use-dependent learning in lexical access. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 35(5-6), 271-287.

*Schuchard, J., & Middleton, E. L. (2018). The roles of retrieval practice versus errorless learning in strengthening lexical access in aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61, 1700-1717.


*Schuchard, J., Middleton, E. L., & Schwartz, M. F. The timing of spontaneous detection and repair of naming errors in aphasia. Cortex, 93, 79-91. PMID: 28624680


Middleton, E. L., Schwartz, M. F., Rawson, K. A., Traut, H., & Verkuilen, J. Towards a theory of learning for naming rehabilitation: Retrieval practice and spacing effects. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, 1111-1122. PMID: 27716858

Schwartz, M. F., Middleton, E. L., Brecher, A., Gagliardi, M., & Garvey, K. Does naming accuracy improve through self-monitoring of errors? Neuropsychologia, 84, 272-281. PMID: 26863091


Middleton, E. L., Schwartz, M. F., Rawson, K. A., & Garvey, K. (2015). Test-enhanced learning versus errorless learning in aphasia rehabilitation: Testing competing psychological principles. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(4), 1253-1261. PMID: 25528093

Middleton, E. L., Chen, Q., & Verkuilen, J. (2015). Friends and foes in the lexicon: Homophone naming in aphasia. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41(1), 77-94. PMID: 25329091

Schwartz, M. F., Middleton, E. L., & Hamilton, R. (2015). Word retrieval impairment in adult aphasia. In R. H. Bahr & E. R. Silliman (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Communication Disorders, (pp. 278-287). New York: Routledge.


Middleton, E. L., & Schwartz, M. F. (2013). Learning to fail in aphasia: An investigation of error learning in naming. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(4), 1287-1297. PMID: 23816662

Lee, C., Middleton, E., Mirman, D., Kalénine, S., & Buxbaum, L. (2013). Incidental and context-responsive activation of structure- and function-based action features during object identification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39(1), 257-270. PMID:22390294


Middleton, E. L., & Schwartz, M. F. (2012). Errorless learning in cognitive rehabilitation: A critical review. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 22(2), 138-168. PMID:22247957

Kalenine, S., Mirman, D., Middleton, E., & Buxbaum, L. (2012). Temporal dynamics of activation of thematic and functional knowledge during conceptual processing of manipulable artifacts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 38(5), 1274-1295. PMID:22449134


Bock, K., & Middleton, E. L. (2011). Reaching agreement. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. 29(4), 1033-1069.

Middleton, E. L., Rawson, K., & Wisniewski, E. J. (2011). How do we process novel conceptual combinations in text? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 64(4), 807-822. PMID:21104564


Middleton, E. L., & Schwartz, M. F. (2010). Density pervades: An analysis of phonological neighborhood density effects in aphasic speakers with different types of naming impairment. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 27(5), 401-427. PMID:21718214


Rawson, K. A., & Middleton, E. L. (2009). Memory-based processing as a mechanism of automaticity in text comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. 35(2), 353-370. PMID:19271851

Early Notable Publications

Middleton, E. L., & Wisniewski, E. J., & Trindel, K., & Imai, M. (2004). Separating the chaff from the oats: Evidence for a conceptual distinction between count noun and mass noun aggregates. Journal of Memory and Language, 50(4), 371-394.

Wisniewski, E. J., & Middleton, E. L. (2002). Of bucket bowls and coffee cup bowls: Spatial alignment in conceptual combination. Journal of Memory and Language, 46(1), 1-23.