Clinton Johns, Ph.D.

Clinton Johns's picture
Senior Scientist
300 George Street, Suite 900, New Haven, CT 06511-6624
203 865-6163 x 240
Fax number: 
203 865-8963


Senior Scientist, Haskins Laboratories

I investigate the relations between readers’ cognitive abilities and both the processes supporting and the products of reading comprehension. I am particularly interested in the ways by which readers’ more general cognitive systems - including memory, executive function, and reasoning - interact with language-specific skills and processes. Consequently, my published work addresses a wide range of linguistic phenomena, including the phonological, syntactic, semantic, and higher-level interpretive processes (e.g., establishing referential relations and generating inferences). I conduct my research using a variety of experimental techniques, including eye tracking, speed-accuracy tradeoff modeling, electroencephalography (EEG/ERP), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

I am the co-editor of the Cognitive Science of Language section of the online journal Language and Linguistics Compass. In addition, I serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

  • Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, University of California, Davis, 2009
  • M.A., Experimental Psychology, University of California, Davis, 2006
  • B.A., Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, 1994
Funded Research Projects
  • Investigator, Retrieval Interference in skilled and unskilled reading comprehension (NIH/NICHD R01 HD073288)
  • Investigator, Nature and acquisition of the speech code and reading (NIH/NICHD P01 HD001994)
  • Investigator, Individual differences in learning potential for language and literacy (NIH/NICHD R01 HD071998)
  • Investigator, Neural basis of text processing in Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit (University of Connecticut, Research Excellence Program)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Haskins Laboratories), Individual differences in memory storage and retrieval during reading comprehension (NIH/NICHD R21 HD058944)
Past Appointments
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology, Southern Connecticut State University
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut


I am happy to talk with educators, or anyone else, about what we do. If you would like to learn more about our work, please contact me. I am available to make a presentation to your group, to arrange a tour of Haskins Labs, or just to chat about language, cognitive science or research. I can also be found on:

ResearchGate: ResearchGate                  ORCID: ORCID iD    

LinkedIn: Clinton L. Johns                             Twitter: Follow @DrClintonJohns

Representative Publications

Johns, C.L., Kush, D., Campanelli, L., Landi, N., & Van Dyke, J.A. (submitted). Individual differences in combinatorial semantic processing: Skilled comprehension facilitates complement coercion during sentence comprehension. Submitted to Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. DOI: 10.31219/   [PsyArXiv Pre-print]

Kush, D., Johns, C.L., & Van Dyke, J.A. (2018). Prominence-sensitive pronoun resolution: New evidence from the Speed-Accuracy Tradeoff procedure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. DOI:  [Haskins Archive PDF]

Johns, C.L., Jahn, A.A., Jones, H.R., Kush, D., Molfese, P.J., Van Dyke, J.A., Magnuson, J.S., Tabor, W., Mencl, W.E., Shankweiler, D.P., & Braze, D. (2018). Individual differences in decoding skill, print exposure, and cortical structure in young adults. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2018.1476727  [Haskins Archive PDF]

Kukona, A., Braze, D., Johns, C.L., Mencl, W.E., Van Dyke, J.A., Magnuson, J.S., … & Tabor, W. (2016). The real-time prediction and inhibition of linguistic outcomes: Effects of language and literacy skill. Acta Psychologica, 171, 72-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.09.009  [Haskins Archive PDF] [PubMed HTML]

Braze, D., Katz, L., Magnuson, J.S., Mencl, W.E., Tabor, W., Van Dyke, J.A., Gong, T., Johns, C.L., & Shankweiler, D.P. (2016). Vocabulary does not complicate the simple view of reading. Reading and Writing, 29(3), 1-17. DOI: 10.1007/s11145-015-9608-6  [Haskins Archive PDF] [PubMed HTML]

Johns, C.L., Matsuki, K., & Van Dyke, J.A. (2015). Poor readers’ retrieval mechanism: efficient access is not dependent on reading skill. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1552. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01552  [Haskins Archive PDF] [PubMed HTML]

Kush, D., Johns, C.L., & Van Dyke, J.A. (2015). Identifying the role of phonology in sentence-level reading. Journal of Memory and Language, 79, 18-29. DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2014.11.001  [Haskins Archive PDF] [PubMed HTML]

Van Dyke, J.A., Johns, C.L., & Kukona, A. (2014). Low working memory capacity is only spuriously related to poor reading comprehension. Cognition, 131, 373-403. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.01.007  [Haskins Archive PDF] [PubMed HTML]

Johns, C.L., Gordon, P.C., Long, D.L. & Swaab, T.Y. (2014). Memory availability and referential access. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, 29(1), 60-87. DOI: 10.1080/01690965.2012.733014  [PubMed HTML]

Long, D.L., Johns, C.L., & Jonathan, E. (2012).  A memory-retrieval view of discourse representation: The recollection and familiarity of text ideas. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27(6), 821-843. DOI: 10.1080/01690965.2011.587992 [Haskins Archive PDF] [PubMed HTML]