Virginia Valian is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and is a member of the doctoral faculties of Psychology, Linguistics, and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center. She directs the Language Acquisition Research Center (LARC) at Hunter College. She is the director of Hunter's Gender Equity Project (GEP).
Dr Valian works on gender equity and on the psychology of language. In gender equity Dr Valian performs research on the reasons behind women's slow advancement in the professions and proposes remedies for individuals and institutions. She is the author of Why so slow? The advancement of women, and co-author, with Abigail Stewart, of An inclusive academy: Achieving diversity and excellence. Dr Valian consults with institutions and organizations to improve gender equity.
In the psychology of language Dr Valian conducts research on young children's acquisition of syntax and on the relation between bilingualism and executive function in adults. Her aim is to develop a model of acquisition that specifies what is innate, how input is used by the child, and how the child's syntactic knowledge interacts with knowledge in other linguistic and extra-linguistic domains. She uses a variety of methods, including computer-assisted corpus analysis, comprehension experiments, elicited imitation experiments, and elicited production experiments.
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