Shelia Kennison, Ph.D.

Main Teaching Research Awards

Founder & Co-Director of the Oklahoma Network for Teaching of Psychology (ONTOP)
Director, Undergraduate Minor in Cognitive Science
Faculty Council Chairperson, 2013-2014 
Curriculum Vitae


A.B, Harvard University
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Postdoc in Cognitive Neuroscience, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Outstanding Faculty Member, Dept. of Psychology, 2002 & 2003
Oklahoma Psychological Society Outstanding Psychology Teacher, 2004
Junior Faculty Award for Scholarly Excellence, College of Arts and Sciences, 2006
Regents Distinguished Teaching Award, 2007
APA's Committee on Women In Psychology Leadership Institute, 2008
Psi Chi Advisor Research Award, 2008
Fulbright Specialist Program, 2010-2015.


Visit the Cognitive Science Laboratory

Dr. Kennison investigates language processing across the lifespan, including how linguistic knowledge is organized in memory, hemispheric differences in word processing in monolinguals and bilinguals, the cognitive processes involved in reading, language acquisition, and bilingualism.


  • Kennison, S. M. (2005). Tracking the time course of integrative semantic processing. National Science Foundation, $272,953, 36 months.
  • Kristopher, B. I., and Kennison, S. M. (2009). The effect of mortality reminders on weapon bias. National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, $121,500, 36 months.
  • Gelfand, S., Harrist, S., Kennison, S. M., & High, M. (2010). Ethics for researchers: Helping moral people act ethically. National Science Foundation, 294,525.00, 36 months.
  • Kennison, S. M., & Byrd-Craven, J. (2011-2014). REU Site: Biological basis of animal and human behavior. National Science Foundation, (SMA 1063091), $300,237, 36 months.

Research Publications

  • Recent Research Publications With Students (*graduate student, **undergraduate student)
  • *Swearingen, C., Byrd-Craven, J., & Kennison, S. M. (under review). The relationship between co-rumination and health in young women: Evidence from Facebook communications. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace.
  • Sun, B., & Kennison, S. M. (2015).  Comprehending pronouns in Chinese: Evidence from online sentence processing.  Language Sciences47, 56-65.
  • Kennison, S. M., & Messer, R. H. (2014).  Psycholinguistics: A bibliography.  London: Oxford University.
  • *Vaughn, J. E., Kennison, S. M., & Byrd-Craven, J. (2014).  The role of beliefs on learning about homosexuality in a college course.  Journal of Homosexuality, 61, 1420–1434.
  • Kennison, S. M.,* Fernandez, E. C., & *Bowers, J. M. (2014).  The role of semantic and phonological information in word production: Evidence from Spanish-English bilinguals. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 43(2),105-124.
  • *Bowers, J. M., Bradley, K. I., & Kennison, S. M. (2013).  Hemispheric differences in processing words learned early versus later in childhood.  Journal of General Psychology, 140 (3), 174-186.
  • *Curb, L., Abramson, C. I., Kennison, S. M., & Grice, J. (2013).  The relationship between personality match and pet satisfaction among dog owners.  Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People & Animals, 26(3), 395-404.
  • Bradley, K. I., Kennison, S. M., Burke, A., & Chaney, J. M. (2012). The effect of mortality salience on implicit bias. Death Studies, 36, 819–831
  • Kennison, S. M. & *Ponce-Garcia, E. (2012). The role of childhood relationships with older adults in reducing risk-taking by young adults. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 10, 22-33.
  • *Bradley, K. I., & Kennison, S. M. (2012). The effect of mortality salience on weapon bias. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36, 403-408.
  • Messer, R. H., *Bradly, K. I., * Calvi, J. L., & Kennsion, S. M. (2012). The relationship between weapon possession on campus and social capital. College Student Journal, 46, 388-396.
  • **Jackson, A. T., *Madewell, A. N., & Kennison, S. M. (2011). The relationship between body image and job satisfaction. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 11(2), 56-66.
  • *Bowers, J. M., & Kennison, S. M. (2011). The role of age of acquisition in bilingual translation. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 40, 279-289.
  • **Popham, L., Kennison, S. M., & *Bradley, K. I. (2011). Ageism, sensation-seeking, and risk-taking in young adults. Current Psychology, 30, 184-193.
  • **Popham, L., Bradley, K. I, & Kennison, S. M. (2011). Ageism and risk-taking in young adults: Evidence for a link between risk-taking and Ageism. Death Studies, 35, 751-763.
  • Kennison, S. M., & *Bowers, J. M. (2011). Illustrating brain lateralization in a naturalistic observation of cell phone use. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 10 , 46-51.
  • *Vaughn, J. E., *Bradley, K. I., Byrd-Craven, J., & Kennison, S. M. (2010). The effect of mortality salience on women's judgments of male faces. Evolutionary Psychology, 8, 477-491.
  • **Porter, B. A., & Kennison, S. M. (2010). Differences in men's and women's knowledge of and memory for names. North American Journal of Psychology, 12, 433-444.
  • Liggett, L.A., **Blair, C., & Kennison, S. M. (2010). Measuring gender differences in attitudes about sensitive social issues: Using a variant of the lost-letter technique. Journal of Scientific Psychology, 5, 1-24.
  • *Longoria, A. D., Page, M., Hubbs-Tait, L., & Kennison, S. M. (2009). The relationship between social competence and verbal skills in young children. Early Childhood Development and Care, 179, 919-929.
  • Kennison, S. M., *Fernandez, E. C., & *Bowers, J. M. (2009). Processing differences for anaphoric and cataphoric pronouns: Implications for theories of referential processing. Discourse Processes, 46, 25-35.
  • **Guidry, J. A., George, J. N., Vesely, S. K., Kennison, S. M., & Terrell, D. R. (2009). Corticosteriod side effects and risk for bleeding in immune thrombocytopenic purpura: Patient and hematologist perspectives. European Journal of Hemotology, 83, 175-182.


Other Publications

  • Kennison, S. M. (2009). The use of verb information in parsing.: Different statistical analyses lead to contradictory conclusions. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 38, 363-378
  • Kennison, S. M. (2007). Why children in the U.S. read less well than children in other industrialized nations: Recommendations for future research. Public Policy Forum, 3, 24-37.
  • Kennison, S. M. (2005). Different time courses of integrative semantic processing for plural and singular nouns: Implications for theories of sentence processing. Cognition, 97, 269-294.
  • Kennison, S. M. (2004). The effect of phonemic repetition on syntactic ambiguity resolution: Implications for models of working memory. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 33, 493-516.
  • Kennison, S. M. (2003). Comprehending the pronouns her, him, and his:Implications for theories of referential processing. Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 335-352.
  • Kennison, S. M. (2002). Comprehending noun phrase arguments and adjuncts. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 31, 65-81.
  • Kennison, S. M. (2001). Limitations on the use of verb information in sentence comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 132-138.
  • Kennison, S. M. (1999) Processing agentive ‘by’-phrases in complex event and non event nominals. Linguistic Inquiry, 30, 502-508.
  • Clifton, C., Jr., Kennison, S. M., & Albrecht, J. (1997). Reading the words 'her', 'his', and 'him': Implications for parsing principles based on frequency and on structure. Journal of Memory and Language, 36, 276-292.
  • Kennison, S.M., & Gordon, P.C. (1997). Comprehending referential expressions during reading: Evidence from eye tracking. Discourse Processes, 24, 229-252.
  • Kennison, S. M., and Clifton, C. (1995). Determinants of parafoveal preview benefit in high and low working memory capacity readers: Implications for eye movement control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 21, 68-81.
  • Schmauder, A. R., Kennison, S. M., and Clifton, C. (1991). On the conditions necessary for obtaining argument structure complexity effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 17, 1188-1192.
  • Gordon, P. C., Schaeffer, C.P., and Kennison, S. M. (1991). Disambiguation of segmental dependencies by extended phonetic context. Language and Speech, 34, 157-176.


  • Psyc 4343: Language Development
  • Psyc 3173: Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • Psyc 3033: Psychology of Humor
  • Psyc 3023: Psychology of Art
  • Psyc 6393: Language Development


Teaching Publications

  • Kennison, S. M. (2013). Introduction to Language Development.  Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publishers.
  • McCutcheon, L., Aruguete, M., Edman, J. & Kennison, S. M. (2011). Research methods: A contemporary approach. Palo Cedro, CA: CAT Publishing.