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Professor Edith Bavin

Developmental Psychology

La Trobe University



Professor Edith Bavin obtained her PhD from the University of Buffalo, USA, supervised by Joan Bybee. After teaching at the University of Oregon for 18 months, she moved to Australia. She has been based at La Trobe University since 1982, first in Linguistics and later in Psychology. She also currently has an honorary research appointment at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

Her research over the years has drawn on different methodologies. Her early research in Australia was on the acquisition of an indigenous language, Warlpiri, with field work conducted in Yuendumu in central Australia. She also conducted some field work on Western Nilotic languages in Kenya and Uganda. Her later research has focused on language acquisition and language processing with young children with typical and atypical development, including late talkers and children with specific language impairment, children with ADHD and children with autism. She is currently writing up her collaborative research on the early communicative development of infants and toddlers with cochlear implants.

Over the last 13 years she has also been a chief investigator on ELVS, a longitudinal study investigating the natural course of language and literacy development, which started with a sample of 1900 infants recruited at 8 months. Her research has been funded mainly by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council, and has resulted in numerous publications.

She was the editor of the Journal of Child Language for 6 years and remains on the editorial board. She edited the CUP Handbook of Child Language (2009) and, together with Letitia Naigles, the 2nd edition (2015), and with Sabine Stoll she edited The Acquisition of Ergativity (2013).

Edith has been a visiting scholar at a number of universities over the years, including Oxford, Berkeley, Stanford and London (SOAS). She is a member of the International Association for the Study of Child Language and a member of the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. In 2007 she was made a Fellow of Association for Psychological Science for her contributions to the field.