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Lab Spotlight: Language, Learning and Memory Lab

Katherine Gordon, Ph.D.  

Dr. Katherine GordonDr. Katherine Gordon heads the Language Learning and Memory Laboratory and has been at Boys Town National Research Hospital since July 2017. In her research, she focuses on understanding word learning in preschool-age children with and without developmental language disorder.

When describing her current research, she says "parents, educators and clinicians invest a lot of time and energy in supporting children's ability to learn words. These adults want to teach in ways that will help children learn and remember words weeks and months after training, not in ways that lead to children forgetting the words soon after they are taught them. In my lab, I seek to identify the strategies that best support this long-term learning. I especially want to identify how to support children with developmental language disorder, as they often struggle with learning new words."

Dr. Gordon has expertise in both typical and atypical child development. One of her broad career goals is to foster relationships between researchers in developmental psychology, researchers in communication sciences and disorders, clinical speech-language pathologists, and parents. "Researchers across these disciplines are often asking similar questions, but we do not always talk to each other. However, we do bring different perspectives to the table and, thus, have a lot to learn from each other. Additionally, it is very important to bring clinicians and parents into conversations about our research. I don't want to identify a highly effective training strategy in the lab only to discover that it is not practical to implement in clinics, classrooms and homes. I want to identify functional strategies that clinicians, educators and parents can use in the real-world."

View Dr. Gordon's presentation on Learning and Memory Research Applications to Clinical and Educational Contexts.

For more information about Developmental Language Disorder, visit or view The Supporting Children with Developmental Language Disorder on demand conference.


  1. Gordon, K. R. (2019). How Mixed-Effects Modeling Can Advance Our Understanding of Learning and Memory and Improve Clinical and Educational Practice. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62(3), 507–524.
  2. Gordon, K. R., McGregor, K. K., Waldier, B., Curran, M. K., Gomez, R. L., & Samuelson, L. K. (2016). Preschool children's memory for word forms remains stable over several days, but gradually decreases after 6 months. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1439. 
  3. Gordon, K. R., & McGregor, K. K. (2014). A spatially supported forced-choice recognition test reveals children's long-term memory for newly learned word forms. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 164.