I am a clinically-trained research psychologist whose work focuses on understanding the cognitive structure and neurological underpinnings of language. I have a particular interest in semantics, or what it means for words to have meaning. I mainly use experimental methods and statistical/ computational modeling, and, occasionally, functional imaging and patient studies.

Curriculum Vitae

Citizenship: Canadian

Work Address: Department Of Psychology

                        P220 Biological Sciences Bldg.

                        University Of Alberta

                        Edmonton, Alberta

                        T6G 2E1 Canada

                                Telephone: (780) 492-5275

                                E-mail: chrisw@ualberta.ca


                • 1988- 1995: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

                        Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology)

                        Graduated on the Dean’s List in October, 1995

                        Thesis title: A Variation Of Forms: The Cognitive Neuropsychology Of Primary Progressive Aphasia

                • September, 1992- 1993- Clinical Internship (Cognitive Therapy)

                        Allan Memorial Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

                • September, 1991- 1992- Clinical Internship (Neuropsychology)

                        Montreal Neurological Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

                • 1986-1988: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

                        B.A., Psychology Major

                        Graduated with 'Great Distinction’ in June, 1988

                • 1981-1982, 1983-1986: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

                        B.A., Philosophy Major; Computer Science Minor

                        Graduated in November, 1986

                • 1982-1983:        American College In Paris, Paris, France

                        Year abroad: Studied mainly French language and history

Work Experience

                • July, 2015 – Now


                        Department Of Psychology

                        University Of Alberta

                • July, 2006 – June, 2015

                        Associate Professor

                        Department Of Psychology

                        University Of Alberta

                • July, 2001 – 2006

                        Assistant Professor

                        Department Of Psychology

                        University Of Alberta

                • September, 2000 – July, 2001

                        Postdoctoral fellow

                        Department Of Psychology & Department Of Linguistics (Half-time each)

                        University Of Alberta

                • August, 1998- August 2000

                        Postdoctoral fellow

                        Department Of Psychology

                        University Of Alberta

                • September, 1996 - July, 1998

                        Research Associate

                        Center For Cognitive Studies, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA

                •  October, 1995 - August, 1996

                        Postdoctoral Researcher

                        Department Of Neuropsychology

                        Montreal Neurological Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


            A.) Peer-reviewed publications

                    • Ross, D., Schipper, S., Westbury, C., Banh, H.L., Loeffler, K.,  Allan, G.M., Ross, S. (In press) Examining critical thinking skills in family medicine residents. Accepted for publication in: Family Medicine.

                    • Keith, J., Westbury, C., & Goldman, J. (In press). Performance Impact of Stop-Lists & Morphological Decomposition on Word-Word Corpus-based Semantic Space Models. Accepted for publication in: Behavioral Research Methods.

                    • Shaoul, C., Baayen, H., & Westbury (2014). N-gram probability effects in a cloze task. The Mental Lexicon, 9:3, 437–472.

                    • Westbury, C., Keith, J., Briesemeister B.B., Hofmann M.J., & Jacobs A.M. (2015) Avoid violence, rioting and outrage; Approach celebration, delight, and strength: Using large text corpora to compute valence, arousal, and the basic emotions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

                    • Shaoul, C., Westbury, C. & Baayen, H. (2013) The subjective frequency of word n-grams. Psihologija, 46 (4), 497–537

                    • Westbury C.F., Shaoul C., Hollis G., Smithson L., Briesemeister B.B., Hofmann M.J., & Jacobs A.M. (2013). Now you see it, now you don’t: On emotion, context, & the algorithmic prediction of human imageability judgments. Frontiers in Psychology, 4:991. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00991.

                    • Westbury, C. (2013). You can’t drink a word: Lexical and individual emotionality affect subjective familiarity judgments. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 43(5), 631-49.

                    • Murphy, C. & Westbury, C. (2013). Expanding the Scope of Selective Exposure: An Objective Approach to Measurement of Media Ideology. Communication Methods and Measures, 7, 145-168.

                    • Ozier, D. & Westbury, C. (2013). Experiencing, psychopathology, and the tripartite mind. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 3(2), 252-275.

                    • Reilly, J., Westbury, C., Kean, J., & Peele, J. (2012). Arbitrary Symbolism in Natural Language Revisited: When Word Forms Carry Meaning. PLoS ONE, 7(8), e42286. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042286

                    • Tremblay, A., Baayen, R.H., Derwing, B., Libben, G., Tucker, B., & Westbury C.  (2011). Empirical evidence for an inflationist lexicon. In the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America. 3 pages.

                    •  Griffin, R. & Westbury, C. (2011). Infant EEG activity as a biomarker for autism: A promising approach or a false promise? BMC Medicine, 9:61.

                    •  Shaoul, C. & Westbury, C. (2011). Formulaic sequences: Do they exist and do they matter? The Mental Lexicon, 6:1, 171-196.

                    • Westbury, C. (2010). Assessing language impairment in aphasia: Going beyond pencils and paper in the computer age. The Mental Lexicon, 5:3, 300-322

                    • Westbury, C. (2010). Bayes’ rule for clinicians: An introduction. Frontiers in Clinical Psychology, 1:192.

                    • Westbury, C. & Titone, D. (2011).  Idiom literality judgments in younger and older adults: Age-related effects in resolving semantic interference. Psychology & Aging, 26(2), 467-474.

                    • Shaoul, C., & Westbury, C. (2011). HiDEx: The High Dimensional Explorer. In: Applied Natural Language Processing and Content Analysis: Identification, Investigation, and Resolution. Editors P McCarthy and C Boonthum. IGI Global, 230-246.

                    • Shaoul, C., & Westbury, C. (2010). Exploring lexical co-occurrence space using HiDEx. Behavior Research Methods, 42(2), 393-413.

                    • Tremblay, A., Derwing, B., Libben, F., & Westbury, C. (2011). Processing Advantages of Lexical Bundles: Evidence from Self-paced Reading and Sentence Recall Tasks. Language Learning, 61(2), 569-613.

                    • Westbury, C. & Moroschan, G. (2009). Imageability x phonology interactions during lexical access: Effects of modality, phonological neighbourhood, and phonological processing efficiency. The Mental Lexicon, 4(1), 115-145.

                    • Frishkoff, G.A., Perfetti, C., & Westbury, C. (2009). ERP measures of partial semantic knowledge: Left temporal indices of skill differences and lexical quality. Biological Psychology, 80:1, 130-147

                    • Shaoul, C. & Westbury, C. (2008). Performance of HAL-like word space models on semantic categorization tasks. Proceedings of the workshop on lexical Semantics, ESSLLI 2008, 42-46.

                    • Westbury, C. & Hollis, G. (2007). Putting Humpty Together Again: Synthetic Approaches to Nonlinear Variable Interactions Underlying Lexical Access. In: The Mental Lexicon: Core Perspectives. G. Jarema & G. Libben, Eds. p. 7-30. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Press.

                    • Westbury, C., Hollis, G. and Shaoul, C. (2007). LINGUA: The Language-Independent Neighbourhood Generator of the University of Alberta. The Mental Lexicon, 2: 271-284.

                    • Binder, J., Medler, D., Westbury, C., Liebenthal, E., and Buchanan, L. (2006). Tuning of the human left fusiform gyrus to sublexical orthographic structure. Neuroimage, 33(2):739-748.

                    • Westbury, C. (2006). The Alberta Language Function Assessment Battery. Brain & Language, 99:1-2, 53-54.

                    • Shaoul, C. & Westbury, C. (2006). Word frequency effects in high dimensional co-occurrence models: A new approach. Behavior Research Methods, 38:2, 190-195.

                    • Hollis, G., Westbury, C., & Peterson, J. (2006). NUANCE 3.0: Using Genetic Programming to Model Variable Relationships. Behavior Research Methods, 38:2, 218-228.

                    • Hollis, G. & Westbury, C. (2006). NUANCE: Naturalistic University of Alberta Nonlinear Correlation Explorer. Behavior Research Methods, 38(1), 8-23.

                    • Westbury, C. & Buchanan, L. (2006). Toward a frontal lobe disconnection model of deep dyslexia: The role of semantic feedback in phonological false memories. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 19: 124-156.

                    • Chan, K.M, Strohschein, F.J., Rydz, D., Allidina, A., Shuaib, A., & Westbury, C. (2006). Randomized controlled trial of Madafinil for the treatment of fatigue in post-polio patients. Muscle & Nerve, January: 138-141.

                    • Westbury, C. & Hollis, G. (2005). In the tiniest house of time: Parametric constraints in evolutionary models of symbolization. Behavioral & Brain Science, 28(4), 513-4

                    • Binder, J., Westbury, C., McKiernan, K.A., Possing, E.T., Medler, D.A. (2005). Distinct Brain Systems for Processing Concrete and Abstract Concepts. The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17:6, 1-13.

                    • Westbury, C. (2005). Implicit sound symbolism in lexical access: Evidence from an interference task. Brain & Language, 93:1, 10-19.

                    • Siakaluk, P., Buchanan, L. & and Westbury, C. (2003). The Effect of Semantic Distance in Yes/No and Go/No-Go Semantic Categorization Tasks. Memory & Cognition. 31:1, 100-113.

                    • Buchanan, L., McEwan, S., Westbury, C., & Libben, G. (2003). Semantics and Semantic Errors: Implicit Access to Semantic Information from Words and Nonwords in Deep Dyslexia. Brain & Language. 84:65-83.

                    • Binder, J.R., McKiernan, K.A., Parsons, M.E., Westbury, C.F., Possing, E.T., Kaufman, J.N., and Buchanan, L. (2003). Neural Correlates of Lexical Access During Visual Word Recognition. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 15:3, 372-393

                    • Colangelo, A., Stephenson, K., Westbury, C.F., and Buchanan, L. (2003). Word associations in deep dyslexia. Brain and Cognition, 53:2, 166-170.

                    • Westbury, C. (2003). Negation. Entry in the Digital Semiotics Encyclopedia, an edited, peer-reviewed on-line encyclopedia at http://www.semioticon.com/

                    • Westbury, C. (2003). Cognitive Science. Entry in the Digital Semiotics Encyclopedia, an edited, peer-reviewed on-line encyclopedia at http://www.semioticon.com/

                    • Westbury, C., Buchanan, L., Sanderson, S., Rhemtulla, M., & and Phillips, L. (2003). Using genetic programming to discover non-linear variable interactions. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers 35:2, 202-216.

                    • Strohschein, F., Carl G. Kelly, C.G., Clarke, A.G., Westbury, C.F., Shuaib, A., & Chan, K.M. (2003). The Applicability, Validity, and Reliability of the Piper Fatigue Scale in Post-Polio Patients. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 82:2 (2003): 1-8.

                    • Westbury, C. (2002). Blind men, elephants, and dancing information processors [Commentary on Shanker & King's The emergence of a new paradigm in ape language research.]. Behavioral & Brain Science. 25:5, 645-646.

                    • Westbury, C. & Buchanan, L. (2002). The probability of the least likely non length-controlled bigram affects lexical decision RTs. Brain and Language, 81(1/2/3):66-78.

                    • Westbury, C., Bub, D., Chertkow, H. (2002). Distinct neurolinguistic symptom clusters in Alzheimer’s-type dementia and primary progressive aphasia. Brain & Cognition, 48(2-3),611-617

                    • Westbury, C., Buchanan, L., & Brown, N. (2002). Sounds Of The Neighbourhood: False Memories & The Structure of the Phonological Lexicon. Journal of Language & Memory, 46, 622-651.

                    • McEwan, S., Westbury, C., Buchanan, L., & Libben, G. (2001) Semantic information is used by a deep dyslexic to parse compounds. Brain And Cognition, 46:201-205

                    • Buchanan, L., Westbury, C., & Burgess, C. (2001). Characterizing Semantic Space: Neighbourhood Effects in Word Recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin And Review, 8(3), 531-544

                    • Buchanan, L., McEwen, S., Westbury, C., & Libben, G. (2000). Semantic processing of nonwords by a deep dyslexic. Brain and Language, 74, 379-381.

                    • Westbury, C. & Buchanan, L. (2000). Improving Neighbourhood Relations: Using Evolutionary Programming To Uncover Non-linear Functional Dependencies In Lexical Access. The Proceedings of Neural Computation 2000, Berlin, Germany [Published as a CD]

                    • Westbury, C., & Buchanan, L. (1999). What's In A Word? A Sublexical Effect In A Lexical Decision Task. In: M. Hahn & S.C. Stoness, Eds. The Proceedings of the Twenty First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 824.

          • Westbury, C. & Dennett, D. (2000). Mining the past to construct the future: Memory and belief as forms of knowledge. In: Schacter, D.L. and Scarry, E. (Eds.) Memory, Brain, and Belief. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

                    • Dennett, D. & Westbury, C. (1999). Stability is not intrinsic [Commentary on O’Brien and Opie: A Connectionist theory of Phenomenal Experience]. Behavioral And Brain Science.

                    • Westbury, C. & Nicoladis, E. (1998). Meaning in children's first words: Implications for a theory of lexical ontology. In: The proceedings of the 22nd Boston University Conference On Language Development, p. 768-778.

                    • Westbury, C., Zatorre, R., & Evans, A. (1999). Measuring variability in the planum temporale: A probability map. Cerebral Cortex, June, 9(4), 392-405. 

                    • Paus, T., Koski, S., Caramanos, Z., & Westbury, C. (1998). Regional differences in the effect of task difficulty and motor output on blood-flow response in the human anterior cingulate cortex: A review of 108 PET activation studies. NeuroReport., 9(9), 37-47.

                    • Zatorre, R.J., Perry, D.W., Beckett, C.A., Westbury, C.F., & Evans, A. (1998). Functional anatomy of musical processing in listeners with absolute pitch and relative pitch. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Science, 95, 3172-3177

                    • Westbury, C. & Bub, D. (1998). Aphasia Diagrams: A New Notational Scheme For Representing Neurolinguistic Deficits. Brain & Language, 61, 105-114.

                    • Westbury, C. & Bub, D. (1997). Primary Progressive Aphasia: A Review Of 112 Cases. Brain & Language, 60, 381-406.

                    • Binik, I., Westbury, C., Servan-Schreiber, D. (1988). Interaction with a ‘Sex Expert’ enhances attitudes towards computerized sex therapy, Behaviour Therapy And Research. 27: 303-306.

    B.) Other publications

                    • Libben, G., Jarema, G., & Westbury, C. (Eds.) (2012). Methodological and Analytic Frontiers in Lexical Research. [Edited volume; 475 pages] Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

                    • Shaoul, C. & Westbury, C. (2012). Formulaic sequences: Do they exist and do they matter? In: Libben, G., Jarema, G., & Westbury, C. (Eds.) (2012). Methodological and Analytic Frontiers in Lexical Research. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

                    • Westbury, C. (2012). Assessing language impairment in aphasia: Going beyond pencils and paper in the computer age. In: Libben, G., Jarema, G., & Westbury, C. (Eds.) (2012). Methodological and Analytic Frontiers in Lexical Research. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

                    • Westbury, C. & Nicoladis, E. (2001). A Multiplicity of Constraints [Review of Paul Bloom’s How Children Learn The Meaning of Words]. Behavioral & Brain Science.

                    • Westbury, C. (2001). Symbols in Your Face [Review of Andrew Young’s Face And Mind], The Semiotic Review of Books, 12:1,7-9.

                    •  Westbury, C. (2000). From syllable to syntax: Structural continuity or common cognitive cause? [Review of Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy's The Origins Of Complex Language ] Psycoloquy, 11(126). 

                    • Westbury, C. (2000). Re-mapping Snow’s Gulf [Review of Jordan Peterson's Maps Of Meaning: The Architecture Of Belief] The Semiotic Review Of Books, 11.1, 5-7.

                    • Westbury, C. (2000). Probability theory [as the greatest invention of the last 2000 years] In: Brockman, J. (ed.) The Greatest Inventions of the Last 2000 Years, p.139-141, New York: Simon & Schuster.

                    • Westbury, C., Buchanan, L., & Brown, N. (1999). Noys In The Neighbourhood: False Memories & The Structure of the Phonological Lexicon. Experimental & Theoretical Linguistics, the working papers of the Department Of Linguistics (Volume 6), University Of Alberta.

                    • Westbury, C. & Wilensky, U. (1998). Knowledge representation in cognitive science: Implications for education. Internal document commissioned by the Planning Office of the Ministry of Education, Government of Peru.

                    • Westbury, C. (1998) Hacking the world: On the origin of objects [Review of Brian Smith’s On The Origin Of Objects]. Pattern Analysis & Applications, 1:202-204.

                    • Westbury, C. (1998). Research strategies: psychological and psycholinguistic methods in neurolinguistics. In: Stemmer, B. & Whitaker, H. (eds.), Handbook Of Neurolinguistics. p. 83-94. Academic Press.

                    • Westbury, C. (1997). Artificial Minds [Review of Stan Franklin's Artificial Minds]. The Journal Of Nervous & Mental Disease, 185(3), 202-203.

    C.) Digital Resources

                    • Westbury, C. (2007). Assessing Cases: The University of Alberta Testing Environment (ACTUATE). Macintosh and Windows versions.


                    • Westbury, C. (2007). The Alberta Language Function Assessment Battery [ALFAB]. Macintosh and Windows versions.


                    • Shaoul, C. & Westbury, C. (2006). An anonymized multi-billion word USENET corpus (2005-2007)


                    • Shaoul, C. & Westbury, C. (2006). USENET Orthographic Frequencies for the 40,481 words in the English Lexicon Project.


                    • Shaoul, C. & Westbury, C. (2006). USENET Orthographic Frequencies for 1,618,598 types. (2005-2006).


                    • Westbury, C., Hollis, G. & Shaoul, C. (2006). LINGUA Language-Independent Neighbourhood Generator of the University of Alberta. Platform Independent (JAVA) software.


                    • Hollis, G. & Westbury, C. (2006) The Naturalistic University of Alberta Nonlinear Correlation Explorer (NUANCE). Platform Independent (JAVA) software.


    D.) Fiction

                    • Westbury, C. (2014). The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even: A Novel. Berkeley, CA, USA: Counterpoint Press,

                                        Selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of ten ‘Summer/Fall Indies Introduce’ novels, as “the brightest debuts of the coming season”: http://www.bookweb.org/news/signup-opens-summerfall-indies-introduce-promotion]
                                        Long-listed for the 2014 Stephen Leacock Medal for Canadian Humour Writing
                                        Long-listed for the 2014 Edmonton Public Library’s Alberta Readers’ Choice Award
                                        Winner of the 2014 ‘Alberta Exports’ award, awarded annually by the Alberta branch of the Canadian Author’s Association.

Professional Affiliations

        • Member, Society For Neuroscience

        • Member, Cognitive Neuroscience Society

        • Member, Psychonomic Society

        • Member, Writers’ Guild of Alberta

        • Member, Canadian Authors Association