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Dr Melanie Vitkovitch

Principal Lecturer

Cognition and Neuroscience (CAN)

Department of Psychological Sciences , School of Psychology

Melanie is a cognitive psychologist,  and she joined the School of Psychology as a lecturer in the early 1990s, after researching and teaching at a number of other universities.   

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Melanie is especially interested in understanding the cognitive processes involved in retrieving names for everyday objects. She carries out experimental and correlational work, which usually involves presenting pictures of objects on the screen of a computer, and measuring the time people take to name the pictures.  

One interesting effect that has been found by researchers in this field is that naming times are slowed when pictures from the same category are named (e.g., several pictures of animals). So one aspect of her research is directed at understanding this kind of semantic interference-effect.   

Another task that involves name retrieval for semantically related items is the category fluency task. Here, people are asked to generate as many items as they can for a given category e.g., animals. Melanie is interested in evaluating novel ways of assessing performance in this type of task.   

Understanding the specific processes involved in category fluency and picture naming  is important, because both of these tasks are used by clinical neuropsychologists when screening for memory or language difficulties.  


Current publications

Publicly available research outputs are available to download from UEL's Research Open Access Repository (ROAR).


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • Vitkovitch, M., Cooper-Pye, E., & Ali, L. (2010). The long and the short of it! Naming a set of prime words before a set of related picture targets at two different intertrial intervals. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 22(2), 161–171. doi:10.1080/09541440902743348
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Tyrrell, L. (1999). The effects of distractor words on naming pictures at the subordinate level. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 52(4), 905–926. doi:10.1080/027249899390864
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Barber, P.J. (1996). Visible speech as a function of image quality: effects of display parameters on lipreading ability. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 10(2), 121–140. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-0720(199604)10:2<121::AID-ACP371>3.0.CO;2-V
  • Vitkovitch, M., Kirby, A., & Tyrrell, L. (1996). Patterns of excitation and inhibition in picture naming. Visual Cognition, 3(1), 61–80. doi:10.1080/713756730
  • Vitkovitch, M., Humphreys, G.W., & Lloyd-Jones, T.J. (1993). On naming a giraffe a zebra: picture naming errors across different object categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 19(2), 243–259. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.19.2.243
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Humphreys, G.W. (1991). Perseverant responding in speeded naming of pictures: it's in the links. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 17(4), 664–680. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.17.4.664


Conference Papers

  • Lee, H.L., Vitkovitch, M., Seghier, M., Green, D., & Price, C.J. (2006). Repeated processing of object concepts: contrasting effects on activation and response times. Paper presented at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Florence, Italy.
  • Booth, J., & Vitkovitch, M. (2005). Interference and inhibition in children's object naming. Paper presented at the British Psychology Society: Developmental Section, Edinburgh.
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Pye, E. (2005). Ten, nine, ate, seven...! The effect of counting backwards and naming homophones on semantic interference during picture naming. Paper presented at the BPS Annual Conference, Manchester.
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Pye, E. (2004). Semantic priming effects when naming words and pictures. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society: Cognitive Section, Leeds.
  • Booth, J., & Vitkovitch, M. (2008). Perseverant responding in children’s picture naming. Journal of Child Language, 35, 235–246. doi:10.1017/S030500090700832X
  • Vitkovitch, M. (2009). The effect on picture naming times of changing the skeletal structure of distractor non-words. Paper presented at the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section, Hertfordshire.
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Cooper-Pye, E. (2008). Mind the Gap! The effect of filling the inter-trial interval in the word and picture competitor priming paradigm. Paper presented at the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section, Southampton.

Research archive Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • Vitkovitch, M., Cooper-Pye, E., & Leadbetter, A.G. (2006). Semantic priming over unrelated trials: evidence for different effects in word and picture naming. Memory & Cognition, 34(3), 715–725. doi:10.3758/BF03193590
  • Vitkovitch, M., Potton, A., Bakogianni, C., & Kinch, L. (2006). Will Julia Roberts harm Nicole Kidman? Semantic priming effects during face naming. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59(6), 1134–1152. doi:10.1080/02724980543000178
  • Vitkovitch, M., Bishop, S., Dancey, C., & Richards, A. (2002). Stroop interference and negative priming in patients with multiple sclerosis. Neuropsychologia, 40(9), 1570–1576. doi:10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00022-2
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Rutter, C. (2001). Inhibitory effects during object name retrieval: the effect of interval between prime and target on picture naming responses. British Journal of Psychology, 92(3), 483–506. doi:10.1348/000712601162301
  • Vitkovitch, M., & Rutter, C. (2000). The effect of response stimulus interval on error priming in sequential object naming. Visual Cognition, 7(5), 645–670. doi:10.1080/135062800407239