Katherine Binder


  • William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology
  • on leave fall 2023
Katherine Binder

We constantly use idioms in our speech and writing (dying to know; for the birds), but how exactly do they work? How does the context in which we encounter idiomatic phrases and words with multiple meanings affect our understanding of what we read?

Context is everything for Katherine Binder, who studies the role of context in the process of reading. The results of her research have been published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

A member of the Mount Holyoke faculty since 1999, Binder teaches Experimental Methods, Cognitive Psychology, Seminar in Cognition: Inhibition, and Lab in Cognition.

Areas of Expertise

How context influences forms of ambiguity in language


  • Ph.D., M.A., University of South Carolina
  • B.A., Southern Illinois University


Recent Campus News

The culmination of Mount Holyoke students’ academic careers, Senior Symposium marks the metamorphosis from student to expert.

Mount Holyoke faculty and staff have created the first website of its kind addressing statistic students’ accessibility needs.

Mount Holyoke juniors Shreya Nair and Shuyang Lin co-authored a paper that won third at an international conference for visual communication.

Recent Grants

Received a supplement to her grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (subaward from the University of Georgia) for “Examining the Processes and Outcomes of Reading Comprehension (EXPO-SWD). The project is in its sixth year. (2022)

Kathy Binder  received an award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “R15 A Multi-skills Approach for Low Literate Adult Learners.” The project is for three years.

Recent Publications

Binder, K. S., Magnus, B., Lee, C., & Gilbert Cote, N. (2015). To tell a morphologically complex tale: Investigating the story-telling abilities of children and adults with low literacy skills. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10.1007/s11145-015-9560-5.

Fracasso L.E., Bangs, K., & Binder, K.S. (2014). The contributions of phonological and morphological awareness to literacy skills in the adult basic education population. Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Lee, C.S., & Binder, K.S. (2014). Atypically deviant or appropriately delayed? An investigation into semantic and phonological processing in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.

Talwar, A., Gilbert Cote, N., & Binder, K.S. (2014). Investigating Predictors of Spelling Ability for Adults with Low Literacy Skills. Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy,Secondary, and Basic Education.

Zawoyski, A. M., Ardoin, S. P., & Binder, K. S. (2014). Using eye tracking to observe differential effects of repeated readings for second-grade students as a function of achievement level. Reading Research Quarterly, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/rrq.91

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