Evelyn Milburn


I am queer and I am a cognitive scientist.//


My branch of cognitive science is called psycholinguistics, which means I study how the brain understands and uses language. In particular, I’m interested in how we understand figurative language such as idiom, humor, and sarcasm. These expressions often have figurative meanings that are very different from their literal interpretations: nothing about the idiom “kick the bucket” tells you that it actually means “to die”! I study how we are able to rapidly and accurately interpret these expressions, and how this process changes when speaking your second language, during aging, and when language is impaired following a stroke or other traumatic brain injury. I completed my PhD in 2017 and now work as a postdoc in Norway.