Dr Jelena Havelka

Dr Jelena Havelka


  • Level 3 Coordinator

Research interests

My research interests include investigation of the reading process in different languages and orthographies, vocabulary acquisition, bilingualism and the role of emotion in language and memory processing. My main research interest is the psychology of language and memory with several distinct lines of enquiry:

1. Reading process. A particular focus of my work in this area has been on evaluating models of reading aloud in the light of cross-linguistic data, e.g. data obtained in Japanese and Serbian language, and investigating factors which influence the reading process, e.g. age of acquisition, frequency, consistency, and multi-letter graphemes. Recently, as part of the Successful Childhood Development Grand Challenge, I have expanded this work to include the study of reading acquisition in monolingual and bilingual children.

2. Bilingualism and second language learning. I have been involved in research on emotional correlates of using the first and/or second language, the organisation of bilingual memory, and the process of learning new vocabulary. Understanding the dynamics of language processes in bilinguals is of considerable interest for society given that the modern world is characterised by ever increasing trans-national migration, and obtaining high levels of proficiency in a foreign language is of great economic, social, and emotional importance for an increasing number of people. This work feeds into Health and Wellbeing Grand Challenge.

3. Impact of life changes and transitions on autobiographical memory and the sense of self. As a member of “living in history” project, in collaboration with Professor Norman Brown (University of Alberta, Canada), we have investigated the circumstances under which major public events play a role in organising autobiographical memory. Recently this collaboration has expanded to include assessing the material and psychological impact of life transitions. This project feeds into Behaviour Change Grand Challenge.

In my research, I use a combination of behavioural and neurophysiological methods thus contributing to The Nervous System and its Disorders Grand Challenge.


  • PhD
  • MSc

Professional memberships

  • Experimental Psychology Society
  • The European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP)
  • The Psychonomics Society

Student education

PSYC2553: Memory and Language

PSYC3539: Cognition and Emotion

PSYC3520: Major project

Research groups and institutes

  • Language and memory

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>