Prof. Dr. Matthew W. Crocker began his study of Computer Science in Canada at the University of New Brunswick (BSc, 1986) and the University of British Columbia (MSc, 1988), where he specialized in computational linguistics. In 1992, he received a Doctorate in Philosophy from the Department of Artificial Intelligence, at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (now the School of Informatics). Dr. Crocker then continued in Edinburgh, where he was a lecturer in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (1992-94), and subsequently an ESRC Research Fellow (1994-1998). In 1999, Dr. Crocker moved to Saarland University, Germany, and in January 2000, he was appointed to the newly established Chair in Psycholinguistics, in the Department of Computational Linguistics at that University.

In general, Prof. Crocker's research has been concerned with implementing computational models of the procedures people use to grammatically and semantically understand language. His central area of research concerns the extent to which the brain's language processing architecture is genetically pre-programmed, and thus largely invariant across languages, and the extent to which the mechanisms for understanding language are determined by our linguistic experience (e.g. reading, conversation, education). His
PhD research combined models of German and English language comprehension to argue that many of the brains language processing mechanisms are universal, and not highly language specific. In his more recent research, Dr. Crocker has argued that while people are endowed with an innate set of mechanisms suited for language processing, these procedures are sensitive to the specific distributional properties of the languages we learn. He is currently engaged in experimental eye-tracking research to investigate how people's attention in visual scenes if affected by world knowledge, language specific mechanisms, prior experience, and the immediate visual context. This work is supported by computational modeling of the interaction of language, experience, and scene, using connectionist architectures. Emergent from this research is the development of an adaptive theory of language processing, the Coordinated Interplay Account, which extends to the interaction between language comprehension mechanisms and the immediate visual environment and task.

Matthew Crocker jointly founded the annual conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (
AMLaP) in 1995 with Prof. Martin Pickering (Edinburgh), and chaired the conference in 1995, 1997, and 2001. He is currently an associate editor for Cognition and Frontiers in Language Sciences, and managing editor of Dialogue & Discourse. He serves on the editorial board of Springer’s Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics, and was a member of the editorial board for Computational Linguistics from 1995-1997.