Annika Andersson is an Associate Professor at the Linnaeus University in Sweden. During 11 years as an early childhood teacher she became interested in first and second language acquisition. At the University of Oregon she received a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology (studying domain generalities of language acquisition). This was followed by a PhD in psychology within the field of cognitive neuroscience.
In Oregon she was involved in a large scale intervention study with 3-5-year-old children from Head start schools. Her main focus was on researching children’s processing of language. In this work she investigated Head start children and 6-8-year-old children’s processing of phonology, semantics and syntax in an only language or in a second language. This research utilized behavioral language-proficiency tests and a neurophysiological measure of language processing—event-related potentials (ERPs). ERPs measure processing online, millisecond by millisecond, as processing unfolds in the brain. With this sensitive measurement differences in processing in relation to age, proficiency, age of acquisition, and cross-linguistic interference can be discerned when these differences cannot be established with traditional language proficiency tests.
She has been a frequent speaker at teacher conferences focusing on foreign language acquisition and second language acquisition in children and adults.