Lea Hald

Dr. Lea Hald


Courses Taught

PSYCH 1 - General Psychology
PSYCH 7 - Research Methods
PSYCH 320 - Cognitive Psychology

About Dr. Hald

Dr. Lea Hald is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Dr. Hald is a first-generation college student from San Diego, CA.  She worked and studied for 15 years in Europe before joining the Santa Monica College Community in 2015. Dr. Hald is passionate about teaching and learning and loves the opportunity to work with students at SMC.  

Dr. Hald’s teaching philosophy is inspired by her research in Embodied Cognition as well as the work done by Zaretta Hammond on Culturally Responsive teaching and learning to promote authentic engagement in the classroom. Research on learning shows that learning in social environments, where students and teacher interact regularly with each other, leads to the most equitable learning outcomes.  Dr. Hald believes the social connection in the classroom is key to helping every student succeed and achieve their goals. 

Dr. Hald is a cognitive psychologist, trained in cognitive neuroscience and cognitive science. Dr. Hald teaches General Psychology, Research Methods and Cognitive Psychology for the SMC bachelor’s degree in Interaction Design. The Cognitive Psychology class works in conjunction with the Design for Community Change class every year to conduct research focused on a community-based design challenge.  As part of this collaboration, Dr. Hald and her students have had the opportunity to work with Activision, Hulu, Grand Park and most recently CicLAvia.    

Dr. Hald’s research spans several areas in Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience and Educational Psychology.  She uses behavioral & cognitive neuroscience techniques to better understand how sensorimotor information impacts learning. 

Dr. Hald is currently the chair of the Professional Development Committee at the college and a faculty lead of the newly established Equity-minded Professional Innovation Center, or the EpiCenter.  In her free time, she loves spending time with her kids, is an avid rock climber and loves hiking, and is almost always listening to music. Dr. Hald also is a fluent Dutch speaker. 


Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University College London, United Kingdom 

Ph.D. in Psychology, Minor in Cognitive Science, Dissertation: The Integration of Semantic versus World Knowledge during On-line Sentence Comprehension. University of Arizona, Tucson, USA 

M.A. in Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA 

B.A. in Psychology, University of California, San Diego, USA 

Two years general college education, San Diego City College & Mesa College, San Diego, USA 

Selection of Awards/Honors 

Awarded Fulbright Fellowship to go to the Netherlands 

Awarded research grants from National Institute of Health (US), National Science Foundation and Economic and Social Research Council (UK).   

Awarded Alpha Gamma Sigma teaching award at SMC 

Selection of Publications 

Hald, L.A., & Nicol, J. (2021). Lexical selection in bilingual language production: Evidence from a picture naming task.  Journal of Second Language Studies

Hald, L.A., Cowles, W., & Garnham, A. (2019). An ERP study of anaphor resolution with focused and non-focused antecedents.  Open Psychology, 1, 323-344.

Hald, L.A., de Nooijer, J., van Gog, T., & Bekkering, H. (2016). Optimizing Word Learning via Links to Perceptual and Motoric Experience. Education Psychology Review 28, 495–522 (2016).

Hald, L., van den Hurk, M., & Bekkering, H.  (2016). Learning verbs more effectively through meaning congruent action animations.  Learning & Instruction, 39, 107-122.

Hald, L., Hocking, I, Vernon, D., Marshall, J., & Garnham, A. (2013). Exploring modality switching effects in negated sentences: Further evidence for grounded representations. Frontiers in Psychology: 4:93. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00093 

Hald, L., Marshall, J., Janssen, D.P., & Garnham, A. (2011). Switching modalities in a sentence verification task: ERP evidence for embodied language processing. Frontiers in Psychology: Cognition, Special issue on Embodied and Grounded Cognition, 2:45 doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00045. 

Newton, C., Chiat, S. & Hald, L. (2008). Evaluation of a novel technique for assessing speech discrimination in children. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 22, 325-333. 

Hald, L., Steenbeek-Planting, E. & Hagoort, P. (2007). The interaction of discourse context and world knowledge in online sentence comprehension. Evidence from the N400. Brain Research, 1146, 210-218. 

Swinney, D., Nicol, J., Love, T., & Hald, L. (2006). The on-line study of sentence comprehension: An examination of dual-task paradigms. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 35, 215-231. 

Hald, L., Bastiaansen, M., & Hagoort, P. (2006). EEG theta and gamma responses to semantic violations in online sentence processing. Brain and Language, 96(1), 90-105. 

Hagoort, P., Hald, L., Bastiaansen, M., & Peterson, K. M. (2004). Integration of word meaning and world knowledge in language comprehension. Science, 304, (5669), 438-441.