Virginia Valian

Virginia Valian's portrait by Alex Irklievski, 04/25/2023, CUNY Graduate Center

Research Interests

  • Language; Gender


  • Ph. D., Northeastern University

Virginia Valian is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and is a member of the doctoral faculties of Psychology, Linguistics, and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center.  She is co-founder and co-director of Hunter's Gender Equity Project, which has been funded by NSF and NIH.  She is also director of the Language Acquisition Research Center (LARC).  Dr Valian works in two domains:  first and second language acquisition and gender equity.

In language acquisition, Dr. Valian examines first and second language acquisition of language through experimental, observational, and computational research.  She is particularly interested in determining what innate information the learner has and how the learner makes use of the speech around her.  In gender equity Dr. Valian examines the reasons behind women's slow advancement in the professions and proposes remedies for individuals and institutions.  Dr. Valian wrote Why So Slow? The Advancement of Women, to provide an explanation for gender disparities in power and prestige, and has co-authored with Abigail Stewart An Inclusive Academy: Achieving Diversity and Excellence, to provide principles for improving academic institutions.  Both books were published by MIT Press.