Marcus Taft is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Psychology at UNSW Sydney, Australia where he has worked since 1981. He received both his bachelor and doctoral degrees at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, followed by a year's post-doctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Over the years, Prof Taft has had appointments as a Visiting Fellow at Birkbeck College (London), Université René Descartes (Paris), University of Arizona (Tucson), Hebrew University (Jerusalem), Royal Holloway College, University of London, Aix-Marseille University and, most recently, as Distinguished Professor in the Center for Cognitive Science of Language at the Beijing Language and Culture University. He is the author of around 100 papers and one book (entitled Reading and the Mental Lexicon) and has been a reviewer for countless journal articles. He is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Memory & Language.
Prof Taft's research looks at the cognitive mechanisms involved in adult word comprehension, primarily lexical processes in reading. The over-arching theme is the question of how readers make use of the internal structure of words in order to recognise them. How is the orthographic structure of a word represented in the "mental lexicon" and how is this information used to gain access to the meaning of that word during reading? This is an important question because it addresses a fundamental issue in reading research, namely, the nature of the optimal decoding strategies for reading words written in the particular orthography of one's language. In addition to his research on the English language, Prof Taft has published papers about lexical processing in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and French.