I am a cognitive psychologist with a special interest in the processes and mechanisms underlying language. My research is specifically concerned with those engaged when humans speak (as opposed to when they comprehend language). I investigate the way in which humans cognitively develop intentions of what they are trying to say, the way in which words are organised in and retrieved from a mental lexicon for the purpose of the utterance, and the processes involved in generating the appropriate articulation. Much of my work is based on chronometrical studies performed on adult populations; however, I have also been involved in neuroimaging research (e.g., Maess et al., 2002; Zhang et al., 2007; Zhang & Damian, 2009), in studies of acquired brain damage (e.g, Martin et al., 1999; Wu et al., 2002), and in developmental studies (e.g., Jerger et al., in press, 2009, 2006; Jerger & Damian, 2006).
Reflecting the state of this field, most of my work targets the generation of very short phrases or merely single words (e.g., Damian, Dorjee & Stadthagen-Gonzalez, 2011; Damian & Als, 2005; Damian & Martin, 1999). I am currently attempting to expand the approach to more complex phrases and connected speech. Two questions are of particular interest to me: (1) what is the extent of advance planning in language production - at any given time, how far are speech sounds planned ahead while speakers generate language (see, e.g., Damian, 2003; Damian & Dumay, 2007), (2) for literate persons, does the spoken production of words automatically activate orthographic codes (e.g., Damian & Bowers, 2003, in press; Zhang, Damian & Yang, 2007; Zhang & Damian, 2011)?
A more recent interest of mine concerns orthographic output tasks such as handwriting, typing, and spelling, and specifically parallels and dissimilarities to speaking (e.g., Damian & Stadthagen-Gonzalez, 2009; Damian & Freeman, 2008; Zhang & Damian, 2010; Damian, Dorjee & Stadthagen-Gonzalez, 2011). I am also intruiged by the psychological and linguistic properties of non-Western languages such as Chinese Mandarin (e.g., Qu, Damian & Kazanina, 2012; Zhang & Damian, 2010, 2011). Other domains that I have been involved in are visual word recognition (e.g., Bowers, Damian & Havelka, 2002), the extent to which information can be processed in the absence of conscious awareness (e.g., Damian, 2001), the representation of numbers (e.g., Damian, 2004; Kovorst & Damian, 2008), and similarities and dissimilarities between object processing and naming, and face processing (e.g., Damian & Abdel Rahman, 2003).
I received a Bachelor's Degree from the College of New Jersey (1993) and a Master's degree (1996) and a Ph.D. degree (1998) in cognitive psychology from Rice University, Houston. Between 1998 and 2000 I was a staff member in the language production group at the Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, where I worked with Pim Levelt. I joined the School of Experimental Psychology in Bristol as a Lecturer in 2000, and have been a Professor since 2010.
Currently, I co-teach PSYC11012 Cognitive Psychology, PSYC21026 Advanced Psychological Experiments and Statistics. I coordinate and teach PSYC31051 Psychology of Language and PSYCM0011 General and Generic Research Skills I.
My research is concerned with the cognitive processes of language, and specifically with those engaged when humans speak (as opposed to when they comprehend language). I investigate the way in which humans cognitively develop intentions of what they are trying to say, the way in which words are organised in and retrieved from a mental lexicon for the purpose of the utterance, and the processes involved in generating the appropriate articulation. Much of my work is based on behavioural studies; however, I have also been involved in neuroimaging research, and in studies of acquired brain damage. Other interests of mine include numerical cognition, and processing in the absence of conscious awareness.
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