My primary area of research is psychology and cognitive neuroscience of language, spanning from sentence processing and speech perception to acquisition of syntax and meaning. My key interest is to explore degree to which the speaker's use of grammatical knowledge guides and expedites their real-time language processing. My research uses a combination of behavioral (reaction time studies, comprehension tasks with children) and electro- and magnetoecephalographic techniques (EEG and MEG) to elucidate processing mechanisms used by humans to ensure an effortless and effective language communication.
My research on speech perception, namely, investigation of early EEG responses from the auditory cortex, has straightforward applications for study and diagnosis of different neurological conditions. In 2007, in collaboration with Dr Andrea Tales (University of Swansea), I started research into early sensory processing in dementia. Our study, supported via a BBSRC-funded PhD studentship to George Stothart, investigates early EEG responses to audio, visual and audio-visual stimuli in patients Alzheimer's Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
I am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology of Language at the School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol. I moved to Bristol in 2007 from the University of Ottawa, were I had been an Assistant Professor at the Department of Linguistics.
Language is constantly used by humans for sharing their needs and desires. People produce and comprehend linguistic utterances without any visible effort, yet objectively these are tasks of unprecedented computational complexity. Indeed, after more than 50 years of development the quality of machine translation and automatic speech recognition still does not compare with human performance levels. I study how the ability to comprehend language is established in children, how an adult brain processes native language in real time and how new languages are learned and represented in the brain in adulthood. To explore these questions I use a combination of psychophysical techniques and brain imaging (in particular, electroencephalography or EEG).
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