Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) perturbing vs enhancing semantic processing

We are investigating the ways that bilateral cathodal versus anodal direct electrical current stimulation of regions of the temporal lobe (e.g., temporoparietal junction vs. anterior temporal lobe)  impact cognitive processing during semantic tasks (e.g., confrontation naming, semantic association ability). We are measuring behavioral performance using eyetracking.

 Multi-dimensional scaling of abstract words

We are investigating how abstract words (e.g., truth, hope, love) cluster in semantic space in terms of emotion and magnitude and other psycholinguistic variables.

Concept acquisition and semantic access

We have created a variety of novel animated critters (pseudoanimals and artifacts). We teach people to name these. Using fMRI we are contrasting cortical activation for known relative to these newly learned item

Semantically-guided hiearchical visual search

We are using eyetracking to examine how task demands (e.g., Is this an animal or tool?; Is this predator or prey?) modulate patterns of visual search in patients with Alzheimer's Disease and frontotemporal dementia.

Pupillometry and cognitive effort during naming perceptually degraded images and sounds

We are examining pupil diamter as an index of cognitive load while naming from either an environmental sound (e.g., a barking dog) or an image (e.g., a picture of a dog) under different degrees of perceptual degradation.

Eyetracking semantic associative relationships for actions and objects

We are examining various aspects of eye movements (e.g., fixation duration, latencies, scan paths) as people make judgments of semantic relatedness for obects and actions. We are eyetracking the Pyramids and Palm Trees test (Franklin et al.) for objects and the Kissing and Dancing Test (Bak) for actions.

Structured language intervention for Alzheimer's Disease and Semantic Dementia

We are investigating the effectiveness of a language treatment targeting retention/protection of a 100 word lexicon as severity worsens in Alzheimer's Disease and frontotemporal dementia. This exciting project is the basis for an R01 project grant we now have under review.

Semantic categorization for words and pictures: Enceyploedic versus perceptual biases in semantic access

We are investigating the ways that representational modality biases knowledge access. We hypothesize that language biases a listener toward verbally learned encyclopedic knowledge, whereas pictures access qualitatively different knowledge. We are using eyetracking to test these predictions as people make judgments between groups of words and pictures.

Cross-linguistic phonological similarities of abstract and concrete words

We are investigating whether abstract and concrete words (e.g., dog versus truth) are formally marked (e.g., phonologically distinct) across numerous natural languages, including American Sign Language