Brenda Rapp

Professor and Chair

Krieger 135 | Krieger 131C (lab)
By appointment
410-516-5248 | 410-516-5244 (lab)
Curriculum Vitae
Group/Lab Website


Words....Even a single word has great power to inform or provoke us. My primary research interests lie in furthering our understanding of the cognitive processes and neural substrates that support written and spoken word production and comprehension.

At a cognitive level, this work includes examining questions such: What do we know when we know the spellings of words? To what extent are lexical phonological orthographic, semantic and syntactic processes independent from one another? If they interact, at what level of processing? And, in what manner? Most of this work involves the detailed examination of the language performance of individuals who have suffered neural injury (typically from stroke) that has affected language functions. These cognitive neuropsychological data provide a "window" into the organization and internal structure of lexical processing mechanisms. In this context, I have particular interests in written word production (spelling) and dysgraphia.

At the neural level, I am interested in understanding the neural substrates that support written language production (spelling) and comprehension (reading), as well as in understanding  the changes that support new orthographic learning in neurally intact individuals and the  recovery of written language function in cases of neural injury. This work contributes to furthering our understanding of neural plasticity and involves using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging).

I am very interested in the question of how neural data can be used to answer cognitive questions.  This research currently involves the application of multi-voxel pattern analysis techniques to fMRI data.

I also carry out research on somatosensory representation/reorganization, spatial frames of reference and the perception of second language phonology.

050.203/080.203   Cognitive Neuroscience
050.318/080.400   Practicum in Language Disorders
050.311                      The Literate Mind and Brain
050.602                     Topics in Cognitive Neuropsychology
050.802                    Research Seminar in Cognitive Processes

 Articles and Chapters

Rothlein, D. & Rapp, B. (in press). The similarity structure of distributed neural responses reveals the neural representations of letters. Neuroimage.

Tainturier, M.J., Bosse, M-L, Roberts, D.J., Valdois, S. & Rapp, B. (in press). Lexical neighbourhood effects in pseudoword spelling. Frontiers in Cognitive Science.

Purcell, J. & Rapp, B. (in press). Identifying functional reorganization of spelling networks: An Individual Peak Probability Comparison approach. Frontiers in Cognitive Science.

Dufor, O. & Rapp, B. (2013). Letter representations in writing: an fMRI adaptation approach. Frontiers in Cognitive Science, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00781

Rapp, B., Buchwald, A. & Goldrick, M. (2013). Integrating accounts of speech production: The devil is in the representational details. Language, Cognition and NeuroscienceDOI:10.1080/01690965.2013.848991

Cohen-Goldberg, A.M. Cholin, J. Miozzo, M., Rapp, B. (2013) The interface between morphology and phonology: Exploring a morpho-phonological deficit in spoken production. Cognition, 2, 270-286.

Yoshioka, T. Dillon, M. R., Beck, G.C., Rapp, B., & Landau, B. (2013). Tactile localization on digits and hand: Structure and Development. Psychological Science, 24(9), 1653-1663.

Rapp, B., Caplan, D., Edwards, S., Visch-Brink, E., & Thompson, C.K. (2013). Neuroimaging in aphasia treatment research: Issues of experimental design for relating cognitive to neural changes. Neuroimage, 75, 200-207.

Dessalegn, B., Landau, B., & Rapp, B. (2012). Consequences of severe visual-spatial deficits for reading acquisition: Evidence from Williams Syndrome. Neurocase. 1-20. 

Fischer-Baum, S., & Rapp, B. (2012). Underlying cause(s) of letter perseveration errors. Neuropsychologia, 50, 305-318. 

Rapp, B. & Fischer-Baum, S. (in press). The representation of orthographic knowledge. In V. Ferreira, M. Goldrick & M. Miozzo (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of language production. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rapp, B. (2011). Case series in cognitive neuropsychology: Promise, perils, and proper perspective. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 28(7), 435-44.

Costa, V., Fischer-Baum, S., Capasso, R., Miceli, G., & Rapp, B. (2011). Temporal stability and representational distinctiveness: Key functions of orthographic working memory. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 28(5), 338-362. 

Purcell, J., Turkeltaub, P., Eden, G & Rapp, B. (2011). Examining the central and peripheral processes of written word production through meta-analysis. Frontiers in Language Sciences, 2, article 239. 

Rapp, B., & Dufor, O. (2011) The Neurotopography of Written Word Production: An fMRI Investigation of the Distribution of Sensitivity to Length and Frequency. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(12), 4067-4081 

Tsapkini, K., Vindiola, M., & Rapp, B. (2011) Patterns of brain reorganization subsequent to left fusiform damage: fMRI evidence from visual processing of words and pseudowords, faces and objects. NeuroImage, 55(3), 1357-1372. 

Rapp, B. & Miozzo, M. (2011). Introduction to papers from the 5th Workshop on Language Production: The neural bases of language production. Language and Cognitive Processes. First published on: 03 March 2011 (iFirst). 

Rapp, B., & Lipka, K. (2011) The literate brain: The relationship between reading and spelling. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(5), 1180-1197. 

Wolmetz, M., Poeppel, D., & Rapp, B. (2011). What Does the Right Hemisphere Know About Phoneme Categories? Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(3), 552-569. 

Cholin, J., Rapp, B., Miozzo, M. (2010). When do combinatorial mechanisms apply in the production of inflected words? Cognitive Neuropsychology, 27(4), 334-359. 

Rapp, B. (2010). Editorial. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 27(1), 1-2.

Miozzo, M., Costa, A. Hernandez, M. & Rapp B. (2010). Lexical processing in the bilingual brain: Evidence from grammatical/morphological deficits. Aphasiology, 24(2), 262-287 

Goldrick, M., Folk, J., & Rapp, B. (2010). Mrs. Malaprop's neighborhood: Using word errors to reveal neighborhood structure. Journal of Memory and Language. 62(2), 113-134. 

Tsapkini K., & Rapp B. (2010). The orthography-specific functions of the left fusiform gyrus: evidence of modality and category specificity. Cortex 46, 185-205. 

Goldrick, M., Dell, G. S., Kroll, J., & Rapp, B. (2009). Sequential information processing and limited interaction in language production. Science, E-letter response to Sahin et al. 2009. and Hagoort & Levelt 2009.

Buchwald A, Rapp B. (2009). Distinctions between orthographic long-term memory and working memory. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 26(8) 724-51. 

Jones, A., Folk, J. & Rapp, B. (2009). All letters are not equal: Subgraphemic texture in orthographic working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 35 (6), 1389-1402.

Rapp B, & Glucroft B. (2009). The benefits and protective effects of behavioral treatment for dysgraphia in a case of primary progressive aphasia. Aphasiology. 23(2), 236-265. 

Medina, J. & Rapp, B. (2008). Phantom tactile sensations modulated by body position. Current Biology, 18(4), 1937-1942. 

Caño, A., Rapp, B., Costa, A. & Juncadella, M. (2008). Deafness for the meanings of number words. Neuropsychologia, 46(1), 63-81 

Goldberg, A. & Rapp, B. (2008). Is compound chaining the serial order mechanism of spelling? A simple recurrent network investigation. Cognitive Neuropsychology. 25 (2), 218-235 

Menichellli, L., Rapp, B. & Semenza, C. (2008). Allographic agraphia: A case study. Cortex, 44 (7), 861- 868. 

Raymer, A.M., Beeson, P., Holland, A., Maher, L.M., Martin, N., Murray, L., Rose, M., Thompson, C. K., Turkstra, L., Altmann, L., Boyle, M., Conway, T., Hula, W., Kearns, K., Kendall, D., Rapp, B., Simmons- Mackie, N., & Gonzalez-Rothi, L.J. (2008). Translational research in aphasia: From neuroscience to neurorehabilitation. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51, S259-275. 

Buchwald, A., Rapp, B., & Stone, M. (2007) Insertion of discrete phonological units: An articulatory and acoustic investigation of aphasic speech. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22 (6), 910-948 

Goldrick, M. & Rapp, B. (2007). Lexical and post-lexical phonological representations in spoken production. Cognition, 102 (2), 219-260 

Buchwald, A. & Rapp, B. (2006). Consonants and vowels in orthographic representations. Cognitive Neuropsychology 21 (2), 308-337. 

McCloskey, M., Macaruso, P. & Rapp, B. (2006). Grapheme-to-lexeme feedback in the spelling system: Evidence from a dysgraphic patient. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 23 (2), 278-307. 

Rapp, B. & Goldrick, M. (2006). Speaking words: Contributions of cognitive neuropsychological research. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 23 (1), 39-73.

Rapp, B. (2005). The relationship between treatment outcomes and the underlying cognitive deficit: Evidence from the remediation of acquired dysgraphia. Aphasiology, 19, 994-1008. 

Buchwald, A. & Rapp, B. (2004). Rethinking the Graphemic Buffer Brain and Language, 91, 100-101.

Hillis, A., & Rapp, B. (2004). Cognitive and neural substrates of written language comprehension and production. In, M. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The New Cognitive Neurosciences, 3rd Edition.

Rapp, B. & Goldrick, M. (2004). Feedback by any other name is still interactivity: A reply to Roelofs comment on Rapp & Goldrick (2000). Psychological Review.

Tainturier, M.J. & Rapp, B. (2004). Complex graphemes as functional spelling units: Evidence from acquired dysgraphia. Neurocase. 

Buchwald, A. & Rapp, B. (2003). The orthographic representation of consonant-vowel status: Evidence from two cases of acquired dysgraphia. Brain and Language, 87, 120-121. 

Rapp, B. & Hendel, S. K. (2003). Principles of cross-modal competition: Evidence from deficits of attention. Psychological Bulletin and Review, 10(1), 210-129. 

Tainturier, M.J. & Rapp, B. (2003). Is a single graphemic buffer used in reading and spelling Aphasiology, 17 (6/7), 537-562.

Folk, J., Rapp, B. & Goldrick, M. (2002). Interaction of lexical and sublexical information in spelling-Whats the point Cognitive Neuropsychology, 19, 53-671.

Goldrick, M. & Rapp, B. (2002). A restricted interaction account (RIA) of spoken word production:The best of both worlds. Aphasiology, 16, 20-55. 

Rapp, B., Hendel, S.K., & Medina, J. (2002). Remodeling of somatosensory hand representations following cerebral lesions in humans. Neuroreport, 13, 207-211.

Rapp, B. (2002). Uncovering the cognitive architecture of spelling. In A. Hillis (Ed.), Handbook on Adult Language Disorders: integrating Cognitive Neuropsychology, Neurology and Rehabilitation. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (2002). Selective difficulties with spoken nouns and written verbs: A single case study. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 15, 373-402.

Rapp, B., Epstein, C. & Tainturier, M.J. (2002). The integration of information across lexical and sublexical processes in spelling. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 19, 1-29.

Rapp, B., Hendel, S. & Medina, J. (2002). Remodeling of somatosensory hand representations subsequent to cerebral lesions in adult humans. NeuroReport, 13, 1-5. 

Rapp, B. & Kane, A. (2002). Remediation of deficits affecting different components of the spelling process. Aphasiology, 16, 439-454. 

Rapp, B, Folk, J., Tainturier, M. (2001). Word Reading. In B. Rapp (Ed.), What Deficits Reveal about the Human Mind/Brain: A Handbook of Cognitive Neuropsychology. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Rapp, B. & Gotsch, D. (2001). Cognitive theory in clinical practice. In R. Berndt (Ed.), Handbook of Neuropsychology, second edition. Volume 2 (Language). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers.

Tainturier, M.J. & Rapp, B. (2001). The Spelling Process. In B. Rapp (Ed.), What Deficits Reveal about the Human Mind/Brain: A Handbook of Cognitive Neuropsychology. Philadelphia: Psychology Press. 


McCloskey, M. & Rapp, B. (2000). A visually-based developmental reading deficit. Journal of Memory and Language, 43, 157-181. 

McCloskey, M. & Rapp, B. (2000). Attention-referenced visual representations: Evidence from impaired visual localization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 26, 917-933.

Rapp, B. & Goldrick, M. (2000). Discreteness and interactivity in spoken word production. Psychological Review, 107, 460-499. 

Hillis A., Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1999). When a rose is a rose in speech but a tulip in writing. Cortex, 35, 337-356. 

Hillis, A., Rapp, B., Benzing, L. & Caramazza, A (1998). Dissociable coordinate frames in unilateral spatial neglect: Viewer-centered neglect. Brain and Cognition, 37, 491-526. 

Hillis, A. & Rapp, B. (1998). Unilateral spatial neglect in dissociable frames of reference: A comment on Farah, Brunn, Wong, Wallace, and Carpenter (1990). Neuropsychologia, 36, 1257-1262. 

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1998). A case of selective difficulty in writing verbs. Neurocase, 4, 127-140.

Rapp, B., Benzing, L. & Caramazza, A. (1997). The autonomy of lexical orthography. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 14, 71-104. 

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1997). The modality specific organization of grammatical categories: Evidence from impaired spoken and written sentence production. Brain and Language, 56, 248-286. 

Rapp, B. & McCloskey, M. (1997). Brain activation and sentence comprehension. Science (letter), 275, 912. 

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1997). From graphemes to abstract letter shapes: Levels of representation in written spelling. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 23, 1130-1152.

Badecker, W., Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1996). Lexical morphology and the two orthographic routes. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 13(2), 161-175.

Hillis, A.E., Rapp, B., & Caramazza, A. (1995). Constraining claims about theories of semantic memory: More on unitary versus multiple semantics. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 12, 175-186.

McCloskey, M., Rapp, B., Yantis, S., Rubin, G., Bacon, W., Dagnelie, G., Gordon, B., Aliminosa, D., Boatman, D., Badecker, W., D. Johnson, Tusa, R., Palmer, E. (1995). A developmental deficit in localizing objects from vision. Psychological Science, 6, 112-117.

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1994). Lexical disorders and the lexicon. In M.S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1993). On the distinction between deficits of access and storage: A question of theory. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 10(2), 113-141.

Rapp, B., Hillis, A. & Caramazza, A. (1993). The role of representations in cognitive theory: More on multiple semantics and the agnosias. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 10(3), 235-249.

Rapp, B. (1992). The nature of sublexical orthographic organization: The bigram trough hypothesis examined. Journal of Memory and Language, 31, 33-53.

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1992). Cognitive neuropsychology: From impaired performance to normal cognitive structure. In R. Lister & H. Weingartner (Eds.), Cognitive Neuroscience. Oxford University Pres1991

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1991). Lexical deficits. In M. Sarno (Ed.), Acquired Aphasias. New York: Academic Press.

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1991). Spatially determined deficits in letter and word processing. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 8, 275-311.

Caramazza, A., Hillis, A., Rapp, B. & Romani, C. (1990). The multiple semantics hypothesis: Multiple confusions Cognitive Neuropsychology, 7(3), 161-189.

Hillis, A., Rapp, B., Romani, C. & Caramazza, A. (1990). Selective impairment of semantics in lexical processing. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 7(3), 191-243.

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1989). General to specific access to word meaning: A claim reexamined. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 6(2), 251-272.

Rapp, B. & Caramazza, A. (1989). Letter processing in reading and spelling: Some dissociations. Reading and Writing: An interdisciplinary Journal, 1, 13-33.