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, my work is primarily focused on written word production (spelling) and dysgraphia.
At the neural level, I work to understand the neural substrates that support written language production (spelling) and comprehension (reading) in the intact system, as well as to understand the neuroplastic changes that occur with new orthographic learning and also the recovery of written language functions in cases of neural injury or neurodegenerative disease. The work on recovery uses fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to understand the complex, multi-level neural network changes that support re-learning and recovery in the face of damage and disruption.