Thompson-Schill Lab :: Lab Alumni

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Nazbanou NozariNazbanou Nozari
Tehran University of Medical Sciences; M.D., 2005
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Ph.D. Cognitive Psychology, 2011
Research Interests: I study people's ability to process language efficiently, with a strong emphasis on how cognitive control influences verbal communication or tasks requiring verbal processing. Producing fluent meaningful language is heavily dependent on executive abilities, and I use various methods, such as behavioral experimentation, computational modeling, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), Voxel-based Lesion-Symptom Mapping (VLSM), and rececently, eye-tracking to learn the exact nature of these dependencies. I use three populations: healthy younger adults, older adults (to understand the cognitive changes during normal aging), and post-stroke brain-damaged patients (to understand the consequences of damage to the cognitive system). In the future, I hope to use the fruit of this research for developing beter methods of learning in neurologically-healthy individuals, as well as re-learning the lost information in brain-damaged patients.
Email: nozari@sas.upenn.edu Website ยป

Yune-Sang LeeYune-Sang Lee
Yonsei University; B.S. Biology, 2001
Darmouth College; Ph.D. Cognitive Neuroscience, 2010
Research Interests: I am interested in exploring the neural route/basis of percept-to-concept. More specifically, my research has been focused on how the brain integrates modality-specific percepts into the internal brain language of modality-independent concepts. To address the question, I mainly use functional neuroimaging combined with machine-learning techniques. Besides, I'm interested in the 'cousin' of language, that is, music processing in the brain and the evolution of music and language of humans.
Email: yslee@sas.upenn.eduWebsite »

Lila Chrysikou Lila Chrysikou
Panteion University of Athens Greece; B.A. in Psychology
Temple University; Ph.D. in Cognitive & Experimental Psychology
Research Interests: I am interested in the neural bases of semantic knowledge and goal-oriented action, with emphasis on human problem solving and innovative tool use in everyday tasks.
Research in Progress: My current projects involve behavioral, neuroimaging, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and neuropsychological studies on the flexibility of human semantic knowledge during the generation of common and alternative uses for everyday objects.
Email: evangelg@psych.upenn.edu  |  Website »

Rob Goldberg Rob Goldberg
Hofstra University; B.A. in Cognitive Science, 1999
University of Pittsburgh; Ph.D. Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, 2004
Research Interests: Rob explores how brain processes allow for the intuition of unified, yet flexible, semantic representations that can explain both the fluidity of metaphors and the rigidity of scientific facts. He is interested in the relationship between sensory brain mechanisms and perceptual knowledge of objects, and how language allows for the development and maintenence of abstract semantic knowledge.
Research in Progress: As a conceptual case study, Rob is currently examining the living/non-living distinction from its formation in cognitive development through its decay with brain damage. Using behavioral, computational, and fMRI methods, his present research aims to instantiate this distinction and its developmental trajectory in specific brain mechanisms.

email: grob@mit.edu

David KraemerDavid Kraemer
Tufts University; B.S. Psychology, B.A. Drama, 2002
Dartmouth College; Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2007
Research Interests: I am interested in different forms of linguistic and non-linguistic semantic processing. In particular, my work has focused on the role of domain-specific brain regions (visual cortex, auditory cortex, motor planning areas) during the retrieval of perceptual memories.
Research in Progress: A distinction exists between visual and verbal learners that is expressed in both self-report measures and tests of cognitive abilities. My present line of research is focused on exploring how the brain instantiates these individual differences in domain-specific cognitive processing. To achieve this goal, I am conducting studies using fMRI, genotyping, and neuropsychological testing.
Email: dkraemer@psych.upenn.eduWebsite

Gary Lupyan Gary Lupyan
Cornell University; B.A. Cognitive Science, 2002
Carnegie Mellon University; Ph.D Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, 2007
Research Interests: How does language modulate and inform other cognitive and perceptual processes? My research has explored the role of language in categorization, memory, and visual perception using behavioral and computational approaches.
Research in Progress: (1) How do task demands and context influence conceptual and perceptual representations? (2) What are the neural mechanisms by which verbal labels influence visual processing? (3) What types of grammars are particularly difficult for adults to learn? How do such developmental learning trajectories relate to neural maturation?

email: lupyan@wisc.edu

Jared MinkelJared Minkel
UC Berkeley; B.A. in Psychology
University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Duke University; Internship in Clinical Psychology

Research Interests: I am interested in sleep and emotion in people with and without psychiatric conditions.
Research in Progress: Clinical outcome data suggest that depressed patients with personality disorders respond relatively well to antidepressant medication, but relatively poorly to cognitive therapy while depressed patients without personality disorders show the opposite relationship. My primary postdoctoral research project seeks to use BOLD and perfusion MRI to find neural correlates differentiating these two groups that may offer insight into their differential treatment responses.

Dawn Morales Dawn Morales
U of New Orleans; B.A. in Psychology, 1996
UC San Diego; Ph.D. in Psychology, 2003
Research Interests: Address the inter-relationships between different memory systems and visual peception. I am curious about how information-processing proceeds (e.g., How does memory influence perception? What kinds of variables affect visual encoding and memory retrieval?) as well as how information is represented (how is memory for color represented? What is the nature of rehearsal in visual working memory?)
Research in Progress: Behavioral experiments that characterize the nature of rehearsal and representation in color memory. I am planning some further patient studies in color memory.

Tatiana Schnur Tatiana Schnur
University of Virginia; B.A. in Cognitive Science, 1995
Harvard University; Ph.D. in Psychology, 2003
Research Interests: Language production in aphasic and healthy populations. Speech is produced very rapidly, at a rate of two to three words per second, and yet we rarely make mistakes. How we are able to produce words in the correct order with the correct sounds so quickly and flawlessly? In order to address this question, I focus on the selection mechanisms involved in both single- and multi-word production at the lexical level.
Research in Progress: I am looking at aphasic speakers' pattern of errors during a rapid picture naming paradigm [the paced-cyclic (PC) naming paradigm] as a way to understand how multi-word production breaks down for some aphasic speakers. Additionally, I am looking at whether Broca's area is recruited during categorically blocked paced-cyclic naming in aphasic and healthy participants using neuroimaging.

Geeta Shivde Geeta Shivde
Oberlin College; B.A. in Biopsychology, 1995
U of Oregon; Ph.D. in Psychology, 2001
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Psychology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA.

Katharina Spalek Katharina Spalek
NICI, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Ph.D. in Psychology: 2005
Research Interests: Lexical retrieval during language production. How is semantic, syntactic, and phonological knowledge stored in the mental lexicon and how is it accessed during speaking? I am particularly interested in the retrieval of lexical-syntactic properties, that is, properties needed for the computation of agreement (e.g., in some languages, the form of an adjective depends on the grammatical gender of the noun it specifies). More recently, my interests have also turned to the representation of semantic knowledge in the mental lexicon.
Research in Progress: I have come to the CCN in order to learn how to use fMRI during language production. I am currently planning both a behavioral and an fMRI experiment that will address the question of flexibility in semantic associations. That is, I want to know whether the semantic representation for a given object can change depending on a speaker's focus.

Malathi Thothathiri Malathi Thothathiri
Indian Institute of Technology; B.Tech. Engineering
Harvard University; Ph.D. Psychology
Research Interests: Neural basis of language, syntactice processing and acquisition, interaction between language and executive functions in children, healthy adults, and patients with brain damage.
Research in Progress:I am using behavioral and neural methods to study sequencing syntactic processing in aphasic individuals and healthy adults.

email: mthotha1@swarthmore.edu

Eiling Yee Eiling Yee
University of Rochester B.A.
Brown University; Ph.D.
Research Interests: Semantic memory, neural representation of concepts, word recognition, language processing, aphasia, neural basis of language.
Research in Progress: I am currently using eye movements and fMRI to explore: 1) the lexical-semantic processing that occurs as the meaning of a heard word becomes active, and 2) how and where the meanings of concrete objects are represented in the brain.
Email: eiling@psych.upenn.edu  |  Website »

Doctoral Students

NIck HindyNick Hindy
Cornell University; B.A., 2007
Research Interests: I am interested in how memories are maintained and how the prefrontal cortex influences their retrieval.
Research in Progress: I am using fMRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to try and better understand memory and memory retrieval.

Laura H.F. Barde Laura H.F. Barde
U of California, Irvine; B.A. in Drama, 1992
U of California, Irvine; B.A. in Psychology, 2000
Research Interests: The goal of my research is to understand how humans comprehend spoken language. I am additionally interested in the functional neuroanatomy of this process.
Research in Progress: Currently I am using both standard behavioral and eye tracking methodologies to investigate the relationship between sound and meaning in aphasic comprehension. For example, I want to know more about the kinds of semantic/conceptual knowledge that aphasics access during the spoken word recognition process. When I have a better idea of what I want to know about the language comprehension system, I'll also use fMRI measures of healthy adult subjects.

Marina Bedny Marina Bedny
Johns Hopkins; B.A. in Cognitive Science, 2001
Research Interests: My research interests are in Cognitive Neuroscience, the neural correlates of language, language acquisition and how learning processes affect the structure of neural representation.
Research in Progress: Currently I am exploring the link between noun and verb acquisition and how these are represented in the brain. Another project focuses on the difference between 1st and 2nd language processing. This project focuses on what aspect of 2nd language processing makes its neural correlates different from 1st language processing.

Daniel Drucker Daniel Drucker
Rutgers U; B.A. in Psychology; concentration in Cognitive Science, 2001
Research Interests: I am broadly interested in the neural bases of object and concept similarity spaces.
Research in Progress: Currently, I am exploring the focal and distributed representations of visual similarity of parameterized shape spaces in human object recognition cortex.

Nina Hsu Nina Hsu
Duke University; B.S., 2006
Research Interests: I am interested in memory in general, with an emphasis on the neural mechanisms underlying organization and storage of semantic memory.
Research in Progress: Currently, I am using behavioral and neuroimaging measures to examine the role of visual experience and feature diagnosticity on long-term memory of objects.

Irene P. Kan Irene P. Kan
College of Wooster; B.A. in Psychology, 1995
Villanova University; M.S. in Experimental Psychology, 1998
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Memory Disorders Clinic, Boston.

Robyn Oliver Robyn Oliver
U of San Diego; B.A. in Psychology, 1999
Research Interests: I study the organization of semantic memory and I am particularly interested in retrieval of visual information.
Research in Progress: I am currently running fMRI and behavioral studies that investigate the cognitive and neural processing involved with retrieval of visual attributes. Most of these studies test the claims of the distributed model of semantic memory.

Ranjani Prabhakaran Ranjani Prabhakaran
Brown University; Sc.B. in Neuroscience, 2004
Research Interests: My research focuses on the neural correlates of working memory, language processing, and the role of prefrontal cortex in executive functions. In particular, I am interested in the extent to which prefrontal cortex functions in a domain-general fashion across verbal and nonverbal domains. I am also interested in genetic influences on individual differences in cognitive control abilities.
Research in Progress: I am currently investigating the extent to which there is correlated variation in individual performance across cognitive control tasks in verbal and nonverbal domains. I also plan to explore the contributions of genetic polymorphisms related to dopamine reuptake to these individual differences in cognitive control abilities.

Stacey Schaefer Stacey Schaefer
U of Wisconsin, Madison; B.S. in Psychology & Zoology, 1996
Research Interests: Identifying the neural circuitry of emotion, in particular, the neural circuitry of emotion regulation and the relation between individual differences in this circuitry's reactivity and state and trait measures of affective style.
Research in Progress: Currently I am using fMRI to identify the neural circuitry of voluntary emotion regulation, both positive and negative emotion, in normals. In addition, I am using masked stimuli presentations to develop a behavioral paradigm that reliably elicits changes in subjective emotional experience without changes in conscious perception of emotional stimuli, with the eventual goal of taking the paradigm to fMRI to examine the neural correlates of the experience of emotion.

Research Specialists

Andrew PersichettiAndrew Persichetti
Portland State University; B.A. in Philosophy & Psychology, 2010
Current Position: Graduate student in Cognitive Psychology, Emory University

Angel Dyke Angel Dyke
Indiana University; B.A. in Psychology, 2011

 

Melissa Brandon Melissa Brandon
U of Pittsburgh; B.S. in Neuroscience & Psychology, 2002
Current Position: Graduate student in Cognitive Psychology, University of Wisconsin.

Jennifer DeSantis Jennifer DeSantis
Vassar College; B.A. in Psychology, 2008
Current Position: Graduate student in Teaching/Education, Stanford University

Steven FranklandSteven Frankland
College of Wooster; B.A. in Psychology & Philosophy, 2007
Current Position: Graduate Student in Psychology, Harvard University.

Ben Greene Ben Greene
Oberlin College; B.A. in Neuroscience, 2006

Elizabeth Hirshorn Elizabeth Hirshorn
Wellesley College; B.S. in Cognitive Science and Spanish, 2003
Current Position: Graduate Student in Psychology, University of Rochester.

Andrea Houghtling Andrea Houghtling
Duke University; B.S. in Psychology, 2008
Current Position: Graduate Student in Neuroscience, Rutgers University

Mark Macdonald Mark Macdonald
University of York, UK; BSc in Psychology, 2005


Sam MessingSam Messing
Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in Philosophy, 2009
Current Position: Graduate Student in Computer Science, Columbia University

Jessica Pickard Jessica D. Pickard
SUNY Cortland; B.S. in Psychology, 2001
Current Position: Graduate student in Clinical Child Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi.

Hannah Snyder Hannah Snyder
Oberlin College; B.A. in Neuroscience & Psychology, 2004

Undergraduates

Tammy Bockow Tammy Brokow
University of Pennsylvania; Independent Study

Erica Calderon Erica Calderon
University of Pennsylvania B.S. in Psychology, 2004

Zoe Clancy Zoe Clancy
University of Pennsylvania; Biological Basis of Behavior
Plans After Graduation: Research Assistant for Mark Jung-Beeman at Northwestern University.

Katy Cross Katy Cross
University of Pennsylvania B.A. in Psychology, 2005
Current Position: Research assistant, University of Pennsylvania.

Emily Geiger Emily Geiger
University of Pennsylvania B.A. in Psychology, 2005

Jen Goldschmied Jen Goldschmied
University of Pennsylvania; Independent Study

Mike Herzlinger Mike Herzlinger
University of Pennsylvania; Department of Psychology
Plans After Graduation: Roaming the mean streets of New York City.

Justin Hulbert Justin Hulbert
University of Pennsylvania; B.A. in Psychology 2005
Current Position: Graduate student in Cognitive Psychology, University of Oregon.

Allison Lapchak Allison Lapchak
University of Pennsylvania; Department of Psychology
Plans After Graduation: Post-Bac program, Bryn Mawr College.

Claudia Maennel Claudia Maennel
Free University of Berlin; Exchange Student

Jessica McConaughy Jessica McConaughy
University of Pennsylvania; Independent Study

Molly Parsons Molly Parsons
University of Pennsylvania; Independent Study

Lauren Rosenberg Lauren Rosenberg
University of Pennsylvania; B.A. in Cognitive Science, 2005

Adi Shafir Adi Shafir
University of Pennsylvania B.A. in Cognitive Science, 2005

Rebecca Stone Rebecca Stone
University of Pennsylvania; Graduate Student, Department of Neuroscience.

Sarah Thompson Sarah Thompson
University of Pennsylvania; Biological Basis of Behavior
Plans After Graduation: Teach for America.

Amanda Van Scoyoc Amanda Van Scoyoc
University of Pennsylvania; B.A. in Psychology, 2005

Nathan Witthoft Nathan Witthoft
University of Pennsylvania; Department of Psychology
Plans after Graduation: Graduate Student, MIT

People

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