My research is about language and about thought, and the relation between the two. My students and I take a cognitive science approach to these topics by asking what sorts of mental computations and representations support human understanding of the world and human linguistic communication. Some of the fundamental questions I am interested in include: How do humans so effortlessly interpret utterances in real-time, using incoming speech to compute a speaker's intended meaning? How do young children learn the meanings of words, and interpret syntactic structure? How do the processing demands of real-time interpretation influence language acquisition, and possibly shape the languages of the world? And conversely, does the language we speak change how we see and think about the world? I have explored these questions using a variety of methods, including behavioral experimentation, eye tracking, computational modeling, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Advances have come from comparing individuals with different language backgrounds (cross-linguistic comparison), different cognitive abilities (individual differences within normal and impaired populations) and different levels of experience/maturation (developmental psycholinguistics).
If you are interested in learning about the research that I do, please visit the Language Development and Language Processing Lab web page.
Publications can be found here. And, here is a copy of my cv as of April 2014.
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