Potential PhD Projects

My research uses EEG, eye-tracking, and behavioral experimentation to address questions in language comprehension, production, and memory. Below are some possible projects in these areas, although I am open to supervising work on related topics.

 

The predictive brain

Language comes to us at rates of 150-300 words per minute. How do listeners and readers deal with this rapid input stream? Recent work suggests that the brain gets a head start on processing by generating predictions about likely upcoming input. But what cognitive and neural mechanisms generate these predictions, and at what levels of representation? Is there a link with language production, such that predicting the next word involves covertly producing what you would say if you were the speaker? How does predictive behavior change with age, and how does it work outside of language?

 

Consequences of language for memory

Most studies of language comprehension focus on rapid ‘in the moment’ processing. However, language is a communication system, so speakers’ messages should also have longer-term consequences for what listeners retain in memory. Which aspects of language, and which comprehension processes, determine what is ultimately remembered or forgotten?