Gerry Altmann, Professor
Director of the CT Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Department of Psychological Sciences
Gerry Altmann is interested in language and event comprehension. In a simple sentence such as “She chopped the onion”, the state of the onion is different before and after the chopping; how do we keep track of such changes, how do we represent the different states of the onion at different moments in event-time, and how do we represent that each representation pertains to the same token onion? The research takes the view that language comprehension requires a complex interplay between semantic memory (knowledge of onions in general: ‘types’) and episodic memory (knowledge about a specific onion: a ‘token’). I use a mix of behavioral methods (predominantly eye-tracking) and neuroscientific methods (fMRI, EEG). Some of my research focuses also on how high-level knowledge impacts on lower-level attentional processing (and eye movement control).
POST DOC & LAB MANAGER
Gitte Joergensen: My primary interest is eye tracking and how to integrate eye movements with other measures such as fMRI and EEG. I work on a variety of experiments broadly related to language/reading comprehension, event representation, social communication, and emotion perception. I am also a research advocate for the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance (LBCA) and have an interest in breast cancer research with a focus on quality of life.
Office: Arjona 308
Zac Ekves: Semantic and episodic memory integration during sentence processing, Event processing, and representation, Neural correlates of event processing and semantic/episodic memory integration.
Office: Arjona 302
Emily Yearling: I am interested in how event representation develops and how these representations bias the ways in which we perceive, understand, and interact with the world. Specifically, I use neuroimaging and behavioral methods to study how the brain processes changes in the state of objects we interact with in order to anticipate and facilitate future events.
Office: Arjona 311
Emma Wing: I work on the mapping between morphosyntax and the mental representation of events in which objects change state. I am interested in how grammatical categories (e.g., different tenses, participles, etc.) activate the content of event representations during sentence comprehension, and how this content changes depending on the syntactic environment. My recent work studies how adjectival passives (e.g., ‘the dried towel’) activate object-state representations, and how these representations are modified by degree adverbs (e.g., ‘the completely dried towel’).
Office: Arjona 302
Wesley Leong: I study how the brain understands events that are experienced through language (such as when someone tells you a story). I am primarily interested in what our brains do that allows us to mentally represent participants and actions in these events, and how that may differ from events that we experience first-hand. I intend to tackle these lines of research using a combination of behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational techniques.
Office: Arjona 302
Anika Veeraraghav is a cognitive science major and women’s, gender and sexuality studies minor on a pre-med track. She is interested in learning more about the brain and neural processes through techniques such as the EEG and fMRI machines. She plans on going to medical school with hopes of becoming a neurologist or a neurosurgeon.
Michael Bakutis is a biological sciences major on a pre-med track and is highly interested in getting more involved with academic research having to do with cognitive function and areas of the brain.
Lucy Jane Yap Arce is a psychological science major with a neuroscience minor on a pre-physician associate track. She is interested in neonatology and learning more about neurological disorders.
Valerie Kamyla Duque: I am a psychological science major thinking of minoring in women’s gender and sexuality studies. I am interested in learning more about the cognitive processes behind language, as well as using different techniques to measure brain activity such as the EEG and fMRI.
FORMER DOCTORAL STUDENTS
Kyra Krass: is interested in using behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to study sentence processing and event representation. Her current research seeks to find which object states are active in the brain when individuals process change of state verbs. She is also interested in what role anticipation and affordances play in sentence processing.
Yanina Prystauka: Are brain regions recruited for processing object state changes sensitive to the number of dimensions on which the change occurs? What is the effect of processing identical syntactic structures with different levels of semantic complexity on the working memory load? Do native and L2 speakers have similar mechanisms of morphosyntactic processing? I use converging evidence from psycholinguistics and syntax to study sentence processing and its neural correlates.
FORMER LAB MEMBERS