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Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Dorothy Bishop FMedSci FBA, Professor Kate Nation and Professor Karalyn Patterson FMedSci FBA
Disorders of language that arise from developmental abnormalities or from adult brain injury provide complementary perspectives on the organisation of language, yet research in these areas has evolved independently. This discussion meeting will address some of the major questions about language representations - for example, which components of language are dissociable from one another with the goal of integrating neuropsychological and developmental perspectives.
Download the meeting programme
The list of speakers and their biographies is available below. Recorded audio of the presentations are available on this page and the papers have been published in this issue of Philosophical Transactions B.
This meeting was immediately followed by a related satellite meeting at the Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre.Enquiries: Contact the events team
Professor Dorothy Bishop FMedSci FBA, University of Oxford, UK
Dorothy Bishop studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, before completing a D.Phil in neuropsychology back at Oxford. She was for 20 years funded by the Medical Research Council before moving in 1998 to the Department of Experimental Psychology in Oxford to take up her Wellcome Principal Research Fellowship. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Her research focuses on the nature and causes of children’s communication problems, encompassing psychological, linguistic, neurological and genetic aspects. Her book Uncommon Understanding won the British Psychology Society’s annual book prize in 1998. As well as publishing in conventional academic outlets, she writes a popular blog which was a runner-up in the Good Thinking Society’s UK Science Blog 2012 prize. She is a founder of a YouTube campaign for Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairments.
Professor Karalyn Patterson FMedSci FBA, University of Cambridge, UK
Karalyn Patterson is a senior research fellow in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge; a Visiting Scientist at the MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge; and Fellow and Wine Steward of Darwin College, Cambridge. Her educational background is in experimental psychology and neuropsychology, with degrees from the Universities of Toronto (Canada), Michigan and California (USA) and Cambridge (UK). Her research concentrates on what we can learn about the organisation and neural representation of language and memory from the study of neurological patients who were cognitively normal until the onset of brain disease or damage in adulthood. This research programme includes extensive cognitive testing of different patient groups, to obtain detailed patterns of processes that are impaired and those that are still relatively preserved, combined with structural and functional brain imaging to reveal malfunctioning brain regions. She has been lucky to be able to study and compare the impact of the same brain disorders on two very different languages, English and Japanese.
Professor Kate Nation, University of Oxford, UK
Kate Nation is Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. Kate’s research is focused on language and literacy development and disorder. She is interested in a range of questions concerning the nature of reading and its development, from how children begin to recognize words through to how we extract and construct meaning from written language. Further details of her research can be found at: http://lcd.psy.ox.ac.uk
Professor Maggie Snowling FMedSci FBA, University of Oxford, UK
Maggie Snowling FBA, FMed Sci is President of St. John’s College Oxford and Honorary Professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology. From 1994-2012 she was Professor of Psychology at the University of York and Co-Director of the Centre for Reading and Language. Her research focuses on children’s language and learning with a particular interest in the nature and causes of children’s reading difficulties and how best to ameliorate them. She is Past-President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading and former Joint Editor of Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. She served as a member of Sir Jim Rose’s Expert Advisory Group on provision for Dyslexia (2009) and as an expert member of the Education for All: Fast Track Initiative group in Washington DC (2011). Professor Snowling is also professionally qualified as a clinical psychologist.
Dr Daniel Mirman, Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, USA
Dan Mirman received a dual undergraduate degree in Psychology and Chemistry from Cornell University in 2000 and a PhD in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition in 2005. His graduate work combined computational modeling and behavioral experiments to examine top-down effects of word knowledge on speech perception. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Connecticut using eye-tracking, behavioral experiments, and computational modeling to investigate how word meanings are represented and accessed during spoken language comprehension. In 2009 he became an Institute Scientist at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, where he studies the phonological, semantic, and cognitive control aspects of spoken language processing and how they are impaired following stroke.
Dr Myrna Schwartz, Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, USA
Dr Schwartz was educated at New York University (BA, Psychology), University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D. Psychology) and Johns Hopkins Medical School (Postdoctoral training, Behavioral Neurology). She held teaching appointments at Swarthmore College and University of Pennsylvania before joining the staff at Moss Rehabilitation Hospital, where she helped found the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute in 1992. At MRRI, she serves as Associate Director, Senior Research Scientist, and Research Director of the Moss Aphasia Center. She is also Research Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Dr. Schwartz’s 30+ year research career has been devoted to advancingthe understanding and treatment of acquired aphasia by relating its varied symptom presentation to the computational, and neural architecture of the language system. She has held numerous grants on topics in neurolinguistics, cognitive neuroscience and neurorehabilitation and publishes in major peer-reviewed journals in those areas.
Dr Chloë Marshall, Institute of Education, University of London, UK
Chloë Marshall has a background in biology, Montessori education, linguistics and psychology. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Human Development at the IOE, where she leads the Masters in Special and Inclusive Education. She sits on the management committee of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience at Birkbeck/IOE/UCL and contributes to the Masters in Educational Neuroscience at Birkbeck/IOE. She recently edited the volume Current Issues in Developmental Disorders (2013; Psychology Press) and is Associate Editor of the journal First Language. Her research interests include typical and atypical language and literacy development in hearing and deaf children. Current research projects include an investigation of executive functions and language in deaf primary school children, with Tanya Denmark, Gary Morgan, Nicola Botting and Kathryn Mason at UCL and City University London, and an evaluation of “Talk for Writing”, with Julie Dockrell and Dominic Wyse at the IOE.
Professor Timothy Rogers, University of Madison-Wisconsin, USA
Timothy Rogers is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Psychology Department. His research focuses on the cognitive, biological, and computational mechanisms that support human behavior in conceptual tasks such as language comprehension, induction and inference, object-recognition and categorization. Rogers uses biologically-inspired computer models to investigate how domain-general learning processes interact with pre-specified architectural constraints to support conceptual knowledge acquisition and processing in healthy and brain-damaged populations.This work is aimed at understanding the mechanisms that first give rise to conceptual abilities in development, how such mechanisms are influenced by experience and/or pathology, and how mature abilities can degrade as a consequence of focal and progressive brain injury. Rogers is the co-author (with Jay McClelland of Stanford University) of Semantic Cognition: A Parallel Distributed Processing Approach (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).
Professor Gert Westermann, Lancaster University, UK
Gert Westermann studied Computer Science, Linguistics and Psychology in Braunschweig, Germany and Austin, TX, before combining all three in a PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Edinburgh. He then worked as a Researcher for the Sony Computer Science Lab in Paris before joining the School of Psychology at Birkbeck, London, as a Research Fellow. He subsequently moved to Oxford Brookes University as a Lecturer and became Professor of Psychology in 2009. In 2011 he moved to Lancaster University. His work is mainly concerned with cognitive development but also with the question of how development shapes cognitive processing in adults. In his work he combines empirical approaches such as eye tracking of infants with computational modelling to build theories of cognitive change through development. From January to July 2013 Westermann is a Lichtenberg Fellow at the University of Göttingen, Germany, where he works in an interdisciplinary environment on questions of cognitive and language development.
Professor Matthew Lambon Ralph, University of Manchester, UK
I moved to Manchester in 2001 as Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience within the School of Psychological Sciences. The three major themes in my research interests are: semantic cognition; language and its disorders; recovery and rehabilitation. I am an Action Editor for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation and on the editorial board for Cognitive Neuropsychology, Memory, International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, Psychologia, and Neurocase. I was the President of The British Neuropsychological Society (2010-12) and the Vice-Chair for the British Aphasiology Society (2000-2005). I was made a Fellow (hons) of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in 2003 and Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2012. I am also a Senior Investigator for the NIHR, a member of the MRC Non-Clinical Training and Career Development Panel, of the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship panel, and of HEFCE REF Panel 4 (Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience).
Dr Gary Dell, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
Gary S Dell obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Toronto in 1980. He held faculty positions at Dartmouth College and the University of Rochester before his current position, Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dell is also Chair of the Cognitive Science Group at Illinois' Beckman Institute for Advanced Research and Technology. His research interests include language production and aphasia, and how normal and pathological speech errors can be modeled using neural networks.
Dr Courtenay Norbury, Royal Holloway, University of London
Courtenay Norbury is a Reader in Developmental Neuropsychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. She worked as a speech-language therapist in East London before completing her DPhil in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. Her research centres on the nature of language impairment in different developmental disorders, most notably specific language impairment and autism spectrum disorder. She has used eye-tracking techniques to explore language comprehension and production in different neurocognitive phenotypes within the autism spectrum. She is currently conducting the first population study of risk for language impairment at school entry in the UK. She is also an editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Professor Anne Castles, Macquarie University, Australia
Anne Castles is Professor of Cognitive Science at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders at Macquarie University, Sydney. She completed her PhD in 1993 and was a teaching and research academic in the psychology department at the University of Melbourne from 1994-2006. She has a strong research interest in variability within the reading-impaired population, and in the causes of different types of dyslexia, including genetic, perceptual and language factors. She is also interested in the process of normal reading development and in particular in the mechanism by which word recognition skills are acquired by children learning to read. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA) and serves on the Editorial Boards of Cortex, Cognitive Neuropsychology and the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.
Dr Johannes Ziegler, Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, CNRS et Aix-Marseille Université, France
Dr Johannes Ziegler is the Director of the CNRS Research Centre on Cognitive Psychology and the Co-Director of the Center of Excellence on Brain and Language at the University of Aix-Marseille located in the South of France. He graduated in Psychology at the University of Aachen in Germany and obtained his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Provence in France. Before entering the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in 1997, he was awarded a prestigious ARC postdoctoral fellowship to work with Max Coltheart at the Macquarie Center for Cognitive Science in Sydney Australia. He is an Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow and an associate scientist at the Centre of Excellence on Languages of Emotions at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. His main interests are on normal and impaired reading, reading development, neural bases of reading, emotion processing in reading, and computational models of reading.
Dr Anna Woollams, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK
Dr Anna Woollams began research into normal reading in her doctorate in experimental psycholinguistics in the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science in Sydney, Australia, which was awarded in 2003. After a lectureship in the School of Psychology at the University of Wollongong in Australia, she then moved to the UK in 2004 to take up a postdoctoral research position with Professor Karalyn Patterson at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. This allowed her to study the consequences of fronto-temporal dementia for spoken and written language processing, using a large case-series methodology combined with connectionist modelling. She moved to a Lectureship in the Neuroscience and Aphasia Unit at the University of Manchester in 2007, allowing her to extend her research to encompass neurostimulation, neuroimaging, stroke aphasic language deficits, rehabilitation for language disorders and, most recently, aspects of early language development.
Professor Charles Hulme, University College London, UK
Charles Hulme is Professor of Psychology at University College London. Previously he worked at the University of York. Charles has broad research interests in reading, language and memory processes and their development and is an expert on randomized controlled trials in Education. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the journal ‘Scientific Studies of Reading’ (2007-2009) and is currently Senior Editor of the Association of Psychological Science’s flagship journal, Psychological Science. His publications include 4 authored and 4 edited books, some 170 journal articles, as well as several psychometric tests including the “York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension” the UK’s new standard test of reading comprehension.
Professor Sophie Scott FMedSci, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK
Sophie Scott is a cognitive neuroscientist interested in the neural systems that underlie human vocal communication, with a particular interest in the different ways that the human brain processes sounds and speech, the contributions of hemispheric asymmetries, and the ways that speech perception and production interact. She has been extending her research to address the social use of speech and language as well as affective aspects of vocal behaviour, such as laughter. She is group leader of the Speech Communication group at the ICN, and funded by a Senior Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust.
Dr Athanassios Protopapas, University of Athens, Greece
Athanassios Protopapas is Associate Professor of Cognitive Science in the Department of Philosophy and History of Science, University of Athens, Greece. He holds a degree in Physics from the University of Patras (1991), MS in Cognitive Science (1993) and in Engineering (1995) and PhD in Cognitive Science from Brown University (Providence, RI, USA). In his dissertation he examined the role of stress and syllables in the perception of speech. He has worked on psychoacoustics, development of software for the assessment and remediation of language, reading, and cognitive abilities as well as on development and standardization of psychoeducational assessment tests. His main research interests focus on cognitive mechanisms of spoken and written language learning and perception at the lexical and sublexical level. He also works on computational cognitive models, acoustic phonetics, and development of resources and tools to support psycholinguistic research.
Professor Sonja Kotz, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany
Sonja A Kotz is a cognitive and affective neuroscientist, who investigates speech, language, and communication. More specifically, her research centers on predictive coding and cognitive/affective control with respect to verbal and non-verbal components in speech, language, and communication as well as their integration in healthy and clinical (aphasic, neurodegenerative) populations using behavioural and neuroimaging methods (event-related brain potentials (ERPs), M/EEG-oscillations, magnetoencephalography (MEG), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)). She holds an independent research group leadership in the Department of Neuropsychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany (http://www.cbs.mpg.de/depts/npsy/scc) as well as an Honorary Professorship in Psychology at the University of Leipzig, Germany.
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