Research Themes & Methods
- Cognitive architecture of the language system & its neural correlates
- Executive control in language production
- Metacognition over language: monitoring and error detection in language production
- Language impairment (aphasia) and rehabilitation
Methods: behavioral testing of neurotypical adults and children,
neuropsychological testing of post-stroke individuals with brain damage,
eye-tracking, computational modeling, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (t-DCS).
How do we monitor our speech?
I believe that speech errors are detected using a domain-general error
detection mechanism. This mechanism uses the information already
generated in the production process and relays this information to a
domain-general executive center. Our past work have provided
computational and empirical evidence in support of this account. Current
work focuses on bilingual monitoring, in collaboration with Clara Martin
Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language.
How does attention help or hurt our speech?
A huge body of work has addressed the effects of attention in visual
processing (attention in space, and in perception). Language production
provides a great opportunity to study attention in time, and in
production. My past work has shown that selective attention in
spoken production can be quantified using the analysis of speech errors.
Current work focuses on computational implementation of attention in
sequential production and study its effects on short- and long-term
retention and learning. Recently, in collaboration with Stephanie Ries
at UC-Berkeley, we have started an investigation into
electrophysiological signatures of selective attention in language
What is the role of inhibitory control in grammatical encoding?
In collaboration with Akira Omaki, we are exploring the role of inhibitory
control in lexical access and structure building in spoken production of
adults and children. This project includes a series of experiments that
investigate the level of specificity of inhibitory control to processes
involved in grammatical encoding, and the possibility that such control
may be shared with non-linguistic processes. A related project in the
lab explores the sequential effect of inhibitory control in regulating
What is the role of working memory and executive control in perspective taking?
That main project of my postdoctoral fellow, Alison, this project
constitutes a series of experiments studying the cognitive architecture
of perspective taking in production and comprehension, with a special
emphasis on working memory and inhibitory control. This project extends
the study of perspective taking to aphasia, investigates the extent and
roots of perspective taking problems in this population, and tests the
potential for non-invasive brain stimulation methods for improving such
Studying the basic architecture of the language production system,
its development and dynamics of learning
While all the projects listed above speak to these questions to some
degree, some of our on-going work test them directly. In a collaborative
project with Dr. Barbara Landau, we are exploring the development
of interactivity in the language production system in 4 and 6 year old
children. Another study looks at the effects of semantic clustering on
learning new items.