Research

About Our Research

Our lab answers questions about language, cognition, and the brain’s interaction. We answer these questions in people with aphasia, people who have had a traumatic brain injury, and in people who do not have a history of brain injury. Currently, our lab is focused on questions like:

  • How does your ability to pay attention affect how well you understand what is being said?
  • Does speech prosody improve our ability to understand language?
  • Do individuals have differences in their verbal and non-verbal cognitive abilities?

Ongoing Studies

Study 1: The relationship between attention and sentence comprehension.

This study investigates how different types of attention contribute to our ability to understand sentences. We investigate these relationships in people with and without aphasia. Our current projects related to this work are focused on developing a task that can be used clinically to assess auditory attention in people with aphasia.

Study 2: How does speech prosody interact with cognition to improve sentence comprehension?

Speech prosody refers to pitch and rhythm changes within spoken language. We vary these features while speaking to direct listeners to important information. Previous work, including our own, indicates that speech prosody may relate to specific aspects of cognition (e.g., attention). These findings prompted us to ask questions about which aspects of prosody are capturing attention, and subsequently improving our ability to understand language. The long-term goal of this work is to develop a treatment intervention that uses prosody to improve language comprehension for people with aphasia.

This project explores whether listening to music improves attention and language abilities in people with aphasia. This project is funded by the ASHFoundation. We are actively recruiting research participants with aphasia for this study. Please contact us at abclab@purdue.edu or 765-496-6219.