Language function and dysfunction lab

At the Language Function and Dysfunction Lab, we study the psychology, neuropsychology, and neurobiology of language in healthy individuals and in individuals with brain damage.

Our approach is bi-directional. On the one hand, we use models from cognitive neuroscience to better understand language function in neurological populations with the goal of contributing to the development of novel diagnostic tools and methods to improve language capacity in patients. On the other hand, we use observations of the breakdown of language and communicative abilities following brain insult to obtain unique insights informative for cognitive (neuro)science models.

We have a strong focus on language production (because, of course, you can’t do it all!), but are also interested in comprehension and, especially, the intersection between production and comprehension. Most of our work is based on behavioural meaures, electrophysiology, diffusion-weighted imaging, and non-invasive brain stimulation.

Looking for an internship? Contact us!


See you virtually at SNL 2020!

We are excited about attending SNL this year (from our homes). Follow the links for more. Check Joanna’s poster for exciting findings on the temporal lobe white matter in humans vs chimps.

Check our work at Science of Aphasia 2019 in Rome

We are very excited to present at Science of Aphasia. Click on the links to see more. We will update the pages to include more info later. Joanna will give a talk on comparative neuroanatomy of the posterior temporal lobe at the white matter level: chimps vs humans!

Come see us at SNL 2019 in Helsinki!

We will be presenting lots of interesting stuff at SNL this year. Click on the links to see more. We will update the pages to include more info later.

We will be in London for ELGGN 2019!

We will be presenting at this year’s meeting of the European Low Grade Glioma Network. I cannot be there unfortunately, but Joanna will be giving an exciting presentation on the initial results of our AFTERCARE survey: what are we offering in terms of assessments and interventions to patients after a surgery to remove a brain tumour, and what do we think we should be offering?

Recent Work

White matter hyperintensities at critical crossroads for executive function and verbal abilities in small vessel disease

The presence of white matter lesions in patients with cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) is among the main causes of cognitive decline. We investigated the relation between white matter hyperintensity (WMH) locations and executive and language abilities in 442 SVD patients without dementia with varying burden of WMH. We used Stroop …

A TMS investigation of left middle-MTG involvement in lemma access in speech production and comprehension

According to a prominent account, lemmas are abstract word representations that act as central relay hub for accessing conceptual, phonological, and syntactic representations linked to a word (Levelt et al., 1999). They are crucial for both speaking, accessing phonological representations from conceptual input, and listening, …

Corpus callosum involvement in language ability after left-hemispheric stroke

The left hemisphere (LH) is dominant for language in the majority of the healthy population. Patients with LH-damage may show global right-hemisphere (RH) activity for language. This makes interhemispheric transfer a good candidate for a brain plasticity mechanism through which speaking abilities may recover. However, the brain …

Do alpha and beta oscillations dissociate in context-driven spoken-word production?

Alpha- and beta-band oscillatory power decreases have been consistently found in spoken-word production, and localized to left lateral-temporal and lateral-frontal lobes (e.g., Piai et al., 2015; Roos & Piai, 2020). These oscillations have been linked to both motor preparation and conceptual and lexical retrieval processes (Piai …

fMRI evidence for shared lemma representations in speech production and comprehension

On a prominent account, lemma representations map the meaning of words to their sounds and vice-versa, and are shared across production and comprehension (Levelt et al., 1999). A meta-analysis of word production studies suggests that lemmas are localised in the middle of the left middle temporal gyrus (left mMTG) (Indefrey, 2011; …