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 measures, electrophysiology, diffusion-weighted imaging, and non-invasive brain stimulation.

We are also part of the Adaptive Language for Healthy Brain and Society.

Looking for an internship? Contact us!


Check our work at SNL 2021!

We will be again at SNL this year (from our homes). Follow the links for more. Matteo will present his work on semantic and phonological context effects using picture-word interference and EEG.

See you virtually at IWOLP 2021!

We are excited about participating in and presenting at the International Workshop on Language Production this year (from our homes). Follow the links for more (links will be updated soon).

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.

Recent Work

Long-term cognitive, psychosocial, and neurovascular complications of unilateral head and neck irradiation in young to middle-aged adults

Background: With a growing, younger population of head and neck cancer survivors, attention to long-term side-effects of prior, often radiotherapeutic, treatment is warranted. Therefore, we studied the long-term cognitive effects in young adult patients irradiated for head and neck neoplasms (HNN). Methods: Young to middle-aged …

Are alpha and beta oscillations spatially dissociated over the cortex 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 …

Declarative Learning, Priming, and Procedural Learning Performances comparing Individuals with Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Cognitively Unimpaired Older Adults

Objective: While declarative learning is dependent on the hippocampus, procedural learning and repetition priming can operate independently from the hippocampus, making them potential targets for behavioral interventions that utilize non-declarative memory systems to compensate for the declarative learning deficits associated with …

Dropping Beans or Spilling Secrets: How Idiomatic Context Bias Affects Prediction

Idioms can have both a literal interpretation and a figurative interpretation (e.g., to “kick the bucket”). Which interpretation should be activated can be disambiguated by a preceding context (e.g., “The old man was sick. He kicked the bucket.”). We investigated whether the idiomatic and literal uses of idioms have different …

The Diagnostic Value of Language Screening in Primary Progressive Aphasia: Validation and Application of the Sydney Language Battery

Purpose: The three variants of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) differ in clinical presentation, underlying brain pathology, and clinical course, which stresses the need for early differentiation. However, brief cognitive tests that validly distinguish between all PPA variants are lacking. The Sydney Language Battery (SYDBAT) is a …