Our research focuses on early stages of word recognition during reading. Reading feels like an effortless activity, but is an extremely complex process. In alphabetic languages, words are first analyzed based on their physical characteristics, such as straight and curved lines; then, letter identity and position are computed; next, letters combinations are analyzed in terms of orthographic and phonological features; finally, word meaning is retrieved.  In expert readers, these operations are carried out automatically during the first 500 ms, and take place even in the absence of awareness. We can investigate and chart the time course of these processes with special behavioral and neuroimaging methods. In the lab, we are employing both behavioral and electrophysiological (Event-Related Potentials, ERP) measures.

I am also a research associate at the ESRC Centre for Research on Bilingualism, Bangor University. In collaboration with Guillaume Thierry, I am studying how language is processed in bilingual speakers. Our main question is how two languages are cognitively and neurally represented in bilinguals and how they interact. Our research shows a remarkable degree of neural plasticity in individuals who learned a second language later in life.

Finally, in collaboration with Alison Nash (SUNY New Paltz) and Cordelia Fine (Macquarie University, Melbourne, Australia), I have started inquiring about the research on sex differences in cognition and in the brain, especially in regards to mathematics and scientific abilities. My critique focuses on methodological and epistemological problems that characterize this research.

For students
Please contact Dr. Giordana Grossi or the lab (257-2679) if you would like to join our lab or participate in our studies.

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