About the LAB Lab
Overarching Research Question: How does the brain support real-world language use?
At the Language, Action, and Brain Lab (LAB Lab), located in the Institute for Multimodal Communication at University College London, we think that language is supported by more than the sounds we hear and a few static brain regions. Our research begins with the proposal that, in order to understand the organization of language in the brain, we must include context, both internal - for example, our memoires of past experiences hearing words, reading, sign language, and listening to music - and external - like the mouth movements, facial expressions, gestures, and postures that accompany face-to-face communication. Our work has led to the surprising suggestion that, far from simply being "non-verbal" appendages to language, the brain actively hears context: The whole brain dynamically (re-)organizes to use whatever contextual information is available during natural language use to predict associated and forthcoming speech. The result of this mechanism is a more efficient brain and, without it, we would argue that speech perception and language comprehension can not occur.