Members of the Language, Action, and Brain Lab
The Captain of the LAB Lab.
At the LAB Lab, we suggest 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 memories 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.
LIDo PhD Student
Sarah is a PhD student in the Lab. She joined in 2017 through the LIDo program. She obtained her BSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Edinburgh.
Her work here focuses on the functional connectivity of the brain under naturalistic stimuli, in particular the neurobiology of language comprehension. She uses movies and fMRI to investigate the network organisation of the brain and how language network variations are driven by context.
Research AssistantJiawen graduated from UCL BSc Psychology programme. He is interested in how memory works in context, such as during movie viewing. His is currently working on a project exploring the brain activity during word repetition in the movie
Honorary Research Associate & Former Newton International Fellow
Dyutiman works on the experimental psychology and neuroscience of emotion, mental health, arts and creativity — their inter-relationships and their social and cultural predispositions. His current research domain includes fMRI, EEG and Eye-tracking based study of emotions in response to complex naturalistic stimuli like films, paintings, photographs and face-database. Parallel to his academic career he is deeply involved in the fields of photography, film-making and other forms of visual-art. He worked as a British Academy Newton International Fellow (2018-2020) at UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences (in Psychology and Language Sciences Division at LAB Lab) studying cultural and emotional models of self using films. He has a PhD in Biomedical sciences, post-doctoral experience in Cognitive sciences (experimental aesthetics), a Five-years Diploma in Fine-arts (painting). He is also currently an assistant fMRI operator at the Birkbeck-UCL Centre for NeuroImaging (BUCNI).
PhD studentFlorin obtained his MSci from UCL in 2018 before joining the LAB as a PhD student. He is interested in prediction and its associated brain mechanisms. He aims to use fMRI to explore how language context influences the brain’s response: how these results fit within a whole framework of prediction constitute his main PhD thesis. He splits his time between the LAB lab and working at a start-up in media that aims to support and enable curiosity in children.
Honorary Research Associate
Stef is a PhD student at the University of Reading and joined the Lab lab as an Honorary Research Associate in 2018. She obtained her BSc and MSc in Psychology at the University of Hamburg, Germany, before focusing on cognitive neuroscience in her doctoral studies. More specifically, she is interested in reward-motivated learning and how it can be influenced by curiosity. To enhance the ecological validity, her experiments rely on naturalistic stimuli like movie clips to investigate incidental encoding processes. In addition to behavioural effects, she also investigates the neural underpinnings using fMRI and inter-subject correlation approaches.