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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.

Specific Projects

Research driven by the ‘Natural Organization of Language and the Brain Model’ (NOLB Model)

Building a Neurocinematics database for fMRI data mining & discovery using real-world stimulation

Building new multisensory hearing substitution devices