Welcome to the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at The New School, directed by Dr. Michele Miozzo. Research in the lab focuses on the brain’s language production mechanisms. We investigate production in speaking, writing, sign language, and bilingualism. We also study the effects of brain pathologies on language production.
Speakers are constantly confronted with the task of finding the right word at the right time. It is a challenging task, given the many words we know and the high pace with which we produce them. Nevertheless, we accomplish it with ease. To understand the brain mechanisms that make this feat possible, we look at word production in adult speakers and individuals with acquired
Brain lesions often result in writing impairments. Much of what we know about the brain mechanisms of writing has come from detailed studies of these impairments. We test writing in individuals with acquired brain lesions to understand the organization of orthographic knowledge accessed in writing.
What are the consequences of sign language for attention, memory or body and hand representations? How do mechanisms that have evolved for speaking adapt to forms of linguistic communication based on the hand? We investigate the effects of sign language in studies conducted in collaboration with Francesca Peressotti (University of Padua, Italy) and Simon Fischer-Baum (Rice University).
Bilinguals’ experiences vary tremendously. Our current research on bilingualism involves Italian speakers who use one of the many Italian dialects, a form of bilingualism unique in many respects. The term dialect is misleading, as Italian dialects resemble ‘official’ languages for being mutually unintelligible. Italian dialects lack a written tradition, and their use is restricted to specific contexts (e.g., informal settings). They represent ‘living laboratories’ for investigating how the lack of written forms and frequent opportunities of language switching affect bilingual processing and cognition.
We research language impairments caused by brain lesions, and the effects on language production of Alzheimer’s disease (in collaboration with Elise Caccappolo, Columbia University Medical Center) and epilepsy (in collaboration) with Marla Hamberger, Columbia University Medical Center). The goal of our research with these clinical populations is twofold: characterizing their language deficits, and reaching a better understanding of the normal brain through pathology.