Several research projects are taking place in the EEG Laboratory. They are briefly described below. If you would like to particpate in any of them (for $$$ or credit), please check the "participate" page.
Jane Ashby, PI: Phonological processing during reading. How is phonology processed during word recognition? A series of experiments investigates the processing of gestural, phonemic, and syllable informationduring word recognition. ERPs will be examined to gain information about the time course of phonological processing as well as the neural substrates involved. This research is supported by a grant from NIH, "The nature and time course of phonological representations in reading"
Charles Clifton, PI: Prosody and focus in discourse comprehension. When you hear an answer to a question ("Who else was kissed by Susan? Jeremy was kissed by Susan too.") what is the brain's response to the word that answers the question (the "focused" word) and how is it modulated by the presence or absence of a pitch accent on the word? In very general terms, we are looking at ERPs to make inferences about how prosody (the rhythm and melody of an utterance) affects the comprehension of spoken language.
Rebecca Ready, PI: Changes in emotions with age: Motivational and cognitive determinants. Emotions change over the course of the adult lifespan but the etiology of these changes are not well understood. In the current study, we plan to investigate mechanisms that might underlie age-related differences in the processing of emotional stimuli. We plan to gather resting EEG, as well as ERP data.
Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, PI: Why does anger increase automatic bias against outgroups? An ERP investigation. Emotional states, even when aroused by incidental sources, can significantly influence evaluations and judgments of in- and outgroups. Emotions not only influence controlled (or explicit) evaluations of outgroups but also automatic evaluations. Based on previous work, we expect that certain emotions such as anger are likely to create a heightened sense of threat and an increased readiness to respond negatively against anything that is unfamiliar (e.g., an outgroup). The primary goal of our current ERP research is to examine the psychological mechanism by which anger magnifies automatic bias against outgroups by focusing on specific ERP components associated with vigilance, threat perception, and cognitive control.