Language

Language

Back row (left to right): Dr Teresa Schubert, Dr Trudy Krajenbrink, Dr Nora Fieder, Ms Oksana Lyalka, Ms Inga Hameister, Ms Solène Hameau. Front row (left to right): Dr Shiree Heath, Ms Catherine Mason, Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Ms Ana Murteira, Ms Margaret Ryan.
Back row (left to right): Dr Teresa Schubert, Dr Trudy Krajenbrink, Dr Nora Fieder, Ms Oksana Lyalka, Ms Inga Hameister, Ms Solène Hameau.
Front row (left to right): Dr Shiree Heath, Ms Catherine Mason, Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Ms Ana Murteira, Ms Margaret Ryan.

Language Research Group

The Language Research Group within the Department of Cognitive Science showcases the collaborative effort of researchers investigating language processing and representation, including bilingual language. The Program has a particular focus on using cognitive neuropsychological methods to explore spoken and written word production, with studies conducted across three interrelated strands of investigation - each addressing a key research question:

THEORY: What are the processes underlying particular language functions? These studies develop and/or evaluate theories of language processing using evidence from both unimpaired and disordered language.

IMPAIRMENT: In what ways can these language processes be impaired? These studies investigate how linguistic processes are affected by language disorder during development or following brain injury.

TREATMENT: How do specific treatments affect particular impaired language processes? These studies investigate and evaluate the factors affecting treatment efficacy for language and communication disorders.

The Language Research Group also has links with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), and in particular the CCD's Language Program. We are also looking for people to participate in Aphasia Research.

Projects

Current Projects

Acquired spelling impairments and their treatment

Dr Trudy Krajenbrink, Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Saskia Kohnen, Dr Karen Croot & Cathy Taylor-Rubin

Strands: Theory, Impairment & Treatment
Aim: To examine the nature of spelling impairments after acute onset aphasia or as part of primary progressive aphasia, with a focus on generalisation in the effects of treatment.

Assessment and treatment of reading and spelling difficulties in children and adolescents.

Dr Saskia Kohnen, Dr Trudy Krajenbrink, Dr Danielle Colenbrander (University of Bristol), Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Nathan Caruana, Yumi Sheehan, Elena Babcock, Dr Erin Banales & Dr Teresa Schubert

Strands: Theory, Impairment & Treatment
AIM: To better understand reading and spelling development and dyslexia and dysgraphia in children and adolescents. This research includes large scale norming studies of reading and spelling tests with typically developing children and adolescents; an investigation of sound-letter knowledge in children; the development of new assessment material for high school students; single case studies of dyslexia and dysgraphia and their treatment.

COMPARE: Constraint Induced or Multi-Modal Aphasia Rehabilitation: An RCT of therapy for stroke related chronic aphasia

Professor Lyndsey Nickels

Strands: Treatment
AIM: COMPARE is a national study which will determine if two intensive and contrasting treatments: multi-modal aphasia treatment (M-MAT) and constraint induced aphasia therapy (CIAT) result in better outcomes compared to the usual aphasia treatments (usual care: UC).

Conceptualisation deficits in aphasia.

Inga Hamster, Professor Lyndsey Nickels & Professor Roelien Bastiaanse (University of Groningen)

Strands: Theory & Impairment
Aim: Identifying the prevalence of conceptualisation deficits in aphasia and investigating to what extent language impairments in aphasia are underpinned by conceptualisation deficits.

Effects of gesture observation in action-verb naming.

Ana Murteira, Professor Lyndsey Nickels & Associate Professor Paul Sowman

Strands: Theory
Aim: To better understand the mechanisms underpinning the relationship between gesture and verb processing and how gestures can be used to facilitate verb retrieval in people with aphasia.

Enhancing Communicative Effectiveness and Satisfaction between People with Primary Progressive Aphasia and their Communication Partner

Cathy Taylor-Rubin, Professor Lyndsey Nickels & Dr Karen Croot

Strands: Treatment
The aim of the project is to demonstrate effective behavioral interventions for people with PPA and their partners in the areas of communication, well-being and support, through a series of single case design studies.

How does treatment improve word retrieval?

Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Shiree Heath, Dr Nora Fieder (Humboldt-Universität Berlin)

Strands: Theory & Treatment
Aim: To better understand the mechanisms that underpin word retrieval treatment effects.

Improving word retrieval in people with progressive aphasia

Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Karen Croot & Cathy Taylor-Rubin

Strands: Treatment
Aim: To test and develop treatment to facilitate and help maintain communication in people with progressive aphasia.

Moved nouns in experiencer-verb sentences: Syntactic and semantic changes in sentence processing.

Margaret Ryan, Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Associate Professor Paul Sowman, Professor Linda Cupples (Linguistics Department)

Strands: Theory & Impairment
AIM: To discover the method and time-course by which the unimpaired brain processes the arguments of heard sentences containing experiencer-verbs in order to inform a new cognitive model of the sentence processing system, as well as to identify the steps in the process which are impaired in the asyntactic brain.

Neighbourhood density effects in spoken word production: picture naming in aphasia and/or bilingualism.

Solon Hameau, Dr Britta Biedermann, Professor Lyndsey Nickels

Strands: Theory, Impairment and Treatment
Aim: To examine the influence of semantic and phonological neighbourhood density on naming performance in monolingual and bilingual individuals with and without aphasia, and on aphasia naming treatment.

Spoken and written production of homophones and dysgraphia treatment

Polly Barr, Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Britta Biedermann (Curtin University, WA)

Strands: Theory & Impairment & Treatment
Aim: To investigate the representation of homophones in bilinguals and monolinguals using dysgraphia treatment and unimpaired language production.

Understanding factors affecting word retrieval.

Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Nora Fieder, Solène Rameau, Dr Britta Biedermann (Curtin University, WA) & Professor Wendy Best (University College London)

Strands: Theory & Impairment
Aim: To understand what factors affect how easy it is to retrieve a word and what kind of error people with aphasia or dementia make when they try to retrieve a word (e.g., cow-milk vs. cow-horse).

Understanding the peripheral stages of reading and spelling.

Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Trudy Krajenbrink, Ana Murteira & Professor Brenda Rapp (Johns Hopkins University)

Strands: Theory
Aim: To better understand the peripheral stages of written word perception and production: i.e., the selection and production of the individual letters of a word. 

Wellbeing in primary progressive aphasia

Leanne Ruggero, Professor Lyndsey Nickels & Dr Karen Croot

Aim: To better understand the perspectives of individuals with progressive aphasia on wellbeing and factors which promote living well with the condition.

Our people

Research Group Leader

  • Professor Lyndsey Nickels

Current Researchers

  • Professor Lyndsey Nickels
  • Dr Saskia Kohnen
  • Dr Teresa Schubert
  • Dr Karen Croot 
  • Dr Trudy Krajenbrink

Current Students

  • Ms Polly Barr
  • Ms Solène Hameau
  • Ms Inga Hameister
  • Ms Cathy Taylor-Rubin
  • Mrs Ana Murteira
  • Ms Leanne Ruggero
  • Ms Alexa von Hagen 
  • Ms Ella Creet
  • Ms Hanh Nguyen 
  • Dr Karen Croot

Alumni

  • Dr Danielle Colenbrander
  • Dr Vishnu Kaleeckal Krishnankutty Nair
  • Dr Yvette Kezilas 
  • Dr Anastasiia Romanova 
  • Dr Rimke Groenewold
  • Dr Vania de Aguiar
  • Dr Adria Rofes
  • Dr Leigh Fernandez

Current Administrative Staff

  • Dr Trudy Krajenbrink

Current External Associates

  • Dr Britta Biedermann
  • Dr Nora Fieder
  • Dr Karen Smith-Lock 
  • Professor Wendy Best 
  • Dr Scott Barnes

Contact Us

If you are interested in working in the lab as an intern, research assistant, honours student, PhD student or postdoctoral fellow, please email Professor Lyndsey Nickels, who will assist you with your enquiry.

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