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. Many of the Language Research Programme’s students participate in the International Doctorate for Experimental Approaches to Language and Brain (IDEALAB). The group acts as a host for interns from the Erasmus+ funded European Masters in Clinical Linguistics (EMCL+). We are also keen to hear from people with aphasia who wish to participate in Aphasia Research, so if you'd like to be involved please contact Lyndsey Nickels on +61 2 9850 8448.


Example Projects

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 Hameister, 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.

Conversation therapy and quality of life.

Dr Scott Barnes and Professor Lyndsey Nickels

Strands: Treatment
Aim: How treatment of interaction with a conversation partner and a person with aphasia can improve quality of life.

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.

Improving word production without treatment

Ella Creet and Professor Lyndsey Nickels

Strands: Theory and Impairment
Aim: To understand what processes can improve spoken word production without treatment in people with aphasia.

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.

Dr Solène 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.

The Influence of meaning on word production

Leonie Lampe, Dr Solène Hameau, Dr Nora Fielder and Professor Lydnsey Nickels

Strands: Theory and Impairment

Aim: To investigate the role that semantic neighbourhood plays a role in word production for both people with aphasia and unimpaired language production

Understanding factors affecting word retrieval.

Professor Lyndsey Nickels, Dr Nora Fieder, Dr Solène Hameau, 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, Dr Teresa Schubert, 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.


Research Group Leader

  • Professor Lyndsey Nickels

Current Researchers

  • Professor Lyndsey Nickels
  • Dr Saskia Kohnen
  • Dr Karen Croot
  • Dr Solène Hameau

Current Students

  • Inga Hameister
  • Cathy Taylor-Rubin
  • Ana Murteira
  • Leanne Ruggero
  • Alexa von Hagen
  • Ella Creet
  • Hanh Nguyen
  • Dr Karen Croot
  • Catherine Mason
  • Leonie Lampe
  • Margaret Ryan
  • Wilasinee (Kaimook) Siriboonpipattana
  • Suzan Tokaç
  • Prerana Sabnis


  • Dr Teresa Schubert
  • Dr Trudy Krajenbrink
  • Dr Vishnu Kaleeckal Krishnankutty Nair
  • Dr Anastasiya Romanova
  • Urszula Dmowski
  • Tina Marusch
  • Cornelia van Scherpenberg
  • Dr Vânia de Aguiar
  • Dr Adriá Rofes
  • Dr Leigh Fernandez
  • Dr Oksana Lyalka
  • Dr Shiree Heath
  • Dr Fleur Van Ierschot
  • Dr Rimke Groenewold
  • Dr Danielle Colenbrander
  • Dr Yvette Kezilas

Current Administrative Staff

  • Dr Solène Hameau

Current External Associates

  • Dr Britta Biedermann
  • Dr Nora Fieder
  • Dr Karen Smith-Lock
  • Professor Wendy Best
  • Dr Scott Barnes
  • Dr Trudy Krajenbrink
  • Dr Naama Friedmann
  • Dr Polly Barr
  • Professor Roelien Bastiaanse
  • Dr Sharon Savage
  • Dr Kati Renvall

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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Content owner: Department of Cognitive Science Last updated: 12 Mar 2020 12:04pm

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