Language is by far the most distinctive human chracteristic and unraveling its biological basis is a challenge that captured the attention of many scientists. Consequently, the study of language processing is a major topic of investigation in both psychology and cognitive neuroscience. The main goal of McGill's Neurocognition of Language Laboratory is to improve our knowledge of the psychological and neurological basis of language.
The laboratory was established in 2005 and is located at Beatty Hall, home of McGill's School of Communication Sciences and Disorders and several other research laboratories. It is dedicated to research in the areas of cognitive neuroscience and psycholinguistics, with a focus on Event-Related Brain Potentials (ERPs) associated with language processing and speech perception. Most experiments involve electrophysiological and behavioral measurements that are collected while subjects perform various linguistic and perceptual tasks. The long term goal of these studies is to better understand what linguistic and acoustic variables influence how speech is processed.
Another line of research investigates bilingualism and second language acquisition in adults. Using either natural language or a controlled computer-based artificial language, several studies try to unfold how different language components are learned and how each of them influences processing. Other experiments have looked at code-switching, that is, switching back and forth between two different languages while speaking. Montreal's highly bilingual environment is a perfect setting to address such issues in the psychology of bilingualism.