Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music

The CRBLM (www.crblm.ca) integrates the research of its investigators across four research themes, with the common goal of advancing our understanding of the processes of speech and language.

  • Language Acquisition
  • Neural Bases of Language
  • Speech Science Modeling
  • Visual Language Process

Facilities range from sophisticated technologies for investigating the neural bases of speech and language processing (including High-Resolution EEG and Event Related Potential (ERP) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) systems), to high-tech digital video labs outfitted for naturalistic language sampling and analysis intended to examine language development in a range of populations (including monolingual and bilingual first and second-language learners, as well as language-impaired children).

DEBRA TITONE

Tel: 514 398-1778
E-mail: dtitone [at] psych.mcgill.ca

Research:  Study of various types of language comprehension and memory processes using several cognitive and neuroscientific methods.

The computational aspects of understanding spoken language are enormous, falling into the basic categories of word recognition, acoustic-phonetic mapping, lexical ambiguity resolution (determining the contextually appropriate meaning of a word) and figurative language processing. Dr. Debra Titone's research addresses all of these computational challenges from the perspective of cognitive neuroscience, with the overall goal of unravelling the mysteries of language processing.

More info:          http://www.mcgill.ca/coglab/dtitone

DAVID J. OSTRY, PH.D.

Tel: 514 398-6111
E-mail: ostry [at] motion.psych.mcgill.ca

Research:  Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognition-Language-Perception

More info:  http://www.psych.mcgill.ca/labs/mcl/Lab-Home.html

CAROLINE PALMER

Tel: 514-398-6128
E-mail: caroline.palmer [at] mcgill.ca

Research: Time course of memory retrieval in speech and music performance

We investigate the cognitive foundations (learning, memory, motor control, attention) that make it possible for people to produce auditory sequences, such as playing a musical instrument or speaking. Our research focuses on cognitive and motor changes that occur as people acquire performance skills. We compare beginners,experts, and special populations (disorders), to determine how sensory feedback is linked to the movements that produce speech or music. How does the brain combine the "what" to do with the "how" to do it?

More info:   http://www.mcgill.ca/spl/palmer/

MARC PELL

Tel: (514) 398-4133
E-mail: marc.pell [at] mcgill.ca

The Neuropragmatics and Emotion Lab (the Pell Lab) specializes in how we communicate emotions, attitudes, and other intentions while speaking. We are located in the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, CANADA. The School forms one of the units within the McGill Faculty of Medicine.

We are one of many research labs in the growing field of Social Cognitive Neuroscience; our goal is to advance knowledge of how humans communicate and interact socially through analysis of social, cognitive, and neural dimensions of spoken language behaviour. Many of our studies are devoted specifically to how emotional prosody ("tone of voice") is conveyed and understood in the context of spoken language. A complementary goal of our research is to understand how acquired diseases of the brain affect the ability to communicate emotions and to process non-literal or "pragmatic" meanings in speech.

This site provides an overview of our mission, ongoing projects, human talent, and recent activities. If you are interested in knowing more about our work, or if you wish to conduct research in association with the Pell Lab, do not hesitate to contact us; we would be pleased to speak with you.

More info:  http://www.mcgill.ca/pell_lab/

LYDIA WHITE

Phone: 514-398-4222
E-mail: lydia.white [at] mcgill.ca

Research : Interfaces in second language acquisition: accounting for the difficulties of second language learners

This project investigates possible causes of non-native performance in L2 acquisition. It has recently been suggested that L2 learners have problems in integrating different kinds of grammatical knowledge, for example, syntax with discourse or pragmatic requirements, syntax with morphology, or morphology with phonology. These are areas where different components of the grammar must 'interface' with each other. Projects conducted within the program will address different interfaces, in order to establish which interfaces (and which properties within particular interfaces) are problematic for second language learners and which are not.

http://webpages.mcgill.ca/staff/group2/lwhite/web/

DENISE KLEIN

Phone: 514-398-3134 (office)
E-mail: denise.klein [at] mcgill.ca

Web Site:  http://www.mni.mcgill.ca/neuro_team/cognitive_neuro/denise_klein/

Research:  The Language System of the Brain

Dr. Denise Klein takes a Cognitive Neuroscience approach to understanding language by combining behavioural and functional neuroimaging methods to examine how different aspects of processing in the mother tongue and subsequently learned languages are influenced by age of acquisition, proficiency, and the distinctive characteristics of languages. By studying the organization of the language systems of the brain in adults who have had different and specific alterations of language experience, this approach will reveal neural systems that mediate language, and will throw light on the debate about brain plasticity and the specific effects of language experience on the organization of these systems.

http://www.mni.mcgill.ca/neuro_team/cognitive_neuro/denise_klein/