Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
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In broad terms I am interested in how we derive meaning from language. I have approached this question at the level of individual words, examining the cognitive processes involved in visual word recognition; that is, how do we access the meanings of words? I utilize behavioral methods and also fMRI and EEG to study this question, examining the behavioral and neural consequences of variability in a number of dimensions of word meaning, including embodied dimensions.
I have also investigated how we derive meaning from more complex language; I am interested in social and cognitive aspects of non-literal language comprehension and production. In particular, I am interested in how we appreciate the meaning meaning intended by verbal irony (e.g., sarcastic remarks, like saying "that was smooth" after tripping and falling). I am especially interested in how children develop the ability to detect and produce verbal irony. To study children's appreciation of sarcastic-ironic language I have developed tasks that allow us to assess not only the end product of children's interpretation, but also children's processing as they derive that interpretation.
For a list of my publications please click here