Brain, Language, Cognition

Some of my neuroimaging research examines the ways that the brain mediates language and motor functions. My interest in this area looks at understanding the relationships between the human motor system, motor experience, and language processing. These relationships may enrich or even be integral to how the brain processes language and derives meaning.

My interests here also investigate figurative language processing, particularly, as it relates to interpreting conceptual meaning via metaphor and idiom. Metaphor is used throughout our language and conceptual structure. It is especially used when dealing with ideas and referential entities that are abstract and without physical form. Determining how the brain mediates these relationships may advance our understanding not only of human neurobiology, but also of human cognitive function, more generally.

My projects in this area investigate the brain areas - and their relationships - that respond strongly when the hands convey meaning. This includes when the hands convey meaning on their own (as emblematic gestures) and when they accompanying speech (co-speech gestures).