There are various themes and projects the lab is focusing on at present.
Motivation and Reward for Word Learning
We are presently starting to explore the role of reward and motivation during language learning. One of our projects, investigating the role of reward systems in adolescent word learning, is a collaboration with Dr. Pablo Ripollés, NYU.
Another project, focusing on motivation for reading, has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Jessie Ricketts and Dr. Josh Balsters at Royal Holloway, as well as with external partners the Reading Agency. We are delighted to have been awarded funding for a PhD studentship to support this line of work, and will post further details soon.
The BOLD study
The BOLD study was set up to investigate the neural basis of developmental language disorders. The study is based at the University of Oxford, headed by Professors Kate Watkins and Dorothy Bishop. One of the key aims was to investigate whether those with DLD showed dysfunction in their corticostriatal learning systems. We are analysing data from this study to address this question.
How does musical expertise shape the brain?
In collaboration with Professor Sophie Scott at UCL, we studied how motor experience can influence neural activity for perception. In 2015, we collected data from 20 beatboxers, 20 guitarists and 20 non-musicians. We have published a key dataset from this study, but are currently analysing data about how experience with objects influences sound perception.