Welcome to the fMRI Lab
Location: Mandler Hall
Phone: (858) 822-2719
Director: Tracy Love, Ph.D.
The LCNL has been actively pursuing a neuroimaging research program exploring the brain basis for a behaviorally demonstrated cognitive deficit that is not revealed via standard neuroradiological (structural, magnetization prepared rapid gradient echo (MPRAGE)) imaging techniques.
By using perfusion imaging, it has been demonstrated that slowed and/or reduced blood flow can result in 'functional lesions' with serious cognitive consequences, producing behavioral deficits that may have no obvious neural basis when examined via standard structural imaging techniques. This research is continuing with those participants who have sustained both left and right hemisphere neural trauma. Perfusion imaging is currently being employed in an aphasia treatment study in order to examine perfusion in various participants (aphasic and unimpaired individuals) across age ranges. Additionally, this technique will be used to investigate perfusion differences among individuals with aphasia.
The LCNL has been using functional magnetic neuroimaging (FMRI) and evoked response potential (ERP) techniques as means of detailing the cerebral organization of language in both impaired and unimpaired populations. Research focuses on detailing the neural regions contributing to:
1. the processing of various complex sentence types in hearing subjects ;
2. the temporal parameters of speech;
3. the effects of various methods standardly employed in language processing studies in brain recruitment and
4. the neural contributions of deaf speakers of American Sign Language during comparable language tasks
5. the functional neural correlates of sentence comprehension in individuals with aphasia, before, during and after speech/language therapy
The LCNL has investigated the role that standard psychological methodological tasks (probe verifications, thematic assignment, passive listening, etc.) have on inducing neural activation during comprehension with FMRI scanning. We have demonstrated a confound in the language and neuroscience literature. Namely, the effects purported to be caused by syntactic complexity of sentences is largely elicited only when certain, complex comprehension tasks were employed. The LCNL is also actively involved in using ERP technology- a temporally sensitive neuroimaging paradigm- to detail specific levels of language processing components. Some projects include the investigation of syntactic processing during auditory language comprehension independent of semantic processing, the processing of syntactic violations during speech segmentation (cargonoun vs. CAR goverb), and following theories put forth by Jackendoff (2002), how basic semantic integration of verbs can be "enriched" in certain sentential environments.