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Lab Director, Karen Emmorey

SDSU School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Phone: (619) 594-8080
Office: 6495 Alvarado Rd, Suite 200
Office Hours:   By appointment
Email: email address

Dr. Karen Emmorey


  • Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 1987

Scholarly Areas:

Dr. Karen Emmorey's research focuses on what sign languages can reveal about the nature of human language, cognition, and the brain. She studies the processes involved in how deaf people produce and comprehend sign language and how these processes are represented in the brain. She also investigates how experience with a signed language impacts nonlinguistic visual-spatial cognition, such as face processing, memory, and imagery. Her research interests include how language modality impacts spatial language (talking about space), the linguistic functions of eye gaze in sign language, and the nature of bimodal bilingualism (ASL-English bilinguals). Her investigations of the neural correlates of language and nonlinguistic cognitive functions draw on data from neuroimaging (fMRI and PET) and from patients who have suffered unilateral brain damage.


Dr. Emmorey received her Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1987 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and she was a Senior Staff scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies from 1988-2005. While at the Salk Institute, Dr. Emmorey was the Associate Director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Emmorey is the author of 4 books and more than 50 journal articles, and she currently holds several research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Emmorey is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, and she has been on the Editorial Board of Sign Language Studies, Sign Language & Linguistics, and the Journal of Memory and Language. Books:

Emmorey, K. (2003). Perspectives on Classifier Constructions in Sign Langauges. Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates: Mahwah, NJ. Table of Contents     book2
    Emmorey, K., & Lane, H. (2000). The signs of language revisited: An anthology to honor Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima, (Editors), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ.
Emmorey, K. & Reilly, J. (1995). Language, Gesture, and Space, (Editors), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Hillsdale, NJ.    




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