Functional Neural Organization for Language
The study of signed languages provides a unique tool for investigating the functional neural organization of language in the human brain. We use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to address the following questions:
fMRI image of neural activity
- Is the deaf, signing brain different from the hearing, speaking brain?
- How does the brain recognize the difference between sign language and gesture?
- Are there differences in brain anatomy between signers and speakers?
- How is sign perception different from action perception (is there a "mirror system" for sign recognition)?
- How is language about space and motion processed by the brain?
- Does acquiring a signed language impact the neural organization for non-linguistic visual processing?
- What is the nature of the bimodal bilingual brain?
This research is supported by the National Institute of Deafness and
Other Communication Disorders (R01 DC101977, DC006708) and by the
National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (R01
HD13249; R01 HD047736).
- Allen, J.S., Emmorey, K., Bruss, J., & Damasio,H. (under review). Neuroanatomical differences in visual, motor, and language cortices between congenitally deaf signers,hearing signers, and hearing non-signers.
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- Emmorey, K., Xu, J., & Braun, A. (2011). Neural responses to meaningless pseudosigns: Evidence for sign-based phonetic processing in superior temporal cortex. Brain and Language, 117, 34-38. read
- Saygin, A., McCullough, S., Alac, M., & Emmorey, K. (2010). Modulation of BOLD response in motion sensitive lateral temporal cortex by real and fictive motion sentences. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(11), 2480-2490. Click to request PDF
- Emmorey, K., Xu, J., Gannon, P., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Braun, A. (2010). CNS activation and regional connectivity during pantomime observation: No engagement of the mirror neuron system for deaf
signers. Neuroimage, 49, 994-1005. read
- Xu, J., Gannon, P., Emmorey, K., Smith, J.F., Braun, A. R. (2009). Symbolic gestures and spoken language are processed by a common neural system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(49), 20664-20669. read
- Emmorey, K & McCullough, S. (2009). The bilingual brain: Effects of sign language experience. Brain and Language, 109, 124-132.
- McCullough, S., & Emmorey, K. (2009). Categorical perception of affective and linguistic facial expressions. Cognition, 110, 208-221.
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Morphology of the insula in relation to hearing status and sign
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