Amy L. Hubbard-Modern Languages - Carnegie Mellon University

Amy L. Hubbard

Research Scientist

Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: BH 160
Phone: (412) 268-4215
Fax: (412) 268-1328
Department Member Since: 2010


My research applies information and research techniques from neuroscience and applied linguistics to the examination of face-to-face communication. I received my Ph.D. from UCLA in 2009 in Applied Linguistics with a focus on the Neurobiology of Language Acquisition. Prior to that, I received my B. A. in East Asian Studies from Washington & Lee University and my M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Penn State University, taught ESL to children, undergraduate students, graduate students, and adults, and worked as a Japanese/English interpreter in both the US and Japan.

My dissertation work examined the neural bases of co-speech gesture processing in native and second-language English speakers as well as typically-developing children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. My mentors and collaborators in these investigations include Mirella Dapretto and John Schumann, my dissertation co-chairs, as well as Daniel Callan (ATR Institute International, Kyoto) and Stephen Wilson (The University of Arizona). Following my PhD, I received a Post-doctoral Fellowship from UCSD's Center for Research in Language. I am continuing ongoing collaboration with Karen Emmorey (SDSU) on the processing of co-speech gesture in bimodal bilinguals (i.e., individuals who speak both a spoken and signed language).

My research interests include the neural bases, behavioral understanding, and real world application of multimodal (embodied) communication, second language acquisition, speech prosody, and co-speech gesture. During my two-year A.W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, I am continuing fMRI experimental work on co-speech gesture as well as beginning a line of behavioral experiments on the perception of co-speech gesture and speech prosody in first and second language English speakers. In addition to my experimental work, I am highly interested in how experimental findings from neuroscience, psychology, and applied linguistics can inform teaching strategies. While at Carnegie Mellon University, I am designing and teaching courses for graduate and upper division undergraduate students in the Department of Modern Languages.


Ph. D., UCLA

Recent Work

  • Hubbard, A.L., McNealy, K., Scott, A.A., Callan, D.E., Bookheimer, S.,Y., and Dapretto, M. (under review) Abnormal processing of co-speech gesture in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • Hubbard, A.L., Wilson, S., Callan, D.E., and Dapretto, M. (2009) Giving Speech a Hand: Gesture Modulates Activity in Auditory Cortex During Speech Perception. Journal of Human Brain Mapping, 30, 1028-1037
  • Hubbard, A.L. (2009) Giving speech a hand: fMRI of co-speech beat gesture processing in adult native English speakers, Japanese English as a second language speakers, typically-developing children, and children with autism spectrum disorder. Dissertation. University of California, Los Angeles.

Courses Taught

  • Neuroscience Foundations for Second Language Acquisition (Fall 2010)
  • Face to Face: Embodiment and Multimodality in L1 and L2 Communication (Spring 2011)
  • Neural Activity to Classroom Activity: Workshops for Language Teachers (Fall 2011)