We use cognitive and functional imaging methods to study object recognition, object use, the organization of conceptual knowledge, and the dynamics of word retrieval in speech production. Behavioral methods offer a window into the fine-grained organization of cognitive processes, while functional imaging offers a means for studying the neural organization and basis of those cognitive processes. We are currently using psychophysical and imaging methods to study the principles that drive neural specificity for different conceptual domains, such as tools, animals, numbers and letters. We are also using fMRI to study the types of information that are retrieved in simple language tasks such as object naming and word reading.

Our lab studies the organization of conceptual and language processes in adults with and without brain disorders using fMRI and behavioral methods. These studies will help reveal the cognitive and brain components that are critical for a given cognitive task. In addition, our lab also studies the origins of conceptual and language processes in the brain by testing young children (e.g., 4-year-olds) in fMRI studies. Our goal is to understand how conceptual systems work and how they originate in humans.