Associate Professor of Psychology
Areas of Expertise
Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Perception
My research is focused on understanding how object concepts are represented and organized in the human brain. We approach this broad issue through the lens of how object concepts are accessed from visual input, and how conceptual information guides access to object-associated actions and object names. In plain terms, if there is a cup on the table, how does the brain categorize the visual input as a ‘cup’, compute relevant volumetric and biomechanical constraints to allow the hand to ‘get to’ the right part of the object to grasp and manipulate it, and how does the system access the word form ‘cup’ from the visual percept and object concept?
We test these questions through studies of individuals with acquired brain injuries caused by stroke or brain tumor. Studying patients with focal brain injuries and cognitive impairments allows causal tests about basic mechanisms and principles of neurocognitive organization. Ongoing projects study stroke patients with focal lesions to the ventral and dorsal visual processing pathways, and brain tumor patients undergoing awake language and motor mapping with direct electrical stimulation during brain surgery.