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Our broad research goal is to better understand the brain's basic operating system, conceptualized here as the top-level neural network comprising the major cognitive subsystems of the brain (e.g., linguistic, visual/spatial, working memory, attention, arousal, emotion, etc.), and the executive mechanisms by which they are coordinated. An important component of this work is to explore how linguistic and non-linguistic information encoding strategies get integrated in service to different types of mental operations.  To do this, we use behavioral and brain imaging (fMRI & EEG) methodologies to assess lateralized brain function in clinical populations (namely ADHD) and then examine whether these characteristics are associated with cognitive and clinical impairment, and genetics. This work has produced highly convergent findings suggesting that ADHD involves increased reliance on non-linguistic encoding strategies during early-stage sensory information processing, and that this negatively bears on mental operation dependent on efficient linguistic encoding. Moreover, our most recent findings indicate that this abnormal processing asymmetry may be associated with a genetic variant known to alter dopamine receptor properties (i.e., the DRD4 7 repeat allele).


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