Language and Cognition Lab

Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience

Wilfrid Laurier University


Director: Dr. Todd R. Ferretti

Research in the Language and Cognition Lab is designed to investigate how people utilize their world knowledge to understand literal and nonliteral language, and to investigate how linguistic structures (nouns, verbs, prepositions, grammatical inflections) influence the retrieval of event information from semantic and autobiographical memory. To date, most research has focused on how people utilize knowledge about events to perform the crucial process of thematic role assignment during language processing. A main goal of this research has been to delineate the conceptual information that becomes activated from nouns and verbs, and to specify the time-course in which it influences thematic role assignment and syntactic ambiguity resolution. This research has been instrumental in differentiating between linguistic and psychological approaches to thematic role representation and processing, and to models of language and semantic memory more generally. More recently, we have began investigations into hemispheric processing of sentential constraints and syntactic investigations of children and adults with dyslexia.

A key component of the research is that it involves the integration of several different areas of research (e.g., sentence processing, inferencing, conceptual combination, semantic priming, nonliteral language processing, semantic memory, autobiographical memory) and involves both behavioural and neurocognitive methodology (Event-Related Brain Potential Methodology).

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