Project List

Projects


Projects welcome image

The Language and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab is interested in a wide range of diverse research topics in cognitive development, language, numerical cognition, visual perception and clinical neuropsychology.  We use multiple research methods, including EEG, eye tracking, and behavioral research to learn more about the underpinnings of multiple cognitive phenomena. Please click on the project titles on the left to learn more details about them.

*Photo (leftt): Running an EEG experiment in our lab.

EEG Numbers Project

Research on numerical cognition with infants, children, adults, cross-cultural studies and animal studies converge on the conclusion that there are two distinct systems for the perception of numerical quantity: A small-number system (1~3) invoking parallel individuation, or “subitizing”, and a large-number system (4+) that is based on Weberian magnitude estimation. The present study employed high density EEG to investigate the neural basis of differentiation between small-number (1~3), and large-number (4~6) perception. During EEG data collection, participants were presented with dot pattern stimuli containing 1 to 6 dots of varying size. They were instructed to press a key when they detected a change in the number of dots presented and were rewarded for correctly detecting changes. ERP analyses were conducted over the left and right occipital-temporal-parietal junction. For the early ERP component (N1; 160~180 ms), we observed that there was separation of ERPs within the subitizing range (1~3) but not beyond (4~6). A second later positivity (P3) was found in Cz and neighboring electrodes, that was associated with change detection. Numerical changes were categorized as “within small” (1~2, 2~1, 2~3, 3~2), “within large” (4~5,5~4,5~6,6~5). Changes that crossed the small to large boundary were labeled “small-to-large” and “large-to- small”. The P3 was observed for all change categories except for “within large.” These data, taken together, suggest a neural basis for the differentiation of small vs. large number perception at early stages of processing, and a later stage that involves more semantic numerical processing that is employed in change detection task.

 

Contact: pgordon@tc.edu

 

Principal Investigator: Peter Gordon

Research Assistants: Sungbong Kim, Erin (Reddick) Kirby, Jean Tang, Nick Bisbee.

Visual Perceptual Organization in Schizophrenia and Neurotypical Brains

This is a multimodal study (in partnership with Dr. Richard Waxman's Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab) that uses eyetracking and EEG to study how the brain's visual system aids us in organizing perceptual inputs from our environment, in order to perceive reality as it is. In individuals who tend to have impaired vision, such as schizophrenia, autism, or dyslexia, neuroscience research has suggested that their visual impairments could be due to their dorsal stream deficits, which can lead to a less reactive visual system that is not as efficient in organizing visual information being received. Hence, leading to slower reading and inaccurate sight.

Our Perceptual Organization vision study uses a computerized test designed by Dr. Daniel Kurylo (Kurylo et al., 2017) that taps into visual processing of form and texture under varying degrees of noise. We use eye-tracking methods and pupillometry to examine biobehavioral markers associated with perceptual processing in this task. In particular, we study whether pupil diameter --an indicator of processing load--is related to task difficulty levels, and whether this correlates with behavioral performance in terms of reaction time and accuracy. We also examine whether saccades in the horizontal vs. vertical direction are correlated with task difficulty.

To study dorsal stream deficits (specifically, magnocellular activity), we also employ EEG methods to further understand what sort of early processing mechanisms may be at work when individuals are performing an oddball version of the above perceptual organization vision task.

All these research efforts will culminate in a future clinical study in partnership with our collaborators at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where we will employ the above task in patients with schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder.

To learn more, please contact Jean Tang at jt2615@tc.columbia.edu.

 

Principal Investigator: Jean Tang, MS (Neuroscience and Education), Ph.D. Student in Cognitive Science and Education

Research Assistants: Benjamin Bravo, Agrima Dutt, Nick Bisbee.

Development of Numerical Cognition in Young Children

As children acquire meanings of number words, do they display a pattern of numerical cognition abilities and limitations that is comparable to the Pirahã, as found in Gordon (2004) and Frank et al. (2008)?

Contact: pgordon@tc.edu


Principal Investigator: Peter Gordon

Research Assistants: Jean Tang, Erin (Reddick) Kirby, Nancy Freedman, Mary Llenell Paz, Dalynah Maldonado, Sylvie Truong

Autism Spectrum Disorders: An EEG study comparing visual and linguistic stimuli

Neuroscience research has uncovered multiple unique ways in which individuals with Autism use their brain. Here at the Language and Cognition Lab, we are interested in uncovering the diverse ways in which the brain works for individuals on (and off) the spectrum. An upcoming EEG study being run by doctoral student Erin Kirby seeks to further understand what sort of early processing mechanisms may be at work when individuals with high functioning spectrum disorders see words.

To learn more, please contact Erin (Reddick) Kirby at emr2187@tc.columbia.edu.

Principal  Investigator: Erin (Reddick) Kirby, MS (Neuroscience and Education), Ph.D. Student in Cognitive Studies and Education

Research Assistants: Dalynah Maldonaldo; Sylvie Truong; Zhamilya Gazman-Yerimbetova, Jean Tang.

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