Description of Research
Humans communicate not only through auditory speech, but also through vision. Visual routes to communication include reading, visual speech (lipreading), gesture and, for those who are deaf, sign language. Our research uses both behavioural and neuroimaging approaches to further our understanding of these modes of visual communication.
In particular our work involves research with people who are born deaf. Exploring the brains of individuals with altered sensory and language experience offers unique insights into the limits of neural plasticity and the cognitive and neurobiological conditions under which language develops. Our research addresses a fundamental issue in cognitive science: how does experience shape language and the brain?
In addition to informing our basic understanding of brain development and the neurobiology of language, aspects of our research will also ultimately inform intervention strategies for children born profoundly deaf both in terms of education and cochlear implant programmes.