Language and Cognition Laboratory
Principal Investigator: Dr. Todd Ferretti
Research Summary: Dr. Ferretti’s research investigates how people combine linguistic information with their background knowledge of the world to facilitate language comprehension. The major focus of his present research is on how the two cerebral hemispheres combine these different sources of information in individuals with normal and impaired reading abilities (e.g., dyslexia). Dr. Ferretti is investigating these issues by combining brain imaging (EEG) and behavioral measures while people comprehend language in real-time.
Implications of the Research: Ultimately, Dr. Ferretti aims to determine how people make sense of what they hear and read, in order to help young children and second-language learners to learn language. In this way, we can learn about readers and listeners of all ages, be their brains neurologically intact or compromised, and thus help them accommodate their language-processing strategies to their processing capabilities. Working toward enhancing linguistic abilities in this manner will improve the quality of life of individuals with reading disabilities (over 1 million Canadians live with dyslexia). In addition to the obvious personal ramifications of dyslexia, a recent study by Statistics Canada suggests that increasing Canada’s average literacy rate by 1% would lead to an 18.4 billion dollar growth in our country’s CGP.