Language, Modality, and the Brain
The general objective of our research is to study the biological foundations of human language. Signed languages provide a powerful tool for investigating the nature of human language and language processing, the relation between cognition and language, and the neural organization for language. For perception, signed languages depend upon high-level vision and motion processing systems, and for production, they require the integration of motor systems involving the hands and face. These facts raise many questions: What impact does this different biological base have for grammatical systems? For the acquisition of language? How does it affect non-linguistic cognitive structures and processing? Are the same or different neural systems involved? Our laboratory investigates these issues by studying Deaf and hearing ASL signers.