Research Program Leader - Speech and Language
Research Program: Speech and Language
I completed my PhD in 2010 at Western Sydney University with Cathi Best, Michael Tyler and Christian Kroos. In 2011-2012, I was a postdoc in Patrick Wong’s lab in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University. In 2013-2014, Patrick and I moved to Hong Kong and established a new lab in the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In September 2014, Anne Cutler hired me as a postdoc and I returned to The MARCS Institute.
My research encompasses cognitive, neuroscientific, and developmental aspects of language learning and use, including bilingualism. I explore the potential benefits of foreign language training in older adults to promote healthy brain function, counteract age-related cognitive decline, and halt the progression of neurodegenerative disease (e.g., dementia).
My collaboration with Anne Cutler seeks to explain the native listening advantage by charting perceptual adaptation across languages. I am an affiliate member of the ARC Centre of Excellence in the Dynamics of Language.
In 2015, I was awarded an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award in which I examined the combination of factors that predict successful language learning. I discovered that I could use these predictors to tailor training proactively to maximise learning outcomes.
My work on the effects of language learning has featured in The New York Times, The Conversation, Lifehacker, Quartz, Scimex, SBS News, Essential Baby, ABC Australia Plus, ABC Radio Australia, Early Childhood Australia, Early Learning Review, SBS World News, Kinderling Radio, Radio 2SER, LiveItChina.com, South China Morning Post Young Post, and Bottom Line Personal.
- Effects of language learning on the brain
- Role of cognitive systems in language learning
- Individual differences in language learning success
- Language interaction in bilinguals
- Customising language training to improve learning outcomes
Qualifications and Honours
- 2015 - Australian Research Council (ARC), Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, Cracking the code of successful language learning (AU$365,000), Chief Investigator
- 2013 - Health and Medical Research Fund, Hong Kong, Foreign language learning as potential treatment for Mild Cognitive Impairment (HK$950,000), Co-Investigator
- 2013 - Research Grants Council, Hong Kong, Language learning in older adults as preventive therapy for cognitive impairments (HK$1.04 million), Co-Investigator
- 2010 - Ph.D. (Psychology), MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University
- 2005 - B.A. (Psychology), Honours Program, Western Sydney University
- Research Program Leader - Speech and Language
- Affiliate Member, ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language
For a full listing of my publications, please see my Western Sydney University profile page.(opens in a new window)