The NIDL Lab at the University of Connecticut

Language is a remarkably complex and evolutionarily recent capacity that recruits a wide range of brain networks, with high individual variability. The NIDL Lab vision is to characterize the range of neurobiological instantiations of the language network as a means of better understanding the computations we perform during language processing and the biological factors that can affect these processes. This work will ultimately contribute to both our theoretical understanding of language as a key human faculty, and a translational understanding of the mechanisms underlying disordered language processing in neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. dyslexia) and psychopathology.
Two extremes in neurobiological instantiation pose questions of particular interest:
  1. Which neurobiological substrates for language show minimal variation across individuals, possibly reflecting conserved core linguistic computations?
  2.  Which substrates show high, performance-related variability across individuals, possibly reflecting alternative processing strategies?
We use multimodal neuroimaging, including M/EEG, functional MRI, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to address these questions in both typical and atypical individuals across the lifespan.

Methods

As a prerequisite to methodologically sound individual differences research using inherently noisy measurements, we are also interested in improving the reliability and reproducibility of our techniques, including
  • Improved magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) techniques
  • Developing language tasks with high specificity and test-retest reliability
  • Validating new methods for low-cost linguistic, cognitive, and educational assessment