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Brain Basis of Language Development

Abstract: There are comprehensive neuro-cognitive models of language processing in the adult brain, but we do not understand how language develops and what determines variability in skill. Our work attempts to determine the nature of specialization for phonology, semantics and syntax in the temporal and frontal cortices in 5- to 9-year-old children. We are testing Interactive Specialization Theory by investigating whether early specialization is related to behavioral gains and whether connectivity drives these changes in specialization. Our current work also aims to determine how engagement of the phonological and semantic pathways are related to reading skill in deaf and hard of hearing children, how these pathways are altered in bilingual children with dyslexia or developmental language disorder, and how these pathways are affected in late talkers with language delay. Our longer-term goal is to examine interactive specialization in autism and how language-based learning disabilities are related to anxiety disorder.

Speaker bio: James R. Booth is the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. The focus of his current research is to understand the brain mechanisms of the development of language, reading and related cognitive processes in typical and atypical populations. Prof. Booth has been continuously funded by the federal government for over two decades and has published extensively in diverse journals. He has served in various roles both within and outside of the university, such as departmental chairperson, grant review member and journal editor. Prof Booth aims to facilitate the interaction between the fields of development, cognition and neuroscience and apply this knowledge to improve the lives of children.


February 22, 2024
4:00 pm
- 5:00 PM