I am a third year doctoral/M.A. student in the Psychology Department, and I have just finished my Master’s Thesis. Broadly, my research interests include neuro and psycholinguistics, and I frequently use behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to answer questions about how language is processed in the brain. In particular, my research currently focuses on the use of fMRI and eye-tracking to conceptual representation and change during naturalistic reading. I am interested in how individuals represent information that they extract from text, how they use that information to make predictions about upcoming information and to guide eye-movements in self-paced reading, and, critically, how they update these representations as a function of the prediction feedback process that underlies learning.
The current study examines how different script bilinguals use low-level visual and lexical like word length and word frequency information in an online manner during reading. We will collect simultaneous eye-tracking and resting, structural, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data from a group of Chinese-English bilinguals to address this question. In particular, we are interested in how different script bilinguals may rely on different neural circuitry to both process incoming information and to make predictions about upcoming information. Since the physical length of Chinese characters tends to be shorter than English words and since Chinese readers cannot traditionally rely on spaces to discriminate word boundaries, over-reliance on previously learned developed motor and language circuits for reading should result in less fluent reading. We predict that skilled reading behavior will be associated with increased connectivity between cortical motor and language regions with the output circuits in the cerebellum and brainstem. Finally, we will also investigate the role that proficiency plays in modulating both behavior and the underlying brain networks.