- Neural basis of Speech perception, Reading and Developmental dyslexia
- Developmental cognitive neuroscience, Language development
- Functional MRI, MRI, EEG, MEG
(1) Reading-induced brain plasticity in typical and dyslexic readers. Learning to read represents a major challenge in a child’s development and leads to a gradual re-shaping of existing brain networks for visual perception and spoken language. In this research project, funded by an NWO Vidi grant, we use a longitudinal approach to follow this re-shaping of brain networks in typically reading and dyslexic children. The project is performed in close collaboration with national dyslexia institutes and aims to lead to a better understanding of individual differences in reading gains. In a related project together with dr. Maaike Vandermosten at Leuven University, Belgium, we investigate cortical representations of speech in children at low versus high familial risk of dyslexia.
(2) Reading fluency and neural correlates of auditory/visual language processing. A lack of fluency in reading forms the most persistent and impaired characteristic of developmental dyslexia. At the same time, dyslexic readers show large individual differences in reading fluency and intervention outcome. We investigate brain mechanisms underlying these differences by studying how (gains in) reading fluency relate to neural correlates of letter-speech sound integration, speech perception and visual word recognition. This research started in collaboration with prof. Leo Blomert and continued with collaborative NWO NIHC funded dyslexia intervention project with prof. Maurits van der Molen (University of Amsterdam) and dr. Jurgen Tijms (IWAL).
(3) Brain-based representation of speech. We investigate task-dependent and developmental plasticity in speech perception using EEG/fMRI decoding techniques. Our results have uncovered spatio-temporal neural coding mechanisms underlying speech and voice processing and their developmental refinements from childhood to adulthood. More recently, this research has been extended to studying how speech is processed in the brain’s dorsal (sensorimotor) and ventral (meaning) pathways.