Karen Emmorey

The neural underpinnings of reading skill in profoundly deaf adults

Very little is known about the neural adaptations that support skilled reading when the process of learning to read is altered by deafness.
My colleagues and I are using both functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Event-Related Potential (ERP) methods to identify differences in brain responses that characterize poor versus skilled reading in profoundly deaf adults. One goal of these studies is to understand the neurocognitive processes that are adopted by highly skilled deaf readers (who have weak phonological skills) to decode printed words and understand text. I will review our most recent findings which are beginning to identify a specific neural profile for skilled deaf readers.

Dr. Karen Emmorey is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at San Diego State University and the Director of the Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Emmorey’s research focuses on what sign languages can reveal about the nature of human language, cognition, and the brain. She studies the processes involved in how deaf and hearing people produce and comprehend sign language and how these processes are represented in the brain. Her research interests also include bimodal bilingualism (i.e., sign-speech bilingualism) and the neurocognitive underpinnings of reading skill in profoundly deaf adults.

 

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