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Michele Diaz, Ph.D., is the Director of Human Imaging and an Associate Professor of Psychology, Linguistics, and Neuroscience at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on the neural representation of language and how this representation differs across the lifespan. In particular, she is interested in age-related differences in phonological and semantic aspects of language production. Her lab combines behavioral, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging measures to examine the relations between age, cognition, and the brain. She has also investigated contributions of the right hemisphere to language by studying figurative language, discourse, and novelty. Finally, she worked on the Biomedical Informatics Research Network focusing on best practices in neuroimaging and multi-site research.
Title: Neural and behavioral age-related differences in language production
Although decline in cognitive functions is often observed with aging, language functions show a pattern of both impaired and spared performance. Semantic knowledge, reflected in vocabulary and general comprehension, are well maintained throughout adulthood. In contrast, older adults show impairments in language production, such as in increased slips of the tongue and increased pauses during speech which may reflect phonological impairment. This asymmetric pattern suggests a fundamental difference in the cognitive and neural organization of these two language abilities. In this talk, I will discuss our work which has looked at semantic and phonological decisions, as well as more recent work that has examined inherent aspects of words, such as lexical frequency and neighborhood effects (phonological and semantic). Broadly, our work examines how cognition, behavior, and neural factors relate to each other and how they contribute to language production in healthy younger and older adults.
Friday, October 25 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Belo Center for New Media (BMC), 1.202 John R. Fleming Lecture Hall
300 DEAN KEETON ST W, Austin, Texas 78712