Toward a universal theory and model of word comprehension

Principal Investigator


Principal investigator department

Grant Names:
Discovery Grant

Award Years

2017 to 2022


Understanding the learning mechanisms, representations, and processes underlying word comprehension are critical research topics both for understanding basic cognitive processes and for providing a platform for clinical and educational applications (e.g., language remediation after stroke, language instruction). However, a comprehensive understanding of how information about a word’s printed form (orthography) spoken form (phonology) and meaning (semantics) has yet to be achieved. To this end, I aim to develop an integrated “universal” theory and accompanying neural network model of written and spoken word comprehension across multiple languages. My work will advance past models of portions of the full system. These models, although highly influential, are limited by their primary focus on English, frequent absence of a learning mechanism, and lack of direct modeling of the neural correlates of processing. To develop my universal account, I will use integrative methods from computational modeling, cognitive neuroscience, linguistics, and cognitive psychology.

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