Dr. Bonnie Nozari

SLI Title

Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurology and Cognitive Science

Bio

I'm an assistant professor at the Neurology Department at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, with a joint appointment at the Department of Cognitive Science. I study language, both because I find it fascinating as a cognitive faculty, and because I believe much can be learned about more domain-general cognitive processes, such as temporal sequencing through the study of language.  My research interests are:

HOW DO WE MONITOR OUR SPEECH?

I believe that speech errors are detected using a domain-general error detection mechanism. This mechanism uses the information already generated in the production process and relays this information to a domain-general executive center. A computational account of this process was presented in Nozari et al. (2011). It remains to be seen how different types of errors (semantic, phonological, appropriateness errors, etc.) are detected and corrected? I would like to expand this line to cover more general metacognitive issues in language. How much awareness do we have into our linguistic processes?

HOW DOES ATTENTION HELP OR HURT OUR SPEECH?

Attention is a double-edged sword. While it benefits the attended, it puts the unattended at a disadvantage (it causes a cost). A huge body of work has addressed the effects of attention in visual processing (attention in space, and in perception). Language production provides a great opportunity to study attention in time, and in production. Nozari & Dell (2012) addresses the issue behaviorally, and Nozari & Thompson-Schill (2013) speaks to the neural underpinning of benefit and cost in selective attention. Recently, a new line of my work using eye-tracking is investigating the role of attention in keeping focus on the relevant information in language comprehension (Nozari & Mirman, under review).

THE LANGUAGE OF GESTURES

Recently, in collaboration with my friend and colleague Tilbe Goksun, we have embarked on exploring the cognitive architecture of the gesture system and its overlap with the language production system. Our initial data suggests similar cognitive structures between the two, and overlap at certain layers of the two systems.

APHASIA

I come from a medical background, so I'd like for findings of basic science to be applied to clinical disorders. Most relevant to my work is aphasia, or language deficits due to brain abnormalities. Almost all aspects of my work has implications for diagnosis and treatment of this patient population.

Affiliated Research