Neurolinguistics Lab

Overview.  The research in the Neurolinguistics laboratory focuses on the following areas. Speech acoustics in aphasia. Speech and language improvement in the chronic stage of aphasia can be incremental and difficult to quantify.   Assessment frequently targets word or phrase-level language production in structured tasks, in which improvement is relatively easy to quantify (e.g. correct verb produced).  Ecologically valid measures of speech and language in use include spontaneous speech in a variety of conversational contexts, but spontaneous speech is notoriously difficult and time-consuming to analyze, particularly in individuals with language and speech impairments, such as aphasia.  We are examining semi-automatic analysis of acoustic features of elicited and spontaneous speech in individuals with aphasia as objective and quantifiable measures of production fluency, which may help us estimate effects of speech-language therapy despite diversity in characteristics of aphasia.

 

Intensive language therapy for aphasia. Restorative, intensive language therapy focuses on intensive practice of explicit communication acts in naturalistic activities.  Intensive motor therapies for improvement in limb function have included a home component which increases functional gains. The current study examines the contribution of a home component to language recovery in adults with chronic aphasia undergoing intensive language therapy.

 

Functional impact of spatial neglect. Spatial neglect is a common disorder following stroke, it impairs the ability to respond or orient to stimuli on the contralesional side of the body, causing functional disability and leading to poor patient outcomes. We are interested in identifying clinical indicators and co-morbidities associated with spatial neglect in order to improve diagnosis and treatments.  

 

Facilities. Language assessment, therapy and audio recording take place in dedicated lab space with pro audio recording and signal processing equipment. Software for speech and language analysis include Sound Analysis Pro 2011, Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT), and Praat.

 

People.  The laboratory is directed by Kristen Maul, PhD. Collaborators include Mira Gopal, (Neurolinguistics Laboratory, Lehman College, CUNY), A.M. Barrett  (Stroke Rehabilitation Research Laboratory, Kessler Foundation Research Center, New Jersey Medical School, NJ), Ofer Tchernichovski (Laboratory of Vocal Learning, Hunter College, CUNY). Yconne Segismundo (graduate student in the SLP program) is currently working on a research study examining the effect of a "homework" component on the response to intensive aphasia therapy in individuals with non-fluent aphasia. 

 

Selected Publications and Presentations.

 

Oh-Park, M., Maul, K., Kong, Y., Chen, P., Sandefur, K., & Barrett, A. M. (2014). Poster 386 Spatial Neglect Predicts Swallowing Problems Following Stroke. PM&R6(9), S170-S171.  

 

Galletta, E. E., Campanelli, L., Maul, K. K., & Barrett, A. M. (2014). Assessment of Neglect Dyslexia With  Functional Reading Materials. Topics in stroke rehabilitation21(1), 75-86.