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RESEARCH PROJECTS

The Cogan Lab focuses on studying speech, language, and cognition using electrophysiological recordings. We collaborate closely with the Viventi Lab to study human cognition using unparalleled high density, high channel count recordings (~1000 Channels, ~1 mm spacing).  We also use electrocorticography (ECoG, SEEG), and high density EEG to study the underlying computations of speech and language at different granularites. Some current projects include:
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Speech Perception and Production
Here we examine the neural substrates of speech perception and production. What is the underlying neural and cognitive architecture that enables humans to effortlessly understand and produce speech?

 

Neural Speech Prosthetic
Certain neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. ALS, MS) as well as locked-in syndrome leave patients with difficulty, or the inability to produce speech. Current technologies that facilitate communication can be cumbersome and slow. This is detrimental to their quality of life. Using high channel count/high density electrode arrays recording from the human brain, the Cogan Lab and the Viventi Lab, is designing cutting edge neural prosthesis that will enable patients to transform thoughts into overt verbal communication.

 

Verbal Working Memory
The ability to store information in working memory for online processing and manipulation supports all of cognition. There is strong evidence for a dedicated verbal working memory system that contains both sensory and motor components. We seek to understand the neural systems that support verbal working memory and their relationship with the neural systems that support language and cognition.

 

Lexical Access
How does the brain transform incoming sounds into words in the mind? Linguistic cognition is the processing and manipulation of linguistic objects. However, in order to be processed linguistically, sounds must be access the brain’s mental dictionary. In this project, we seek to better understand the computations that enable this access and their underlying neural substrates and cognitive representations.
 
Oscillatory Processes Underlying Cognition
When producing complex thought, the brain performs computations that need to be integrated into cohesive units in a temporally coherent manner. One possible mechanism for this is via neural oscillations. This project seeks to better understand how neural oscillations can be used to facilitate representation and communication between cognitive networks, enabling flexible cognition.