Dr Miozzo has recently assumed a permanent lecturership position at the University of Cambridge, moving from Columbia University, where he directed a word production lab for six years. We request funds to aid the establishment and development of a word production lab at the University of Cambridge. Specifically, we ask for support for four studies that examine the brain mechanisms involved in the production of complex words - i.e. words formed by multiple components (colouring, colour+ing; doghouse, dog+house). There are currently competing theories about the brain processing of complex words. We can acquire critical data for discriminating between alternative proposals by focusing on these words.
Our results will also help to locate the brain areas for word production, with implications for language deficits in children and brain-damaged adults. Different approaches are needed to provide a comprehensive description of word production, its behavioural characteristics, time course, and brain substrates. Two relevant approaches' behaviour analysis and testing of brain-damaged patients - have been extensively used by Dr Miozzo. Two additional approaches - neuroimaging and EEG correlates - will be used in collaborative studies with teams in Cambridge. The project will extend the range of approaches used in Dr Miozzo's lab, thus facilitating the growth of the research and the successful relocation of the lab.
The multiplicity of approaches proposed for our project is unique for word production studies, and it will help to establish Dr Miozzo's lab internationally as one of the leading research centres on word production. The other language research teams in Cambridge focus primarily on word comprehension. The addition of a research team working on word production could foster studies that compare comprehension and production, an area of investigation that is crucial for understanding language processing in the brain.
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