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A-40: Nature and Acquisition of the Speech
Code and Reading
(Carol A. Fowler, PI)

Research Goals. The overall goal of the A-40 program is to understand how the language apparatus, biologically specialized for speaking and listening, becomes adapted to reading and writing. The program of research just approved for funding consists of four projects. For the first time in our more than 40 year history of this project, all projects include research on both speech and reading. (In past cycles, for the most part, a project was either about speech or about reading.) The first project is meant to extend our study of “articulatory phonology” or more generally our theory of phonological “practice” (that is, public use of language forms). In the domain of reading, we extend our earlier cross language research meant to expose the nature of the phonological information (we presume articulatory phonological information) accessed by skilled readers. Projects 2 and 3 develop our researchers’ theoretical account of the brain systems underlying language use in speech and reading. In its research on reading, Project 2 integrates neuroimaging, behavioral, and computational modeling results to extend Haskins’ model of skilled reading. Project 3 is a longitudinal study of children learning to read Finnish, English and Chinese. Developing proficiency in each group will be assessed with common psychometric, adaptive learning, and neurobiological (ERP and fMRI) measures so that relationships among attained skills, cognitive processing, and cortical organization can be tracked. The focus of Project 4 is on the relationship between reading ability and lexical phonology and how that relationship is changed for (1) disabled readers and (2) individuals whose dialect of English differs from standard English.

Current Status. This program is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Funding for a new five-year cycle of this project began on May 1, 2007. Total costs requested for the second year are $1,274,530.

Supplements:

A-40 S2: Research Supplement for Underrepresented Minorities
(Carol A. Fowler, PI)

Research Goals. This is a minority supplement to A-40 to provide post doctoral training to Miguel Moreno. He is learning to adapt procedures of dynamical systems analysis to the investigation of visual word recognition. This project was funded beginning December 15, 2002.

[This program and its supplements are funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH Grant HD-01994).]