Language and Learning Laboratory

Director: Erica Middleton, PhD


One of the most amazing and complex human abilities is the act of transforming mental representations of the world and personal experiences into information-rich sequences of sound (i.e., language production) that are then understood by a listener. In the Language and Learning lab, our work is dedicated to understanding the processes involved in language production as well as how such processes are disrupted in acquired language disorder (aphasia). A major focus is to develop efficacious treatments of aphasia grounded in a theoretical understanding of fundamental mechanisms of language use, learning, and language change.

Programs of Research

  • Retrieval practice (i.e., testing) effects in rehabilitation of naming impairments in aphasia (with Katherine Rawson, PhD and Myrna Schwartz, PhD)
  • Distributed practice effects and treatment of naming impairments in aphasia (with Katherine Rawson, PhD and Myrna Schwartz, PhD)
  • Retrieval practice and distributed practice effects in treatment of word comprehension deficits in aphasia (with Katherine Rawson, PhD and Myrna Schwartz, PhD)
  • Representation of homophones (e.g., dear/deer) in the mental lexicon (with Marja-Liisa Mailend, PhD)
  • Monitoring of speech (with Myrna Schwartz, PhD)
  • Semantic context effects in aphasia (with Abhijeet Patra, PhD)
  • Conceptual combination in aphasia (with Sharon Thompson-Schill, PhD)
  • Neurological bases of functional communication (with Dan Mirman, PhD)
  • Cognitive control and sentence comprehension in aphasia (with Malathi Thothathiri, PhD)
  • Neural stimulation and response to intensive language therapy in aphasia (with Branch Coslett, MD)


Research Coordinator
Adelyn Brecher, CCC-SLP

Research Assistants
Krysta Duquette
Taylor Echevarria

Post-Doctoral Alumni
Marja-Liisa Mailend, Institute Scientist, Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute
Abhijeet Patra, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University
Julia Schuchard, Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Denise Harvey, Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Pennsylvania