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I study language and memory.

My research uses a combination of behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological techniques to understand the theoretical and neural basis of language and memory. The goal of my research is to produce converging evidence from multiple approaches that illuminates the relationship between language processing and memory. I am especially interested in how working memory, the cognitive system that allows us to remember information over very short time periods, is related to language production and comprehension.

What are the effects on our language when our memory is damaged?

Working memory capacity can be decreased as a result of brain damage or even normal aging. I work with people with left hemisphere brain damage as a result of stroke to understand how their working memory capacity limitations affect their ability to produce and understand language.

Horne, A., Zahn, R., Najera, O. I., & Martin, R. C. (2022). Semantic Working Memory Predicts Sentence Comprehension Performance: A Case Series Approach. Frontiers in Psychology, 13.

Zahn, R., Horne, A., & Martin, R. C. (2022). The role of working memory in language comprehension and production: Evidence from neuropsychology. In J. W. Schwieter & E. Wen (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Working Memory and Language. Cambridge University Press.

Our brain's white matter connections are understudied, but critical for successful memory and language function.

Our brains are made up of gray matter cortical regions and the white matter connections that transfer information between regions. Historically, the role of white matter connections in cognition has been far understudied compared to the role of gray matter. I use neuroimaging (specifically diffusion tensor imaging) and multivariate statistical methods to investigate the roles of specific white matter tracts in working memory and language.

Horne, A., Ding, J., Schnur, T. T., & Martin, R. C. (2023). The white matter correlates of domain-specific working memory. Brain Sciences.

Brain images with labeled gray matter cortical and white matter connective regions

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