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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

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Visual Communication

Visual Communication group investigates different modes of visual communication. The group is led by Prof Mairéad MacSweeney.

Mairéad MacSweeney

Group Leader

 

m.macsweeney@ucl.ac.uk

+44 20 7679 1157

Mairead MacSweeney

Visual Communication Research

Humans communicate not only through auditory speech, but also through vision. Visual routes to communication include reading, visual speech (lipreading), gesture and, for those who are deaf, sign language.  Our research uses both behavioural and neuroimaging approaches to further our understanding of these modes of visual communication. 

In particular our work involves research with people who are born deaf.  Exploring the brains of individuals with altered sensory and language experience offers unique insights into the limits of neural plasticity and the cognitive and neurobiological conditions under which language develops. Our research addresses a fundamental issue in cognitive science: how does experience shape language and the brain?

In addition to informing our basic understanding of brain development and the neurobiology of language, aspects of our research will also ultimately inform intervention strategies for children born profoundly deaf both in terms of education and cochlear implant programmes. 

The Visual Communication Research Group is also part of the UCL Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre, where Mairéad MacSweeney is Director.

Group Members

Independent Research Fellows

Heather Payne

Heather Payne
h.payne@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in functional asymmetries (lateralisation) of processing signed and spoken language. I use functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD) and behavioural measures to examine language lateralisation in deaf and hearing children. 

Lizzie Worster

Lizzie Photo
e.buchanan-worster@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in language and literacy development in deaf and hearing children. In particular, my research focuses on the relationship between speechreading (lipreading), phonological awareness and reading development in these two groups.

Post-doctoral Research Fellows

Junfei Liu

Junfei Liu
junfei.liu.16@ucl.ac.uk

I am interested in the neural basis of reading in deaf readers. 

Laura Monroy

Laura Monroy
laura.camarena.15@ucl.ac.uk

As a child of deaf adults (CODA) and having grown up in a deaf family, I am particularly interested in language processing in deaf people (sign and spoken language) and in the use of different strategies (e.g., fingerspelling, speechreading) on the development of their literacy.

Victoria Mousley

Victoria Mousley

I am interested in the early cognitive processes and neurological correlates of learning spoken and/or signed language.