UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Prof Rosemary Varley

Chair of Acquired Disorders of Language Communication

Language & Cognition

Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Joined UCL
6th Feb 2012

Research summary

My research focuses on developing biologically plausible accounts of human cognition, particularly in the domains of speech and language, and language-linked cognitive function. Particular areas of interest are exploring sentence processing impairments in aphasia from a usage-based perspective. In a current study, funded by the UK Stroke Association, we are examing the outcomes of a new computerised intervention (UTILISE), designed on Construction Grammar principles. The intervention is combined with non-invasive brain stimulation in the form of tDCS. Other research explores the role of language in thought by examining the effects of severe aphasia on non-language cognition, and recent work has examined language processing in dementia (funded by The Alzheimers Society) and psychosis. Current research uses a range of methods, including behavioural investigations with healthy adults and people with post-stroke communicative impairments, and also fMRI and tDCS methodologies.

Core research themes are: aphasia; dementia; psychosis; cognition in severe aphasia; usage-based models of word and sentence processing.

Teaching summary

I contribute to a number of Masters modules. My teaching includes classes on randomised control trial methodology; apraxia of speech; neuroscience principles in aphasia therapy; lesion method in neuropsychology. I supervise student projects, particularly on topics associated with the project Reconstructing sentence processing in aphasia http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN14466044


Rosemary Varley is Professor of Acquired Language Disorders in the Department of Language and Communication at UCL. Previous posts have included work in the NHS and research/teaching posts at the University of Hong Kong and the University of Sheffield. Most of her work is directed at the investigation of post-stroke impairments in adults. Major research themes are the application of neuroscience to aphasia rehabilitation, the development of biologically plausible accounts of speech and language, and exploration of residual cognition in severe aphasia to establish the role of language in thought and other domains of cognition. She is co-author of the software SWORD, a program that allows people with post-stroke speech disorder to self-manage their therapy. She co-authored the textbook Introduction to Language Pathology (with David Crystal). She has published research in major international journals such as Nature Reviews Neuroscience and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. Her research is funded by government research councils and charities. In 2006, she was awarded an ESRC Professorial Fellowship.