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Joseph Devlin

For years my central question was: Why is human language a unique ability in the animal kingdom? Although other animals certainly communicate, sometimes in fairly sophisticated ways, no other species uses such a rich, complex system, capable of conveying essentially infinite amounts of information. My research focuses specifically on the brain-basis of this difference. Interestingly, there is no single area of the human brain dedicated to language that differentiates us from other primates such as chimps. Instead, the differences may be related to how information is integrated across brain regions. My work aims to: i) determine how such information is represented and processed in human brains, ii) to identify how similar or different this processing is across species, and iii) to investigate potential differences in the wiring patterns in human brains that enable novel interactions which potentially give rise to human language.

More recently, I’ve become interested in how advances in neuroscience, psychology and behavioural sciences can be applied in real-world settings, especially in business.  My current research focuses on understanding experiences, whether these are the experience of being in an audience (eg. at the theatre, in a cinema, when watching TV), or consumer experience (e.g. digital, shop floor, or blended) or even employee experience (e.g. team work, leadership, wellbeing).  Collaborating with industrial partners, my team works to solve real-world problems.

You can find more information about my work here:

Meet the researcher

Dr. Devlin investigates the neuroscience of language and communication. At one level, he investigates the basic brain mechanisms of language including speaking, listening and reading. In addition, he is interested in how language is used in the real world, investigating the psychology and neuroscience of communication. This has applications to marketing and business more generally, but also to government, health care, education and the charity sector, all of whom use basic marketing methods to influence behaviour.

Contact details

Room 232
26 Bedford Way
London, WC1H 0AP

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0207 679 5414