UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Acquired Communication Disorder

Research in this theme addresses the spectrum of acquired language/communicative disorders, with particular specialisms in aphasia and language impairments that occur in various forms of dementia. There are core interests in both lexical and grammatical disorders, together with their impact on conversation and research addresses issues in assessment, diagnosis, management and underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of impairments. Research methods are largely behavioural, including intervention studies, but with strong linkage to techniques employed within the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language research group.


Suzanne Beeke

Investigation and remediation of communication disability acquired in adulthood, especially stroke-related aphasia. Investigation of the use of language in everyday conversation, in aphasia and in the normal ageing population. The evaluation of conversation-based therapies for people with aphasia. The application of behaviour change theory to speech and language therapy.

Principal Investigator: Dr Suzanne Beeke

Wendy Best

Investigation of and therapy for speech and language difficulties in children and adults. Current projects are all intervention studies focusing on the following: word-finding, gesture, auditory comprehension and conversation. A key focus is facilitating links between research and clinical practice in Speech and Language Therapy. Previous research has included work with people with anomia, developmental dyslexia, disorders of short term memory, category specific semantic disorder and with word sound deafness.

Principal Investigator: Prof Wendy Best

Carolyn Bruce

My research interest can broadly be described as the rehabilitation of acquired communication difficulties. Much of this research has focused on spoken word production. However, more recently this has extended to acquired disorders of reading and writing. In particular, I am interested in exploring how voice recognition can be used to support and develop spoken and written language. 

Principal Investigator: Dr Carolyn Bruce

Michael Dean

Senior Teaching Fellow in Language and Cognition and Communication Clinic Manager.

Rosemary Varley

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 the role of language in thought by examining the effects of severe aphasia on non-language cognition, and the use of intensive behavioural stimulation regimes to facilitate recovery from aphasia and apraxia. Current research uses a range of methods, including behavioural investigations with healthy adults and people with post-stroke communicative impairments, and also fMRI and TMS methodologies.

Core research themes are: aphasia; apraxia of speech; neurobiology of speech and language; the role of language in thought; cognition in severe aphasia; usage-based models of word and sentence processing. 

Principal Investigator: Prof Rosemary Varley

Jane Warren

My research to date has focused on the functional organisation of brain regions supporting language processes in healthy individuals and in people with acquired language disorders such as aphasic stroke, using a combination of behavioural and functional neuroimaging research methods. My research work has followed three lines of enquiry:

  • Investigating the functional organisation of the normal language system, with particular attention to language comprehension.
  • Investigating compensatory processes engaged in the healthy brain when language processing is difficult.
  • Investigating changes in the organisation of the language system following brain lesions such as aphasic stroke and the neural changes that contribute to functional recovery from aphasia.

Current and planned research centres on investigation of higher-order aspects of language comprehension, such as ambiguity resolution and inference-making, in healthy and aphasic populations.

Principal Investigator: Dr Jane Warren