UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Speech and Swallowing

Research in this theme explores the  behavioural, cognitive and neurophysiological mechanisms of typical and impaired speech and swallowing, together with the impact of disorders in these domains on an individual’s life participation and wellbeing. It employs both quantitative and qualitative research methods, together with strong interdisciplinary links to speech sciences, therapeutics and fluid mechanics.


Steven Bloch

My current work involves an examination of acquired progressive speech disorders in everyday conversation. Using the principles of conversation analysis this research investigates features of naturally occurring interaction produced by people with motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and parkinson's disease in conversation at home with family members.

Principal Investigator:  Prof Steven Bloch

Christina Smith

My research areas are swallowing, speech and language function.  

In swallowing, I work in the areas of both typical swallowing and the breakdown in swallowing, including rehabilitation approaches for impaired swallowing.  Current research focus is in perception of commercial fluid thickeners and experiences in using thickeners. 

In speech, my work focuses on changes people with Parkinson's disease experience. 

In language function, I examine the effect of speech and language therapy combined with Pramipexole in people with chronic aphasia through functional language outcomes. 

Principal Investigator: Dr Christina Smith

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