Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Semantics, Aphasia, and Neural Dynamics Lab

Semantics, Aphasia, and Neural Dynamics Lab


Primary Investigator: Dr. Chaleece Sandberg

Research Assistants:
Jason Staph

Graduate Students:
Joanne Kinney (CSD/Language Science Doctoral Program)
Anna Serrichio (CSD Doctoral Program)

Undergraduate Students:
Lucia Mitnik
Alexandra Santos
Jacquelyn Stochel
Mahika Sampat
Katelyn Dinsmore
Kaileigh Dunham
Rory Murphy
Julia Martynuska
Paige Voltmer

The overarching goal of our lab’s research is to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of brain plasticity in post-stroke chronic aphasia related to improved behavioral outcomes of therapy to develop more effective treatment strategies for persons with aphasia. Drawing on the disciplines of linguistics, language disorders, and neuroimaging, with special interest in the treatment of semantic access deficits, our lab conducts research with both normal adults and those with language disorders in the areas of semantics and bilingualism. Past research has included examining plausibility in sentence comprehension in normal and aphasic language processing, bilingual aphasia treatment, including computational modeling of treatment outcomes, and treatment for agrammatism. Current work in the lab includes examining the structure of the semantic system, specifically differences in abstract and concrete conceptual organization, exploring the neural underpinnings of the TOT state in aging and aphasia, leveraging the characteristics of abstract and concrete words to improve word retrieval in mono- and bi-lingual aphasia (and vocabulary learning in L2), and examining the neural changes associated with successful aphasia therapy. Our lab utilizes neuroimaging, behavioral analyses, and mathematical models to achieve our research goals.