Welcome to the CSLB
The Centre for Speech, Language and the Brain, headed by Professor Lorraine K Tyler, is part of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Our interdisciplinary research covers a wide range of issues in the cognitive neuroscience of language, object processing, semantics, the ageing brain and cognition. We integrate behavioural experimental and neuroimaging studies on healthy people, together with similar research on brain-damaged patients.
News from the CSLB
- 10 May 2013
New publication in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience available via Early Access:
Professor Lorraine K Tyler, Dr Kirsten Taylor and colleagues investigated how the brain's responses during object (picture) naming were modulated by the statistical properties of the object's semantic features. These findings help to integrate previously disparate findings by suggesting that both object-specific and category representations can be explained in terms of a critical interaction: the computational properties of different neural regions within the ventral stream with the semantic features of objects.
Click for our neurocognitive account of conceptual knowledge, the journal website or local PDF.
- 26 Mar 2013
At this year's Cambridge Neuroscience Seminar, Prof Tyler presented at talk on the Neurobiology of Language to a packed auditorium of neuroscientists from a variety of disciplines. CSLB members also presented posters at the Seminar. It was a great opportunity to interact with other researchers from Cambridge and beyond. You can see more photos by clicking on the thumbnail to the right.
- 16 Mar 2013
We had a great time interacting with the many visitors to our spot at the Cambridge Science Festival. Thank you to the keen kids and adults who got involved and experienced being research volutneers and experimenters. Click the thumbnail to the right to see pictures of the day.
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Major themes cross-cutting our research
Neurobiology of spoken language in healthy and brain-damaged populations:
- Working with healthy people, we develop accounts of the functional relationships between the anatomically distributed regions involved in language processing.
- Working with brain-damaged patients (in both the acute and chronic phases), we investigate issues of reorganisation and plasticity following brain damage.
Neurocognitive accounts of conceptual knowledge:
- How is meaning represented and processed in the mind and brain? We develop cognitive models of conceptual knowledge and investigate how conceptual knowledge is processed in both the healthy and damaged system.
The ageing brain and cognition:
- We study language function in normal healthy ageing to determine the relationship between preserved function and neural change.
New funding initiatives
Major new study in brain ageing (Cam-CAN)
Research efforts to understand how the brain changes with age, from early to late adulthood, have been given a major boost by a new £5M grant from the BBSRC. The funding has been awarded to a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge Departments of Psychology, Public Health, Psychiatry, Clinical Neurosciences and Engineering, and from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. This team, working as the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN), brings together world-leading expertise and cutting edge methods to understand how brain ageing in healthy people affects abilities like language, attention, emotion and memory.
The ageing process does not have a uniform effect across the brain. Older people often struggle, for example, to recall the right word in a conversation, but can continue to expand their vocabulary throughout old age. Understanding what structures in the brain account for this variation will be a crucial first step in allowing more people to retain a range of mental abilities throughout their lives. Professor Lorraine K Tyler, who heads the research team, said "Our mental abilities don't suddenly start to decline as we enter retirement. In fact, many are retained right into our eighties and we are often too quick to attribute normal lapses like forgetfulness to the effects of age. Understanding the complexities of how ageing affects the brain will be crucial for older people to be able to live fulfilled lives and contribute fully to society."
The study is unique in recruiting 3000 people aged 18-88 years, drawn from the general population, to create a library of information on how healthy brain ageing affects mental abilities to different degrees. Not only will this help identify older people who might be helped by therapies, but will also provide a lasting resource for future researchers to draw on. The research will establish a virtual "brain and behaviour" database which will hold behavioural, MRI and MEG data from a population-representative sample of 700 healthy adults. This will be a valuable, open-access resource for scientists interested in ageing, and a basis for longitudinal study of how our brain and our cognitive abilities change as we grow older.
ERC Advanced Investigator grant
An ERC Advanced Investigator Grant has been awarded to Professor Lorraine K Tyler. This 5-year programme will support her research programme 'PERCEPCON', investigating how the brain processes visual inputs as meaningful objects.
Dunhill Medical Trust grant
The Dunhill Medical Trust has funded a three-year project to examine the neural underpinnings of age-related changes in language production and comprehension. This research uses behavioural measures gathered in the lab, coupled with structural and functional imaging to address the question of what underpins good language performance across the lifespan. Particular focuses will include examining the reasons why older adults tend to suffer more word finding problems than younger adults and how the brain flexibly adapts across the adult lifespan to maintain good language comprehension.
More about us
The Centre is directed by Professor Lorraine K Tyler, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Fellow of Clare College. Researchers at the CSLB come from various academic fields such as cognitive psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, cognitive science, and computer science. We collaborate with scientists at the Department of Psychiatry, the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre, Johns Hopkins University, Pomona College, and University Hospital Basel.
The Centre, formerly called the Centre for Speech and Language, is/has recently been funded by grants from
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council(BBSRC) Strategic Longer and Larger Grant
- European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant
- Dunhill Medical Trust
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Isaac Newton Trust
- Research into Ageing
- British Academy
- EC FP6 Marie Curie Fellowship
- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)