Cognitive Neuroscience of Speech and Language

Our discovery science goal is to provide biologically and psychologically plausible accounts of human communication and its disorders.

A Human Communication Sciences student with a patient.

Current areas of research focus include: (a) laterality and sex differences in healthy adult speech and language; and (b) cognitive neurorehabilitation of acquired speech and language disorders. 

Have a look at some of our publications:

Bilingual language processing: Cowell, P., Ibrahim, A., & Varley, R. (2017). Word frequency predicts translation asymmetry. Journal of Memory and Language, 95, 49-67.doi:10.1016/j.jml.2017.02.001

Lexical retrieval: Khwaileh, T., Body, R., & Herbert, R. (2017). Lexical retrieval after Arabic aphasia: Syntactic access and predictors of spoken naming. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 42, 140-155. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroling.2017.01.001

Individual difference in speech production: Whiteside, S. P. (2016). Profiling Individual Differences in Speech Production. In A. Agwuele, & A. Lotto (Eds.), Essays in Speech Processes Language Production and Perception (pp. 269-314). Equinox Publishing.

Khwaileh, T., Body, R., & Herbert, R. (2015). Morpho-syntactic processing of Arabic plurals after aphasia: dissecting lexical meaning from morpho-syntax within word boundaries. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 32, 340-367

Word retrieval: Wilshire, C., Singh, S., & Tattersall, C. (2016). Serial order in word form retrieval: new insights from the auditory picture-word interference task. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23(1), 295-305.

Lateralised language and cognitive systems: Gurd, J.M. & Cowell, P.E. (2015) Discordant cerebral lateralisation for verbal fluency is not an artefact of attention: Evidence from MzHd twins. Brain Structure and Function. 220, 59-69.

Acquired apraxia of speech: Whiteside, S.P., Dyson, L., Cowell, P.E. & Varley, R. (2015). The relationship between apraxia of speech and oral apraxia: association or dissociation? Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 30, 670-682.

Sex differences and acoustic phonetics: Herrmann, F., Cunningham, S. & Whiteside, S.P. (2014) Speaker sex effects on temporal and spectro-temporal measures of speech. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 44(1), 59–74.

Producing spoken words: Herbert, R., Anderson, E., Best, W., & Gregory, E. (2014). Activation of syntax in lexical production in healthy speakers and in aphasia. Cortex, 57, 212-226.

Intervention for spoken word difficulties: Herbert, R., Gregory, E., & Best, W. (2014). Syntactic versus lexical therapy for anomia in acquired aphasia: Differential effects on narrative and conversation. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 49, 2, 162-173.

Communication aid: Hawley, M. S., Cunningham, S. P., Green, P. D., Enderby, P., Palmer, R., Sehgal, S., & Neill, P. O. (2013). A voice-input voice-output communication aid for people with severe speech impairment. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 21(1), 23–31.

Sex differences, hormones and speech: Cowell, P.E., Ledger, W.L., Wadnerkar, M.B., Skilling, F.M., & Whiteside, S.P. (2011) Hormones and dichotic listening: Evidence from the study of menstrual cycle effects. Brain and Cognition, 76:256-262.

Our impact goal is to translate the scientific evidence from our research into procedures, services and instruments that benefit society, with a focus on people with communication disorders.

SWORD computerised treatment for acquired apraxia of speech:

Varley, R., Cowell, P.E., Dyson, L., Inglis, L., Roper, A, & Whiteside, S.P. (2016). Self-administered computer therapy for apraxia of speech: two-period randomized control trial with crossover. Stroke, 47, 822-828.

Whiteside, S.P., Inglis, A. L., Dyson, L., Roper, A., Harbottle, A., Ryder, J., Cowell, P.E. & Varley, R.A. et al. (2012) Error reduction therapy in reducing struggle and grope behaviours in apraxia of speech. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 22, 267-294.

The POWERS assessment:

Herbert, R.E., et al. (2013). Profile of word errors and retrieval in speech (POWERS). Publisher: JR Press.

Accessible Information Guidelines:

These were developed by Herbert, R.E., Brumfitt, S.M., Gregory, E., Haw, C. et al. in collaboration with the Stroke Association (2012).

Communication Aids:

Cunningham, S. Voice Input Voice Output Communication Aid (VIVOCA).

Our cluster membership includes cognitive neuroscientists, speech scientists, speech and language therapists, computer scientists and psycholinguists.

Academic staff

Emeritus Staff

  • Professor Shelagh Brumfitt

Honorary Staff

  • Professor Rosemary Varley

Research staff and Postgraduate Research Students