Early Cognitive Development and Language Development 

Using behavioral, survey, and electroencephalography (EEG) methodology, data is being collected to examine connections between executive functions (i.e., cognitive flexibility, inhibition, working memory) and other foundational factors that affect speed and ease of cognition, including language development. These are foundational skills that aid in reading readiness and comprehension across the school years. Due to the plasticity of the brain (i.e., the ability of our brain to adapt to environmental change by modifying its neural connectivity) and fluidity of executive functions, evidence has been found that these areas can be enhanced through optimal environmental experiences (e.g., availability of reading materials in the home, parental involvement, brain "training", dual language exposure).

Executive function measures are known to recruit frontocingulate brain regions, which make the measurement of EEG data particularly useful. Preliminary evidence has found that dual language exposure may force children to rely on differing neural mechanisms, particularly when heavy translation is involved during childhood. In collaboration with researchers at Chicago universities, data has been collected with bilingual children to more fully understand the impact of the environment on language and executive function development. Ongoing collection of this data is not expected at this time.

More current lines of research are examining the general development of language skills in young children in relation to different environmental factors (e.g., socioeconomic level, parental involvement and training). If you are interested in being a part of this research, whether you are a community group, child development center, or school, please feel free to contact the lab!