Brain and Language Lab (BL2)


BL2 Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) Basic Certificate Program

ID: 4098
School: Research Center/Lab
Program: Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
Status: Ongoing
Start date: July 2020
End Date: July 2023

Description

The BL2 Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) Basic Certificate Program guides students, staff, and faculty researchers through the basic scientific principles, experimental procedures, safe usage policies, and ethical standards for NIRS brain imaging. Uniquely, trainees receive contemporary neurotics training for basic science research with special and diverse populations, especially d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing. This BL2 Certificate Program open to the Gallaudet University community and is led by the BL2 Neuroimaging Scientist (Dr. Bradley E. White) and supervised by the BL2 Scientific Director (Prof. Laura-Ann Petitto). NIH-Certified, FDA-Approved

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2021

White, B. E., & Petitto, L. A. (August 6, 2020). fNIRS applications and uses and doing fNIRS research at BL2. Presentation at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

White, B. E., & Petitto, L. A. (July 16, 2020). fNIRS equipment and safety and laboratory environment. Presentation at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

White, B. E., & Petitto, L. A. (July 23, 2020). Brain structure and function and localizing fNIRS measurements. Presentation at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

White, B. E., & Petitto, L. A. (July 30, 2020). fNIRS and brain imaging ethics and experiment procedures. Presentation at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

White, B. E., & Petitto, L. A. (July 9, 2020). Introduction to brain imaging and basic principles of fNIRS. Presentation at Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.


Cochlear implants and the brain: The biological basis for language and cognition in infants, children, and adults with cochlear implants

ID: 2061
School: Research Center/Lab
Program: Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
Status: Ongoing
Start date: September 2011
End Date: October 2022

Description

Controversy abounds regarding the impact of differences in language experience on the acquisition of spoken language in deaf individuals with cochlear implants (CIs). Noteworthy is that early exposure to a signed language causes deviance to auditory language tissue development. Related claims are that young children with CIs should not receive early exposure to a signed language for fear that the tissue devoted to auditory processes will be "taken over" by signed language processing. We ask whether early exposure to a visual signed language impacts negatively and/or causes neural deviance or abnormality to classic left-hemisphere spoken language tissue development in deaf individuals with early cochlear implantation, including left Inferior Frontal Gyrus (LIFG) and Superior Temporal Gyrus. We find that early exposed deaf CI individuals showed entirely normal activation in classic LIFG. By contrast, late exposed deaf CI individuals showed greater activation in the right-hemisphere. This supports the hypothesis that early signed language exposure facilitates normal language processing and does not cause neural deviance or abnormality to classic left-hemisphere language tissue. Strong evidence of neural plasticity was not at work—auditory processes were not "taken over" by signed language processing in early-sign exposed individuals with CIs. Instead, their language tissue activity was entirely normal. Rather than neural plasticity, findings suggest that aspects of left hemisphere language tissue thought to be "auditory" is not, but dedicated to processing highly specific patterns in natural language. We conclude that early, not later, exposure to a signed language supports typical, healthy, and normal language development.

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2021

Nematova, S., Zinszer, B., Morlet, T., Morini, G., Petitto, L.A, Jasinska, K. (October 21-24, 2020). Early-life signed language exposure does not impede the development of spoken language: A functional near infrared spectroscopy investigation of phonemic discrimination in cochlear implant (CI) users. Poster presented The Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, Philadelphia, PA.

Nematova, S., Zinszer, B., Morlet, T., Morini, G., Petitto, L.A., Jasinska, K. (Submitted, September 2021). Impact of signed language exposure on spoken language development in cochlear implant users: A functional near-infrared spectroscopy investigation of phonemic discrimination. Neuropsychologia.


Listening Effort and Developmental Neuroplasticity in Children with Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants

ID: 4090
School: Research Center/Lab
Program: Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
Status: Ongoing
Start date: October 2020
End Date: September 2022

Description

A widely used treatment for reduced hearing across the lifespan has been a growing use of hearing aids and cochlear implants. A broad motivation for this practice is the assumption that these devices provide robust augmentation of sound, and, hence, robust access to language and reading. By contrast, new research has provided challenges to this prevailing view and has revealed that adults who experience early and protracted degraded auditory processing, as made available from sound augmentative devices, show changes to the human brain’s neural structures and circuitry underlying language processing (e.g., reduced prefrontal cortex activity, reduced neural network functional connectivity). In turn, this has been demonstrated to have a deleterious impact on adults’ language and higher cognitive processes (e.g., higher levels of effort, increased errors, longer response time). In this novel study of children, we seek to discover answers to basic science problems in early child learning and their implications for optimal educational outcomes in young deaf and hearing children. We ask what is the impact of protracted use of hearing aids and cochlear implants on learning in young children, especially on language, reading, executive cognitive functions, and both children’s emotion recognition and self-perceptions of effort and ease that impact a child’s sustained attention for optimal learning. The findings will render relevant new knowledge important for deaf and all children, advance Gallaudet University research priorities, and contribute to innovations in the nation’s educational policies for young deaf and hearing children.

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2021

White, B. E., Gallagher, G., & Petitto, L. A. (2021). School readiness and developmental neuroplasticity in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Presentation at the Virtual Joint Meeting of the Midwest Conference on Cochlear Implants (CI CRASH) and the Mid-Atlantic Symposium on Hearing (MASH), Madison, WI.

White, B. E., McKinnie, K., Smistek, C., & Petitto, L. A. (May 2021). School readiness and developmental neuroplasticity in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Blitz Presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

White, B. E., Padilla, C., McKinnie, K., Smistek, C., Palagano, J., Gallagher, G., Horner, R., Aaron-Lozano, K., Kim, Y., Antonio, J., & Petitto, L. A. (February 2021). School readiness and developmental neuroplasticity in children with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Full Presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.


Performance Anxiety in Adults Who Gesture

ID: 4097
School: Research Center/Lab
Program: Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
Status: Ongoing
Start date: October 2020
End Date: September 2023

Description

Question: Why do some people perform better with gesture than others? ​ Goal: To identify factors that impact gesture performance and gesture fluency to inform the development of gesture assessments and curricula. ​ Collaboration: This is our collaborative study with Prof. Ben Bahan and the Gesture Literacy Knowledge Studio at Gallaudet ​ Innovation: Sprouted from organic scientific observation, advanced through innovative eye-tracking (attention) and thermal infrared (emotion) imaging.

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2021

White, B. E., Aaron-Lozano, K., Gallagher, G., & Petitto, L. A. (May 2021). Performance anxiety in adults who gesture. Blitz Presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.

White, B. E., Padilla, C., Aaron-Lozano, K., Kim, Y., Antonio, J., Guity, A., Palagano, J., Horner, R., Gallagher, G., & Petitto, L. A. (February 2021). Performance anxiety in adults who gesture. Full Presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.


The RAVE Revolution for Children with Minimal Language Experience During Sensitive Periods of Brain and Language Development

ID: 3170
School: Research Center/Lab
Program: Brain and Language Lab (BL2)
Status: Ongoing
Start date: October 2015
End Date: October 2022

Description

In this NSF INSPIRE grant, Petitto (PI), leads an international team to create and explore new methods to promote early learning gains for populations of children who would otherwise be at a lifelong disadvantage, especially infants with minimal or no early language exposure. We expand the boundaries of traditionally separate sciences, and unite synergistically interdisciplinary science teams to create a transformative learning tool and research platform called the Robot AVatar Thermal-Enhanced learning tool (RAVE), which makes available multiple components of human language in socially interactive and conversational ways to young children during critical periods of human brain and behavior development vital for lifelong strength in reading and language learning. To overcome such devastating early language exposure barriers that vast numbers of children face, RAVE is intended to be augmentative for young deaf visual learners during vital early-life critical/sensitive periods of development, and inclusive of many other children. RAVE is to be placed near a baby's high-chair, so as to augment and lift young infants who would otherwise have only minimal language input into a honed sensitivity to, and integrated use of, multiple linguistic cues at the core of human language structure. RAVE has the potential to provide a new aid to children with minimal or no early language input; provide the nation with a competitive science and technological edge; train students from multiple disciplines in interdisciplinary science; advance involvement of under-represented groups in STEM, and train young deaf scientists in the advancement of scientific knowledge with transformative translational significance for all of society.

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2020

Filippini, C. (2020). Affective Computing Based on Infrared Imaging for Human Robot Interaction. (Doctoral dissertation, Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti-Pescara).

2021

Filippini, C., Cardone, D., Perpetuini, D., Chiarelli, A.M., Petitto, L.A., & Merla, A. (In press, 2021). Assessment of autonomic response in 6–12-month-old babies during the interaction with robot and avatar by means of thermal infrared imaging. Peer-reviewed journal. International Quantitative InfraRed Thermography Journal.

Filippini, C., Merla, A., Cardone, D., Spadolini, E., Padilla, C., Gallagher, G., Sortino, R., Aaron-Lozano, K., Antonio, J., & Petitto, L.A. (Revise and Resubmit, 2021). Emotion and human language learning: Insights from combined Thermal IR and fNIRS brain imaging of human infants in communicative interactions with a robot and avatar artificial agents. Peer-reviewed journal.