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We have never seen a pink banana. Yet all of us immediately understand what such a phrase describes. During my PhD, I want to better understand how humans derive meaning from language and its neural bases. To study this, I probe the linguistic intuitions of naïve speakers as they read words and (more mundane) phrases and measure their brain activity using electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography.
A second focus of my PhD is a methodological one. Carefully controlled experimental paradigms (such as one I described above) can yield very illuminating insights, but they might not generalise to situations that are more naturalistic (real-life like), such as when listening to a podcast. Studying language processing in naturalistic paradigms can expand our theoretical understanding in not just healthy volunteers, but also communities for whom standard experimental tasks might not be appropriate, such as individuals with developmental and/or neurological conditions.
Outside research proper, I am committed to promoting access to higher education and academia and to mentoring students from all backgrounds. Navigating higher education and academia is daunting for many, and particularly so for underrepresented groups. Throughout my training, I am privileged to have had mentors who continue to support and encourage me. I provide supervisions to students from underrepresented backgrounds in psychology and psychiatry who are interested in applying to graduate programmes through the Cambridge Access to Mental Health & Psychology programme (UK students only). My inbox is open if you aren't able to find resources wherever you are based and I would be delighted to chat.
My doctoral research is supervised by Olaf Hauk and Matt Lambon Ralph and supported by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.