BLN Spotlight

buckeye language network


The BLN community is full of amazing people…. Let’s shine a light on:

 

Hannah Shatzer
PhD Student
Psychology

Organizer of the new BLN Student Association

 


What do you do? 

I have two overlapping areas of research: I study audiovisual speech perception in addition to speech perception in cochlear implant users. I am also interested in the neural mechanisms associated with audiovisual speech integration in cochlear implant users and individuals with normal hearing.

What is the most exciting thing you’re working on now?

I am about to start data collection for my dissertation! I’m interested in the relationship between cortical plasticity in the brain and speech perception ability before and after deaf adults receive a cochlear implant. There is evidence to suggest that during deafness, visual cortical processing resources ‘take over’ the underused processing resources in auditory cortex. I hope to correlate EEG measures of visual take-over of auditory cortex during deafness to speech perception outcomes for adults who are receiving cochlear implants, with the goal of predicting the development of auditory and audiovisual speech perception abilities post-implantation by patterns of EEG activity pre-implantation. If I do find this relationship, it will not only tell us more about the nature of cortical plasticity during and after long-term sensory deprivation, but may also allow us to better predict how much someone will benefit from receiving a cochlear implant based on neural measures collected during deafness.

What is the most interesting thing about studying language the way you do?

I love the intersection between neuroimaging, cognitive science, and language that my research involves. I think that incorporating multiple perspectives in addressing research questions (psychology, audiology, neuroscience, etc.) allows for a unique and comprehensive approach to studying language in both normal-hearing and hearing-impaired populations.

What’s your favorite thing about language?

Communication! Spoken language is often not only verbal, but also visual, and involves multiple modalities working together to help the perceiver understand what is being said. We are not communicating just with the words that we say, but also with the visual movements of our facial features and gestures, and our brain is able to integrate all of that information together to help us best understand what is being communicated.


Who is your favorite language-oriented researcher (living or dead)?

I think that Greg Hickok and David Poeppel’s work on the dual-stream neural model of speech and language processing is phenomenal!

If you could make every student at OSU know one thing about language, what would it be?

That there are so many individual differences in the ways that each person perceives and understands language. We might have overarching theories for the way that language works, but it’s also important to study how each individual might operate slightly differently from those theories!

Why are you a member of the BLN?

I really enjoy getting to hear more about the awesome and diverse language research that is being conducted across campus! Since there isn’t a lot of language-specific research happening in my own department, I love having the opportunity to be connected with what others are doing in their departments, cross-discipline collaborations, etc.

Anything else you want to tell us?

If you are a graduate student conducting language research (or an undergraduate student who is also interested in language research), I invite you to join our new graduate student organization that we are forming in Autumn 2018, the Buckeye Language Network Student Association (BLNSA), to connect with like-minded students across multiple departments at the university who are also studying language! Check us out and subscribe to our e-mail list here: https://lists.osu.edu/mailman/listinfo/blnsa