Month: April 2018

4/28 Talk: The dynamics of learning and using two languages

Dr Eleonora Rossi from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona will be giving a talk  April 28th entitled The dynamics of learning and using two languages: Investigating second language acquisition, and its consequences for the mind and the brain as part of the 9th Annual University of Connecticut Language Fest.

Dr Rossi will be available for individual meetings on Thursday, April 26th (between 1 and 4 PM) and Friday, April 27th (between 9 AM and 4 PM). If you are interested in bilingualism and would like to meet with Dr Rossi, please send an email to Yanina Prystauka (

Abstract: Learning a second language (L2) past childhood can be a challenging task, especially when the two languages differ in their linguistic structures (Sabourin & Stowe, 2008). At the same time, bilinguals, even at lower levels of proficiency are able to negotiate two languages with relative ease even in the presence of conflicting linguistic structures (Kroll et al., 2014), revealing a fine-tuned system for language control (Abutalebi & Green, 2007). During my talk, I will examine the linguistic and neural signatures of second language processing in adult learners, and I will propose that it can be used as a lens to examine the relative plasticity of the linguistic and neural systems. I will first present behavioral and neuroimaging data analyzing the processing of grammatical structures that are not shared between the native and the second language. Behavioral and electrophysiological (EEG) results will provide evidence supporting the view that L2 learners show similar neural signatures to those observed in native speakers, suggesting that there is a higher degree of plasticity for adult L2 learners than typically assumed. Building on that observation, I will then address the question of how bilinguals manage to negotiate the activity of the two languages in one mind and brain. Towards that goal, I will present recent neuroimaging data revealing that bilinguals possess a powerful neural control mechanism that allows successful selection of the language to be spoken. I will also demonstrate that the recruitment of those neural substrates is shaped by different language use. Finally, I will discuss how learning an L2 past childhood can be a catalyst for reshaping the structure of the brain itself by strengthening the white-matter pathways that are dedicated to language processing and language control. In the final part of the talk I will describe future directions for my research program.

Auditory processing in genetically engineered mouse models

UConn’s Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) is proud to sponsor a talk by:

Holly Fitch of Psychological Sciences

Auditory processing in genetically engineered mouse models: Implications for human language

at 5pm on May 8 in Konover Auditorium.

In this talk, Dr. Fitch will present background data on use of genetically engineered mouse models to effectively capture intermediate phenotypes relevant to language, specifically using mice with mutations in dyslexia and ASD-risk genes.

This talk is a keynote to IBACS’ annual Meet and Speak event and registration is required. More information about the program of events is available on IBACS’ events page.

Genetic contributions to auditory processing disorder

UConn’s Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) is proud to sponsor a talk by:

Dianne Newbury, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK

Genetic contributions to auditory processing disorder

at 5pm on May 9 in Konover Auditorium.

In this talk, Dr. Newbury will describe recent investigations of the genetic overlaps between auditory processing disorder and speech and language outcomes.

This talk is a keynote to IBACS’ annual Meet and Speak event and registration is required. More information about the program of events is available on IBACS’ events page.

Postdoctoral Position in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Brain Organization for Language and Literacy Development (BOLD) Lab
Linguistics and Cognitive Science Department
University of Delaware

University of Delaware  has an available Postdoctoral position in behavioral and neuroimaging research of language, literacy, and cognitive development, focused on global literacy initiatives in Ivory Coast.

Position start date: August 1, 2018 (flexible). Applications will be accepted until June 1, 2018.

The BOLD Lab at the University of Delaware has an opening for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to contribute to research on child literacy development in rural Ivory Coast. We have several ongoing projects using a combination of behavioral and neuroimaging methods to study how children develop and learn to read in high-risk environments. Specifically, we are looking for an individual who can contribute to two projects: (1) a technology-based literacy intervention program in primary school settings, and (2) brain-behavior approach to the study of development and reading outcomes, both in Ivory Coast.

Responsibilities will include the development, collection, and analysis of behavioral and neuroimaging data about literacy development and literacy intervention outcomes in school-aged children growing up in rural communities of Ivory Coast. The postdoc will also contribute to mentorship and collaboration with an Ivorian research team of graduate students and postdocs, with the goal of increasing local science capacity. The position is based at the University of Delaware, and the postdoc will have opportunities to go to Ivory Coast over the duration of the position.

Successful applicants will have a background in several of the following areas: child development, language and literacy acquisition, reading interventions (including education technologies), recording and analysis of fNIRS data, design and analysis of complex behavioral experiments/tasks, longitudinal data analysis, global development (ideally in sub-Saharan Africa). A Ph.D. in Psychology, Cognitive Science, Linguistics, or Neuroscience is preferred. The ideal candidate will be familiar with working in international contexts (preferably sub-Saharan Africa), proficient in French, and have a high degree of fluency conducting univariate and multivariate statistics using R, and fNIRS neuroimaging analysis using Matlab (NIRS-SPM, fNIRS-toolbox, Homer).

Interested candidates should send via email their CV, two representative papers, the names of three references, and a cover letter to Dr. Kaja Jasinska (

The position is for one year, with the option to renew for 1-2 years, given satisfactory performance and available funding.

Contact Information

Lab Website:

Contact Name: Kaja Jasinska

Contact Email:


Brain Research Foundation Scientific Innovations Award

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is pleased to announce this limited submission funding opportunity/award. Limited submission programs allow only a select number of applicants from each institution. In order to determine which PIs will be selected as the official applicants from UConn/UConn Health, an OVPR internal competition may be necessary (full process is described at our website).

All PIs who wish to be considered for this opportunity must submit a notification of intent to submit form by the due date listed below. PIs must be selected and approved by the OVPR to be eligible to submit to this sponsor.

Program Information/RFP

  • Eligibility: Full Time Associate or Full Professor at UConn/UConn health, working in studies of brain function in health and disease. Current NIH or other peer-reviewed funding preferred; evidence of such funding in the past three years is essential. Must be a new research project not funded by other sources. Cannot be used as bridge funding.
  • Keywords: Normal human brain development; specifically identified disease states; molecular neuroscience; clinical neuroscience; studies of neural, sensory, motor, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning in health and disease.
  • Award Details: $150K (Direct Costs) for two year grant period.
  • Number of UConn Applicants: 1 from Storrs/Regional Campuses, 1 from UConn Health
  • Internal Notification of Intent Deadline: Friday, 4/20/2018 by 9AM
  • Internal Pre-proposal (if necessary) Deadline: Friday, 5/4/2018 by 12 Noon
  • Sponsor LOI Deadline: 6/22/2018 by 4PM CST
  • Additional information: For more information, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research at

Tomorrow: False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies

Psychological Sciences Colloquium

Title: False Confessions: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies
Speaker: Saul Kassin, Department of Psychology, John Jay College and Department of Psychology, Williams College
Time: 3:30pm, Friday, April 13, 2018
Location: BOUS 160, Storrs, University of Connecticut


Citing real cases, past and present, as well as empirical research, this presentation will address the questions of why innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit, why judges and juries unflinchingly believe these false confessions, and how the system can be reformed to prevent the wrongful convictions that result.


Saul Kassin is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Massachusetts Professor Emeritus at Williams College. In the 1980’s, he pioneered the scientific study of false confessions, distinguishing three types of false confessions and creating the first research paradigms to induce false confessions in the laboratory. He has since examined why innocent people are targeted, the interrogation tactics that lead them to confess, the phenomenology of innocence, and the impact these confessions have on judges, juries, forensic examiners, and others. Kassin is an author of numerous books and articles and is senior author of the official White Paper on false confessions. His work is cited all over the world—including by the U.S. Supreme Court. He has received a number of awards—including a 2017 APA Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research on Public Policy. Kassin has consulted on a number of high profile cases, has served as an analyst on all major news networks, and appears in Ken Burns’ 2012 film, “The Central Park Five.”

4.27 – Neural mechanisms for landmark-based navigation

The Cognitive Science Colloquium Series is proud to present Dr. Russell Epstein from the Psychology Department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Epstein will provide a talk entitled “Anchoring the cognitive map: Neural mechanisms for landmark-based navigation”.

This event will take place on Friday April 27th at 4pm in OAK 109.

We hope you can join us for this informative lecture.

PostDoc available: Center for Language Science at Penn State

The Center for Language Science (CLS) at The Pennsylvania State University invites applications for a postdoctoral position. The CLS is home to a cross-disciplinary research program that includes the NSF training program, ‘Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE): Translating cognitive and brain science in the laboratory and field to language learning environments’ that was awarded to The Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Riverside.

The program provides training in translational research on language learning and bilingualism that includes an international perspective and that exploits opportunities for collaborative research conducted with one of our international partner sites in the UK (Edinburgh), Spain (Granada), Poland (Kraków), The Netherlands (Nijmegen and Groningen), Germany (Braunschweig), Colombia (Medellín), Brazil (Campinas), Mexico (Mexico City), and China (Hong Kong and Beijing) and in conjunction with our domestic partner sites at Gallaudet University, Haskins Laboratories, the University of South Carolina, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Puerto Rico.

This research focuses primarily on the themes of language learning across the lifespan, the role of instructional approaches for successful language learning, and the role of diverse social environments for language learning.

We welcome applications from candidates with preparation in any of the disciplines that contribute to our program and with experience in translational research (e.g., outreach activities in schools and other learning contexts where the research conducted by PIRE faculty is relevant). The successful candidate will benefit from a highly interactive group of faculty whose interests include bilingual language processing, language acquisition in children and adults, language contact, and aging, among other topics. Applicants with interests in these topics and with aninterest in extending their expertise within experimental psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience are particularly welcome to apply. There is no expectation that applicants will have had prior experience in research on bilingualism but we expect candidates to make a commitment to gain expertise in research on bilingualism using research methods from among the techniques represented by our groups.

Questions about faculty research interests may be directed to relevant core training faculty: Psychology: Michele Diaz, Ping Li, Janet van Hell, and Dan Weiss; Spanish: Rena Torres Cacoullos, Matt Carlson, Giuli Dussias, John Lipski, and Karen Miller; Communication Sciences and Disorders: Carol Miller and Chaleece Sandberg; German: Carrie Jackson, Mike Putnam, Richard Page, and Katharina Schuhmann; French: Lisa Reed.

Administrative questions can be directed to the Chair of the search committee,

  • The appointment will be for one year, with a start date of August 1, 2018.
  • Salary will follow NSF/NIH guidelines.
  • The PIRE funding requires that we restrict the search to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only.
  • Applicants should upload a CV, several reprints or preprints, and a statement of research interests. This statement should indicate two or more core faculty members as likely primary and secondary mentors, and should describe the candidate’s goals for research and translational training during a postdoctoral position, including previous experience and directions in which the candidate would like to develop his/her expertise in the language science of bilingualism.
  • Additionally, applicants should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent separately to Maryam Sinawa at
  • Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
  • Candidates must have completed their Ph.D. by the time of appointment.

Apply online

Living Lab at the CT Science Center: Info Sessions

PostDoc Chris Heffner and UConn KIDS Coordinator Lauren Powers will be hosting information sessions about the Living Lab at the CT Science Center:

Tuesday 4/17 at 3:00pm in Oak Hall room 201
Thursday 4/19 at 12:00pm in Bousfield room A105

Come learn about the Living Lab , which is a resource available to all faculty and graduate researchers at the University Of Connecticut for purposes of data collection. If you are unable to attend one of the sessions but would like more information, please contact Lauren Powers.

Lauren Powers
Child Research Recruitment Coordinator
UConn KIDS (Kids in Developmental Science)
Proudly sponsored by The CT Institute for the Brain and
Cognitive Sciences, UConn’s VP of Research and the
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences