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Language over the Lifespan Lab

The Language over the Lifespan lab takes an interdisciplinary approach to disorders of language use in adults. Most of our research focuses on the interactions between cognition, language use and movement. In general, we are interested in cognitive predictors of language performance, as well as how cognitive and language performance is affected by simultaneous motor tasks or by exercise interventions. We use a combination of methods from speech pathology, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology and movement science to investigate these issues.

Several of our current projects investigate the interactions between exercise, cognition and linguistic performance and language use in young adults and older adults with and without Parkinson’s disease and stroke. We have recently completed a pilot project examining the effects of aerobic exercise on cognition, language use, and mood in Parkinson’s disease, and are currently planning a larger follow-up study. We are also very involved in examining dual task effects, that is, the bidirectional interactions that occur when performing a cognitive or language task while also performing a motor task. In these studies we are particularly interested in the effects of task difficulty on dual task performance. One other project involves examining the added value of a intentional arm movement on aphasia therapy.

A second line of research involves cognitive predictors of spelling. This study is being carried out by Masters student Amy Conway with the collaboration of the Einstein School. Our hypothesis is that spelling is a complex task that taps not only phonological awareness and reading ability, but also executive function and working memory.

Other Current Collaborations

  • Aerobic Exercise Effect on Motor Function, Mood and Cognition in Parkinson Disease (With Dr. Chris J. Hass, UF Health and Human Performance, and Dr. Michael S. Okin, UF Neurology)
  • Dueling Dual Tasks (With Dr. C. Hass, UF Health and Human Performance, and Dr. David Clark, UF Institute on Aging)
  • Real World Assessment of Dual Task Performance After Stroke (with Dr. Prudence Plummer, UNC)
  • Effects of an Intentional Gesture on Generalization in Aphasia Treatment (with Dr. Bruce Crosson, Emory University)