I am a psychologist whose main interests relate to the brain’s capacity to change and learn. I started my research career by investigating the extensive crossmodal neural changes that take place in blindness. I am now focusing on language functions which appear to be very dynamic from the fetal stage until adulthood. I also aim at understanding the neural basis of language-related deficits and investigating effective means to alleviate them.
Minna Lehtonen – PhD, Docent
My research deals with cognitive and neural basis of language processing and learning. One of the main topics in this work is bilingualism: how two or more languages are processed and represented in the brain and what kind of control processes are needed to manage them. Here at CBRU and at Åbo Akademi University we also study what kind of more general effects learning and using a second language may have on the person’s neurocognitive system. In addition, I investigate the role of morphological structure in the mental representation of words.
My research interests lie in the neural processing of word structures and linguistic complexities, or in our ability to combine smaller grammatical units into larger structures. Thus far I have mainly focused on investigating how the brain processes grammar and complex words, such as inflections and derivations (cat+s and cat+less, respectively) in adults and children, as well as second language learners. Currently I work as a postdoctoral researcher in Aarhus University, investigating the neural mechanisms of language learning.
Language is one of the core areas of human cognition. I study the brain mechanisms of speech perception and language learning, including the interaction between language skills and other domain-general cognitive abilities. I am interested in the development and experience-induced plasticity of neural representations for speech sounds and words from infancy to adulthood. In particular, I study the learning of foreign languages, which is due to my multidisciplinary background in linguistics, pedagogy (MA degree) and psychology (PhD degree).
As saving the world seemed too arduous a task, I set out to save all the babies instead. To that end, I completed two degrees, a MSc in engineering and a second MA and PhD in Psychology. My research focuses on the learning mechanisms in infants and children, and their deficits, with the hope of developing methods for early assessment and amelioration of abnormal developmental pathways. In addition, I have a strong interest in novel analysis methods and research methodology. When my research allows for it, I work as a clinical neuropsychologist.
My PhD research has focused on the development of auditory skills in the field of music, with the aim to find out how brain development, socialization to the surrounding culture and musical training shape the processing of music sounds. My main method has been EEG and the subject groups have ranged from newborn infants to adults. Currently I’m moving towards early auditory skills on language and how they are shaped by dyslexia, searching for very early interventions to support the auditory and linguistic development of at-risk infants.
Laura Hedlund – PhD student
The focus of my research is morphology, and the processes involved in second language acquisition. As a learner of Finnish, I am interested in finding out what areas of the Finnish language are difficult for late learners and children to acquire. I also seek to investigate how the age of acquisition affects the perception and production of a second language’s morphological structures.
For as long as I can remember I have been interested in language and communication. How did language evolve, what makes human language unique and why does it become so much harder to learn a new language as an adult? In my PhD project I am focusing mostly on this last question, as I study bilingualism and second-language learning in adults. With EEG, MEG and behavioural measures I am exploring various factors that play a role in this, and with my research outcomes I hope to aid the development of new second-language teaching methods.
My PhD research addresses neurocognitive mechanisms of word and grammar processing in monolingual and bilingual speakers. I use multi-modal neuroimaging methods, such as fMRI and DTI guided TMS, to explore e.g. whether the neural substrates supporting first and second language processing are the same or different in the bilingual brain and how the neural networks for native and non-native morphosyntactic processing are organized. My other scientific interests lie in biomedical engineering and biophysics and in exploring current analysis methods for effective connectivity.
The plasticity of brain functions fascinates me and I am interested in language learning. My PhD research focuses on the neural mechanisms of spoken foreign-language learning in children. I also want to understand the neural bases of foreign-language learning difficulties in dyslexia. Especially, I aim at finding ways to remediate these difficulties.
My research focuses on the activation and formation of memory traces for words in the brain. I am interested in how verbal memory and language networks are intertwined, how they develop and constitute in speech perception. Currently, I study adults and children with and without dyslexia. I use EEG (ERPs), behavioural and neuropsychological tests in my current research. I have also experience in ANS and MEG measurements. In the future I wish to expand my methodological expertise to TMS-EEG. Aside my PhD work, I have worked as a neuropsychologist with adult neurological patients (examinations and rehabilitation).
My PhD research focuses on the typical and atypical development of cortical speech sound representations, and the search for biomarkers which might help us predict children’s future reading outcomes before school age. Methods used in my current studies include EEG, MEG, neurocognitive tests and behavioural discrimination measures. I am also interested in methodological development, especially regarding quantification of individual ERP responses.
I have worked for over one decade in the field of cognitive neuroscience as a laboratory engineer. I am currently working on my PhD thesis on specific language impairment in children, but I am also interested in neurolinguistics more generally and in the development of research methods. I have a Master’s degrees in engineering (Bioelectronics and equipment technology) and psychology, and I am a licensed clinical psychologist.
The ability of the brain to adapt by altering anatomy and function fascinates me. In my PhD studies, I will investigate neuroplasticity of language, from early detection of dyslexia in newborn babies to comparing their brain responses to those of dyslexic adults. My previous project explored the neuroplasticity of music by analyzing synchronized brain responses during listening to music in musicians and non-musicians. My main method has been MEG so far and now I will add EEG to that. I studied ‘Brain and Mind’ for my Master’s degree (M.Sc. (Tech.)) in Aalto University.
I am an innovative laboratory engineer. I like people but devices and computer programs are my friends, too. Mobile measurement technology and its utilization in well-being applications has been my interest for many years.
Outi Reinvall – PhD student
My PhD studies focus on assessing neurocognitive functioning, psychiatric symptoms and behavioural characteristics in children with ASD. Neuropsychological subtests, interviews and questionnaires used in the current studies are also widely used in clinical work. Thus, the results of the present studies may help to target the assessment of children with ASD more specifically and therefore enhance selecting the accurate interventions and assist positive outcomes in these individuals
Before starting my scientific work, I was a speech therapist and a semi-professional musician. I also worked with children with hearing disabilities and led music groups for them. This sparked my interest in investigating whether and how playing and singing improves the perception of speech as well as linguistic skills of children with cochlear implants. I am still on this scientific journey, where I aim at understanding the behavioral and neural basis of the effective rehabilitation of speech and language skills of hearing-impaired children.
Emma Suppanen – PhD student
Both humans and technology interest me, and I got my M. Sc. (Tech) in medical technology engineering. In my PhD I examine predictive language coding in infants, and whether it is associated with their later communicative development, with EEG. I have previously studied inter-subject correlations of complex MEG-data. My other research interests include methodological development, learning and bio-feedback.
Sini Koskinen – PhD student
My research focuses on the longitudinal twin study with alcohol abuse and mood disorders. I am interested in the developmental view and genetic background. I am also interested in the clinical aspect and working as a psychologist doing neuropsychological rehabilitation.
Minna Huotilainen – PhD, Docent
My research includes studies on the learning and plasticity of the smallest of human brains: neonates, prematurely-born infants and even fetuses. I am interested in the auditory system and its capabilities in transforming what we hear into meaningful concepts: language and music. I also have a special interest in dyslexia and attention and learning disabilities in the working life. Brain research methods can help us understand and alleviate many problems.
Linda Lönnqvist – PhD student
I am a PhD student working in a project that investigates language processing and linguistic skills in young children with a familial risk for dyslexia. I will meet the participants when they are toddlers and study their language skills and processing both at the behavioral and neural (EEG) level. I also aim to study the development of language and its neural basis. Before joining this project I was working as a clinical speech and language therapist. I have a master’s degree in Logopedics.
Piia Turunen – PhD student
I’m a psychologist interested in learning and learning disabilities. I’ve worked as a school psychologist and children’s psychologist, where I’ve gathered hands-on experience with these phenomena. In my PhD research I investigate different aspects of reading and writing development. My work is mainly focused on neurocognitive skills instead of more direct brain measures.