Relationships Between Language & Cognition

3d block shapes and faces
Signers exhibit enhanced
mental imagery and
face processing abilities

The distinct biological basis of sign language results in a unique interaction between vision and language and between action systems and language production. This project investigates the possible effects of experience with a visual-spatial language and the effects of auditory deprivation from birth on non-language visual perception and on spatial cognition. Specifically, we are addressing the following questions using behavioral methods and neuroimaging:

  • How does knowing a visual-spatial language affect visual-spatial cognition?
  • Do visual perspective taking abilities differ between deaf signers and hearing speakers?
  • Why does short term memory span differ between speech and sign?
  • Are theories of action perception and production relevant to sign language?


This research is supported by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R01 DC101977) and by the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (R01 HD13249).

Recent Publications

older publications>>


Recent Presentations