Students, staff, faculty, alumni, and any members of the public are all invited to the 2017-2018 series of Faculty Pub Night at the William H. Hannon Library. Eight LMU professors (four per semester) are selected annually to discuss their latest publication or project in a comfortable setting and format that welcomes diverse perspectives for an inclusive conversation aimed to educate the entire community.
The first Faculty Pub Night of the 2017-2018 season features Kayoko Okada, Assistant Professor of Psychology at LMU’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. Okada will discuss her recent project, an fMRI Study of American Sign Language.
About the Author’s Work
Okada’s research investigates the neural organization of language using functional neuroimaging (FMRI). Her previous studies demonstrate that perception (input) and production (output) systems in hearing adults overlap in a specific region of the brain — an auditory area of the brain where Temporal and Parietal regions come together (Area SPT). Unlike hearing people, native deaf signers who use American Sign Language (ASL) receive language through the visual domain and they use manual/motor system for language output. In other words, input and output systems for language are different between hearing and ASL populations. How then, do input and output systems overlap in ASL subjects? How different, or alike, is the neural organization for language between these two populations? Furthermore, is the neural representation for manual gestures used linguistically (ASL signs) different than manual gestures used non-linguistically? In collaboration with colleagues at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UC Irvine, she addressed these questions in FMRI experiments. They found that 1) the neural organization of language is similar in the two populations; 2) input and output systems overlap in a region near Spt; and 3) ASL signs and non-lingusitic gesturesrecruit common brain regions.
About the Author
Kayoko Okada is a cognitive neuroscientist in the Department of Psychology in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. She received her M.A. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in Psychology from UC Irvine. She was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Cognitive Sciences at UC Irvine, where she conducted neuroimaging (fMRI) experiments to explore the neural bases of language and memory processing. She has published in the domain of speech perception, speech production, sign language, and audiovisual speech. Her current projects are aimed at mapping out perception and production systems in deaf signers of American Sign Language (ASL). She is also interested in understanding how the brain changes as people learn a new language, and what factors influence language learning. She continues her neuroimaging work in collaboration with colleagues from Irvine.
About Faculty Pub Night
All Faculty Pub Nights are free and open to the public. Pub refreshments and snacks will be served courtesy of the William H. Hannon Library. For more information or ADA accommodations, please contact Ray Andrade, Programming Librarian, at (310) 258-4648 or firstname.lastname@example.org.