Research carried out by the doctoral candidates contributes to our understanding of the neurocognitive mechanisms of language learning, language use and language re-learning in linguistically unimpaired as well as impaired populations. The young researchers enrolled in the program are acquainted with the newest technological tools, and are involved in the work carried out in several top-ranking European as well as non-European centers. Combined European and non-European expertise in the curriculum allows the young researchers to acquire interdisciplinary skills and to learn to work with new combinations of techniques. Interacting with key players in the field such as rehabilitation centers, neuroscience research laboratories, health services and special education institutions is a prerequisite for open-minded, independent research.
Content of IDEALAB
IDEALAB provides the technical and human infrastructure to study questions on brain and language relationships in an encompassing way. Areas of specialization include:
• Neuroimaging in children with normal and impaired language acquisition;
• Neuroimaging in adults with and without acquired language impairments;
• Psycho- and neurolinguistic studies of subjects with developmental and acquired impairments of spoken and written language (aphasia, dyslexia, dysgraphia) and
• Language therapy studies with neuroimaging before and after therapy as a measure of the influence of intervention on brain re-organisation.
Experimental methods and facilities
The partner institutions share well-recognized expertise in the field under study, language and the brain. Across the consortium, the institutions have both common and unique strengths in terms of methods, populations and topics
Throughout the program, the young researchers become familiar with a range of experimental techniques widely used — including:
- Reaction time,
- Evoked potentials (ERP) from electroencephalography,
- Eyetracking and
- fMRI methods
- Cross-modal lexical priming (CMLP) and access to a Dyslexia lab in Groningen,
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) methods in Trento,
- Near infrared spectroscopy imaging (NIRS) and a Babylab in Potsdam,
- specialised laboratories for experimental and instrumental phonetics for both adults and children in Newcastle,
- MEG suitable for use with children (ChMEG) and computational modelling (CM) in Macquarie.
IDEALAB provides training for young researchers by some of the best scientists and thus puts them in a position to become experts in the newest available models, methods and techniques. Course offerings do not only include those by higher-education academics but also by practitioners from associated members in the publishing industry.