Laura Batterink is joining the Department of Psychology as an Assistant Professor.
Batterink completed a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oregon, followed by a Postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University. Batterink’s research focuses on the neural basis of language processing and language acquisition, and implicit learning and implicit memory.
“I have been investigating how people pick up on patterns in language. One way that we are investigating this is by using EEG to measure people's brain responses to hidden patterns embedded in an artificial language,” said Batterink. “We can track changes in the participants' brain responses as they're exposed to the artificial language, and predict how well people are learning at an individual level, before we test them behaviourally.”
Batterink’s research has shown that this learning may occur without conscious effort. “We have found that people can pick up on complex novel patterns in language through passive exposure,” said Batterink.
“This process can occur remarkably rapidly, and it also can occur implicitly--without effort or conscious awareness.”
Batterink also researches the effects of sleep on memory consolidation.
“We know that sleep is critical for memory consolidation, as well as generalization and abstraction, so it is likely to play an especially important role in language,” said Batterink. “Different stages of sleep also have different effects on memory consolidation. For example, in a recent study, we have found that vocabulary learning benefits from an afternoon nap, but only when the nap contains REM sleep.”
Batterink’s research aligns with research conducted by the researchers in the Brain and Mind Institute.
“The Brain and Mind Institute is a fantastic environment for research in cognitive neuroscience. I'm very excited to join the awesome group of faculty and researchers in Psychology and BMI,” said Batterink. “I'm especially looking forward to developing new collaborations and research directions.”