Language and Memory

Photo of photos representing language and memory research at the university of Leeds

Language and memory are the foundations of social interaction. The Language and Memory lab (LaMlab) is an active group of staff members and postgraduate students working on all aspects of memory (verbal and nonverbal) and language research, in healthy individuals (across the lifespan) and special populations. Our research addresses several key questions:

  • How different aspects of language and memory function
  • How they develop and sometimes decline throughout life in different groups
  • Why and when some people experience problems

Our findings help to improve language and memory in vulnerable groups or challenging situations.

Ongoing Projects

Born in Bradford New Wave

In this large-scale, 5 year project we are following-up families taking part in the Born in Bradford (BiB) study, which was set up in 2007 to track the lives of 13,500 babies and their families. We are collecting information from at least 9,000 BiB children aged 7 – 10 years and their parents. In particular, we would like to understand the factors that affect children’s well-being, their cognition and academic achievement and their physical growth.

The Dynamic Assessment of Reading Test (DART) project

We know that 25% of children leave primary school unable to read well and we need to identify these children early. Children starting primary school come from a range of home backgrounds but current screening tests focus on existing knowledge, which is influenced by experience. We propose an alternative; dynamic tasks measure the ability to learn and so could be more accurate screeners – differentiating children with underlying learning disorders from children who have not had sufficient experience to learn.We are undertaking the first large scale study of dynamic assessment of three components of reading (decoding, orthographic learning and vocabulary) in a UK context.

Assessing functional ability in older adults

The WHO recently proposed a focus-shift from disease and symptoms to functional ability in older adults (WHO, 2015). Functional ability — to be and to do what the individual values — is determined by physical and mental ability, as well as the environmental and situational context. However, little is known about what affects functional ability in older adults. This project works directly toward meeting this gap in our understanding, through the development of smartphone-based prototypes designed to assess cognitive and functional ability in older adults.

Facilities and Resources

The School of Psychology has a wide range of specialised facilities and resources available for research projects. 

LaMlab members share a range of facilities:

  • Lab based EEG systems
  • Portable polysomnography to measure sleep and its impact on language and memory
  • A range of psychometric tests to measure language and memory

Within the School of Psychology we have access to:

  • Eyelink 1000Hz eye-tracker
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS)

Members

Dr Richard Allen
Amy Atkinson
Anita Balcer 
Dr Charity Brown
Dr Sara Caviola
Dr Chris Dixon
Dr Tiina Eilola
Basma Elkhafif
Lydia Gunning
Anna Hamilton
Cristina Harney 
Dr Jelena Havelka
Dr Ekaterini Klepousniotou
Dr Denis McKeown
Dr Hannah Nash
Emily Oxley
Joyti Panesar
Rose Wastling
Xiaotong Yin