Professor, Speech Language
Director, Laboratory for Language & Cognitive Neuroscience
Executive Committee, Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience
Phone: (619) 594-8080
Office: SLHS 226
Download CV (pdf)
- Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 1987
Dr. Karen Emmorey’s research focuses on what sign languages can reveal about the nature of human language, cognition, and the brain. She studies the processes involved in how deaf people produce and comprehend sign language and how these processes are represented in the brain. She also investigates how experience with a signed language impacts nonlinguistic visual-spatial cognition, such as face processing, memory, and mental imagery. Her research interests include how language modality impacts spatial language (talking about space), the nature of bimodal bilingualism (ASL-English bilinguals), and the relationship between fingerspelling and reading. Her investigations of the neural correlates of language and nonlinguistic cognitive functions draw on data from neuroimaging (fMRI and PET), and this work also focuses on macro neuroanatomical changes than can occur as a result of deafness or sign language experience.
Dr. Emmorey received her Ph.D. in Linguistics in 1987 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and she was a Senior Staff scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies from 1988-2005. While at the Salk Institute, Dr. Emmorey was the Associate Director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Emmorey is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, and she has been on the Editorial Board of Sign Language Studies, Sign Language & Linguistics, and the Journal of Memory and Language. Dr. Emmorey has given the Nijmegen Lectures (2001), the Blackwell Lecctures (2009), and is a frequent keynote speaker (including the AAAS Annual meeting in 2010). Dr. Emmorey is the author of 4 books and more than 100 journal articles and chapters, and she currently holds several research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
- Emmorey, K., and Petrich, J. (in press) Processing orthographic structure: Associations between print and fingerspelling. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.
- Emmorey, K., McCullough, S., Mehta, S., and Grabowski, T. (2011) Sign language and pantomime production differentially engage frontal and parietal cortices. Language and Cognitive Processes. 26(7): 878-901.
- Emmorey, K., Bosworth, R., and Kraljic, T. (2009) Visual feedback and self-monitoring of sign language. Journal of Memory and Language. 61: 398-411.
- Emmorey, K., Borinstein, H.B., Thompson, R., and Gollan, T.H. (2008) Bimodal bilingualism. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 11(1): 43-61.
- Emmorey, K., Mehta, S., and Grabowski, T. (2007) The neural correlates of sign and word production. NeuroImage. 36: 202-208.
- Emmorey, K., Grabowski, T.J., McCullough, S., Ponto, L., Hichwa, R., and Damasio, H. (2005) The neural correlates of spatial language in English and American Sign Language: A PET study with hearing bilinguals. NeuroImage. 24: 932-840.
- Emmorey, K., and Wilson, M. (2005) The puzzle of working memory for sign language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 8: 521-523.
- McCullough, S., Emmorey, K., and Sereno, M. (2005) Neural organization for recognition of grammatical and emotional facial expressions in deaf ASL signers and hearing nonsigners. Cognitive Brain Research. 22: 193-203.
- Thompson, R., Emmorey, K., and Gollan, T. (2005) Tip-of-the-fingers experiences by ASL signers: Insights into the organization of a sign-based lexicon. Psychological Science. 16: 856-860.
- Emmorey, K. Language, cognition, and the brain: Insights from sign language research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, 2002.