In LENS, Dr. Langdon and his team primarily use functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging and are working to answer questions about the neural mechanisms that subserve the learning and processing of language and reading. We seek to broadly address: How are the different components of the language neural network working in concert to give rise to the ability to learn and process language and reading? When a first language is acquired later (e.g. as a toddler), what components will show stability and what components will show plasticity? When a language is acquired via aural, visual, or tactile channels, we have observed both variance and invariance of the language neural network. What principles of neuroplasticity can be derived from this unique interface between experience and genetics?
Specifically Dr. Langdon and the LENS team are investigating the developmental trajectories of these mechanisms in response to two key variables: modality and timing of language exposure. In order to generate novel discoveries about the human capacity for language and reading, our studies look across the developmental lifespan, ranging across infants, children, and adults. Our participants are deaf, hearing, or deafblind and use visual, aural, or tactile languages. Dr. Langdon's and his team are seeking to bring into relief the functions and interactions between these different mechanisms that subserve language and reading.