The Brain & Cognition Laboratory is located in rooms 216 and 218 of Social Science Research Laboratories (formerly known as the Chemistry Research Building: CRB) on the UCSD campus.  Our focus is on the cognitive and neural processes underlying language and reasoning. Most of our experiments involve measuring your reaction times and your event-related brain potentials (ERPs) while you're reading or looking at pictures.

  • People
  • Projects
  • Participate
  • People

    • Seana Coulson, Ph.D. Principal Investigator
    • David Brang is a graduate student in the Psychology Department working with Professor Ramachandran. His research concerns the interface between perceptual and conceptual processing with a focus on synesthesia and other neurological conditions that affect one's conscious experience of the world.
    • Jennifer Collins is a graduate student in the Cognitive Science Department. Her research concerns the cognitive and neural underpinnings of motion verb comprehension, and the tenability of theories of meaning grounded in sensorimotor experience.
    • Tristan Davenport is a graduate student in the Cognitive Science Department interested in the neural representation of language. His current research project concerns the contribution of the left versus right cerebral hemisphere to the comprehension of language of varying degrees of semantic  complexity.
    • Marguerite McQuire is a graduate student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. Her research concerns the impact of individual differences in verbal and visuo-spatial working memory on text comprehension. 
    • Ying Wu, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral fellow using electrophysiological measures to study how people integrate the information in gestures with the information in speech in multi-modal discourse comprehension.




    • Electrophysiological and Reaction Time Studies of Language and Cognition
    • Multi-modal Discourse Comprehension 
    • Lesion-Symptom Mapping in Pragmatic Language Comprehension  




    • How to sign up for experiments Phone the Brain & Cognition Lab (858-822-4037) to see if you qualify for any of our on-going experiments! If you get the machine, leave your name, number, and the best time to reach you. You can also email one of the researchers in the lab (ywu "at" and ask for more information.
    • What's in it for me? Besides getting to see your own brainwaves, you can receive either cash compensation ($8/hour for time in the lab), or credit towards an experiment participation requirement for cognitive science (and sometimes psychology) courses.
    • What if I have a last minute cancellation? Please call the lab (858-822-4037) and tell us (or the voice mail) when your appointment was and that you can't make it. If you want to reschedule for another time, leave your number and we will contact you. You don't need a reason to cancel, and you shouldn't feel obliged to reschedule. Please do let us know that you can't make it, though!
    • When do you run experiments? We try to find a convenient time for both the experimenter and the participant. Our typical running times are Monday - Friday at 10am or 1pm, but other times are possible. Also, most experimenters are more than happy to come in on the weekend (free parking on campus!).  
    • What to expect When you first come in, you have to sign a couple of forms. One is a consent form which states that you know what to expect, and after reading this, you do. Sometimes we ask you to fill out a handedness questionaire that asks which hand you use to perform certain tasks, like writing and throwing. Sometimes we give you simple tests of your cognitive abilities (vocabulary tests, working memory span tests, etc.). Putting on the electrode cap takes about half an hour. Usually there are some practice trials so that you can get a feel for the task used in the experiment. The length of the actual experiment ranges from 40 to 90 minutes. Sometimes, we split experiments across multiple days (but we always let you know ahead of time!). There are regularly scheduled breaks. You may ask for a break whenever you want. You can also end the experiment whenever you like, if you change your mind about participating. 
    • The Cap  In order for the computer to record your brainwaves, you wear an electrode cap. Each electrode is at the top of a little plastic well, so it doesn't contact your scalp. Some saline gel is squirted into a well to make a conductive bridge between scalp and electrode. The gel looks like vaseline, but it isn't sticky and it washes out with water. We also put electrodes behind your ears (to serve as reference electrodes for the ones in the cap), and around your eyes to monitor blinking and eye movements.
    • Blinking The eye electrodes are needed to record eye movements and blinks. The electricity generated by these movements can be measured over most of the scalp. This means that whenever you move your eyes or blink, the data that are being collected at that time must be thrown out. This is the reason that the stimuli are presented one at a time in the center of the screen -- to eliminate eye movements. Most of the time you'll be free to blink.



    Copyright ©2002 Seana Coulson