Cognitive Science Department
9500 Gilman Dr. # 0515
La Jolla, CA 92093-0515
I am an Assistant Project Scientist in the Kutas Cognitive Electrophysiology Lab in the Cognitive Science Department at UCSD and currently an American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellow. I received an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1997 and a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from UCSD in December 2003. My dissertation was titled Event-related Brain Potentials in the Processing of Japanese Wh-Questions. Subsequently, I was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign from 2004 to 2006, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon from 2007 to 2008, and a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer in the Linguistics Department at UCSD from 2006 to 2012. I am originally from Tokyo, Japan.
My research interests focus on the manner in which the brain represents and processes language, with a primary focus on syntactic processing. In my graduate and postdoctoral work, I principally used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and behavioral measures (reading times, acceptability ratings, and sentence completion tasks) to investigate sentence comprehension by Japanese and English speakers, focusing on similarities and differences in the processing of syntactic dependencies (e.g., wh-questions and relative clauses) across languages. I have also conducted several other syntax- and processing-based studies designed to compare different languages and/or different constructions using speech perception, corpus analysis, and passage completion methodologies, the latest of which compared the interpretation of Japanese and English pronouns.
Most recently, I have shifted my research focus and have begun to utilize ERPs as well as behavioral and neuropsychological measures to study language processing in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD), comparing them to age-matched elderly controls and young participants. While the motor consequences of PD have been well-documented, relatively little research has been done on the general cognitive abilities in PD patients, with language processing as a particular area that has received very little attention. Thus, my current work aims to fill a sizable gap in the literature while contributing to a better understanding of how PD affects the brain and shedding light on the neurobiology of language processing in both healthy and patient populations.
The courses I have taught include Language & Cognition, Introduction to Linguistic Analysis, Seminar Neurolinguistics, Empirical Methods in Linguistics, and First/Second/Third Year Japanese.