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Advancing Understanding of How Readers Process Language

by Cathy Lockman / Jan 18, 2019

Researchers Kiel Christianson and Peiyun Zhou

If you’ve ever watched a movie and later decided to read the book it’s based on, you may have experienced auditory perceptual simulation (APS)—that is, “hearing” the voices of the actors in your head while reading. How much is this mental simulation (of voices like listening to actual voices and what does that tell us about language processing?

Research conducted at the Beckman Institute and recently published by Cognition provides answers to those questions. And those answers advance our understanding of how readers process language, which can lead to new methods for assisting struggling readers and second language learners.

Co-authors of the study, “Is Imagining a Voice Like Listening to It? Evidence from ERPs,” are Kiel Christianson, a professor of Educational Psychology and a member of Beckman’s Illinois Language and Literacy Initiative; Susan Garnsey, an associate professor emeritus of Psychology; and Peiyun Zhou, who earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Illinois and is a former Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow.

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