Prof. Rachel Mayberry has been awarded a 5-year NIH continuation research grant on a project entitled “Age of acquisition effects on sign language development and brain processing.” The grant will secure funding for Mayberry Laboratory for Multimodal Language Development and is designed to investigate the nature and scope of the critical period for language. Here is a brief summary. A series of experiments investigate the hypothesis that development of the brain language system requires linguistic experience during early life in order to develop full functionality. The critical period for language is modeled using deafness and American Sign Language as the test case. This is possible because ASL is a natural language, and individuals born deaf often begin to learn it at a variety of ages after experiencing scant language in any form. The experiments investigate and link critical period effects on syntactic development, neurolinguistic processing, and brain structure.
Congratulations to Prof. Mayberry!