Laura Gwilliams

Doctoral Student

My research explores how the human brain encodes lexical and sub-lexical representations, and how these representations are accessed during language comprehension. Thus far I have primarily addressed the role of morphological structure in the processing of spoken words: How does the system recognise morphemes from a speech stream? Do we form predictions based on probability distributions over morphemes or whole words? (Figure 1; Gwilliams & Marantz, 2015 [2]). More recently, my research has turned to the question of phonological ambiguity and its resolution. Presently I am investigating how an acoustically continuous speech signal is categorised into phonemes, and how lexical context is integrated to both resolve ambiguity and improve accuracy of acoustic discretisation. In order to characterise the temporal-spatial dynamics of these processes, I have predominantly utilised magnetoencephalography (MEG). Accordingly, some of my work has also addressed methodological concerns surrounding the use of MEG - specifically which source estimation constraints provide the best experimental sensitivity when localising neural responses (Gwilliams, Lewis & Marantz, In Press [1]).

Sample Publications

  1. Gwilliams, L., Lewis, G.& Marantz, A. (2016). Functional characterisation of letter-specific responses in time, space and current polarity using magnetoencephalography. NeuroImage. [pdf]
  2. Gwilliams, L.& Marantz, A. (2015). Non-linear processing of a linear speech stream: The influence of morphological structure on the recognition of spoken Arabic words. Brain and Language. 147, 1-13 [pdf]
  3. Gwilliams, L., Monahan, P.J., &Samuel, A.G. (2015). Sensitivity to morphological composition in spoken word recognition: Evidence from grammatical and lexical decision tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Language, Memory and Cognition. 41(6), 1663. [pdf]