Nathaniel Delaney-Busch, PhD

I am a cognitive neuroscientist with an broad focus on language, emotion, and schizophrenia, emphasizing novel data science and statistical applications.

Research Summary: the situational significance of language

Meaning doesn’t belong to a word. The meaning of an utterance, particularly personally or emotionally significant meaning, is derived from the interface between word semantics, local and global context, and personal experience. Using ERP, MRI, and behavioral methodologies, I have explored how each of these three (the particulars of the person, the place, and the thing) contribute to the process of comprehension. And in a series of clinical experiments, I have investigated how these processes can break down in cases of schizophrenia. More recently, we have developed novel approaches to studying how word processing changes and adapts in real time, as new information is obtained by the comprehender.

Processing of Words and Word Pairs

Projects investigating the processing of simple, isolated linguistic stimuli include:

  • The independent contributions of valence and arousal to single-word processing.
  • The relationship between semantic priming and affective priming.
  • Primed picture-naming in schizophrenia.
  • The trial-by-trial adaptation of the semantic priming effect within different local contexts.
  • Emotion processing in native and bilingual speakers.
  • Anchoring effects within experimental contexts: emotion processing to words with and without surrounding taboo fillers.
  • Prediction and adaptation during low-level language processing in cases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • A multimodal investigation of semantic priming adaptation in schizophrenia.
  • The influence of Emotion on the word frequency effect.
  • Individual differences in prediction and adaptation during language processing.

Processing of Complex Utterances

Projects investigating the processing of phrases, sentences, and discourses include:

  • Emotional discourse congruity.
  • Adaptation to speaker disfluencies.
  • Use of low- and high-level contextual cues to resolve discourse ambiguities in cases of schizophrenia.
  • A multimodal investigation of prediction, misprediction, and surprise at the level of discourse.

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