Dr. Karen Emmorey is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at San Diego State University and the Director of the Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Emmorey’s research focuses on what sign languages can reveal about the nature of human language, cognition, and the brain. Her research interests also include bimodal bilingualism and the neurocognitive underpinnings of reading skill in profoundly deaf adults.
Recent neuroimaging and neurophysiological evidence has revealed how the reading system successfully adapts when phonological codes are relatively coarse-grained due to reduced or distorted auditory input. New evidence suggests that the optimal end-state for the reading system may differ for deaf and hearing adults (matched on reading ability) and indicates that certain neural patterns that are maladaptive for hearing readers may be beneficial for deaf readers. Overall, the results suggest that the reading circuit may become differentially tuned in deaf versus hearing readers.