My central research interest is in the cognitive science of language and reading processes, including lower and higher level processes and the nature of reading ability. My approach involves research in a cognitive (behavioral) lab, ERPs, and collaborative research in neuroimaging (fMRI), and, recently, MEG. The general goal is to achieve a richer view of language processes by the combination of methods. Current projects include the following:
- The identification of universal and writing-system specific components of reading. Comparisons of Chinese and English word identification processes are the heart of this empirical program, and recent papers develop a theoretical model of Chinese word identification. These studies include neuroimaging (fMRI) and ERP studies. Currently, more active work concerns learning across writing systems.
- The Lexical Quality Hypothesis. This work represents my long-standing interest in understanding the components of reading ability. Our experiments suggest the importance of lexical representations as a major source of individual differences in simple comprehension tasks, consistent with our earlier theories of individual differences in comprehension (Perfetti, 1985, 1992).
- Learning new words. Connected to the lexical quality work is research on learning the meanings (and forms) of new words. Both children and adults, and both behavioral and ERP studies.
- Text comprehension: Word-based and inference processes. ERPS provide word by word records of comprehension allowing tests of word-to-text integration processes and processes that the reader uses to fill the implicit information in a text.
- Learning a second language as an adult. Emphasis on reading in L2, but also learning the language itself. Studies of English learners of Chinese and learners of English as a second language. This work is carried out through the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center.
Chang, L. Y., Stafura, J. Z., Rickles, B., Chen, H. C., & Perfetti, C. A. (in press). Incremental learning of Chinese orthography: ERP indicators of animated and static stroke displays on character form and meaning acquisition. Journal of Neurolinguistics.
Bhide, A., Gadgil, S., Zelinsky, C., & Perfetti, C. (2014). Does reading in an alphasyllabary affect phonemic awareness? Inherent schwa effects in Marathi-English bilinguals. Writing Systems Research, 6(1), 73-93.
Chang, L. Y., Xu, Y., Perfetti, C. A., Zhang, J., & Chen, H. C. (2014). Supporting orthographic learning at the beginning stage of learning to read Chinese as a second language. International Journal of Disability Development and Education, 61(3), 288-305.
Harris, L. N., Perfetti, C. A., & Rickles, B. B. (2014). Error-related negativities during spelling judgments expose orthographic knowledge. Neuropsychologia, 54, 112-128. View
Moore, M. W. Durisko, C. Perfetti, C. A. & Fiez, J. A. (2014). Learning to read an alphabet of human faces produces left-lateralized training effects in the fusiform gyrus. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(4), 896-913.