Perfetti Lab Research Interests
The central research interest of the Perfetti Lab is in the cognitive science of language and reading processes, including lower and higher level processes and the nature of reading ability. Our 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."