London Public Library Series 2011
Mind Your Words: The Science of Human Language

Presented by UWO’s Department of Psychology
Psychology: The Science of Being Human

When: Thursdays, April 7-28, 7 pm
Where: Central Library, Stevenson & Hunt Meeting Room A
Cost: Free, no registration required.
Two hours validated parking in City Plaza during library hours

Click here for a poster

April 7: The art and science of saying what you don't mean.
Presenter: Dr. Albert Katz

What we say often is not what we really mean. People commonly use metaphor ("my car’s a lemon"), sarcasm ("you're a great friend") and other turns of phrase. Dr. Katz will discuss why we do so, and how we discern what speakers intend to say from what they actually say.

April 14: What studying the brain tells us about speech and reading disorders in children
Presenters: Drs. Marc Joanisse and Lisa Archibald

About one child in ten develops a written or spoken language difficulty, including dyslexia and specific language impairment. Drs. Joanisse and Archibald will discuss how these disorders are diagnosed and treated and will present new research showing how affected children's brains differ from those of typically developing children.

April 21: Red tape holds up new bridge: What makes sentences easy or hard to understand?
Presenter: Dr. Ken McRae

Language is ambiguous. This sentence structure, "The horse raced past the barn fell." is identical to "The landmine buried in the sand exploded." However, the first sentence is almost impossible to understand whereas the second is easy. This talk will focus on aspects of language understanding that explain such differences.

April 28: Bilinguals: Two tongues, one mind.
Presenter: Dr. Debra Jared

Learning one language is hard enough. Yet many people learn two or more languages, often simultaneously. Dr. Jared will talk about how bilinguals manage two languages without getting them mixed up, why a second language is hard for adults to learn, and the benefits of bilingualism for general cognitive functioning.

About the Speakers

Dr. Debra Jared:

Dr Jared’s research examines how people who speak one language (monolinguals) and those who speak two (bilinguals) understand the written word.

Contact info:

Drs. Marc Joanisse and Lisa Archibald:

Dr. Joanisse and Dr. Archibald currently are studying the brain origins of language and reading difficulties in children, and also how these disorders overlap with other learning difficulties throughout childhood.

Contact info:
Dr. Marc Joanisse

Dr. Lisa Archibald

Dr. Albert Katz:

Dr. Katz is interested in how language and memory are used in everyday situations. Currently, he is examining differences in how men and women use and understand what is meant by the exact same words. In the larger sense, Dr. Katz would like to figure out what one has to build into a language-machine for it to be truly capable of handling the complexity of human language.

Contact info:

Dr. Ken McRae:

Dr. McRae studies how people are able to understand words rapidly and seemingly effortlessly, and how people are able to combine the words that they hear or read when understanding sentences.

Contact info: