Meagan T. Farrell, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Department of Neurology
Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
630 West 168th Street, P & S Box 16, New York, NY 10032
Language Processes in Healthy Aging and Dementia. Despite the fact that the average speaker has at least 50,000 words stored in memory, word selection generally occurs flawlessly and effortlessly to enable fluent speech. However, word-finding difficulty (the inability to access the correct word or name during conversation) is a ubiquitous complaint among the elderly. My research is focused on modeling the mechanisms that allow for successful word production, and understanding why these processes are vulnerable aging and neurodegenerative disease. Currently, I am investigating the neural and cognitive correlates of disordered language in Alzheimer's disease and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD), with the aims of improving early differential diagnosis and enhancing knowledge about the neurocognitive foundations of language. I am especially interested in understanding how degraded language processing relates to other cognitive, behavioral, and health outcomes, such as social cognition and quality of life.
Subjective Communication Ability. A related line of research is focused on measuring dementia patients' awareness of their own language abilities, and examining how subjective language ability influences engagement in socially-oriented leisure activities. The ultimate goals of these studies are to understand how perception of one's own communicative competence relates to lifestyle factors that might influence disease severity and progression.
1. Farell, M.T. & Abrams, L. (2013). What’s in a name? Predictors of proper name retrieval deficits in young and older adults. (under review)
2.Farrell, M. T., Abrams, L., & White, K. K. (2012). The role of priming in lexical access and speech production. In N. Hsu and Z. Schütt (Eds.), Psychology of Priming (pp. 205-244). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
3. Farrell, M. T., & Abrams, L. (2011). Tip-of-the-tongue states reveal age differences in the syllable frequency effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 37, 277-285.
4. Abrams, L., & Farrell, M. T. (2011). Language processing in normal aging. In J. Guendouzi, F. Loncke, & M. J. Williams (Eds.), The handbook of psycholinguistic and cognitive processes: Perspectives in communication disorders (pp. 49-73). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
5. Abrams, L., Farrell, M. T., & Margolin, S. J. (2010). Older adults' detection of misspellings during reading. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 65B, 680-683.