Disordered communication can come about as a consequence of hearing loss, as a result of developmental disorders such as autism, dyslexia, or developmental language disorder (DLD), or as a function of acquired disorders such as aphasia or traumatic brain injury (TBI). In order to make progress in assessment and treatment of communication disorders, the next generation of communication scientists needs to not only understand the underlying neural bases of these disorders, but also how to bring research from the laboratory to the clinic. The current program, Training in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Communication, will recruit a total of ten predoctoral trainees and five postdoctoral trainees, each serving a two-year traineeship, and equip them with specific skills and competencies that are needed for progress in understanding these disorders. Trainees from Psychology and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences will receive targeted instruction in cognitive neuroscience, with a special emphasis on neuroimaging methods, and will learn to apply those skills in trainee- led, mentored research projects. Further, training will emphasize the application of basic research, and trainees will interact not only with scientists who are experts in communication disorders, but also community stakeholders, including those that experience conditions such as aphasia, dyslexia, and autism. Other value- added activities will include a professional development seminar, January-term ?crash-courses? emphasizing specialized skills, and external workshops to support advanced methods training. Our mentor team, drawn from Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, and three different degree programs in Psychology (Clinical, Developmental, Perception-Action-Cognition), has substantial expertise in a variety of imaging methods (e.g. fMRI, fNIRS, TMS/tDCS, EEG/ERP) and has conducted impactful research on range of communication disorders (e.g. aphasia, hearing loss, dyslexia, developmental language disorder, autism). The team has a strong track record of impactful research on typical and atypical communication, and of mentoring productive scientist trainees at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. This training program will produce a cohort of scholars who are poised to make significant progress in the study of communication. !

Public Health Relevance

Communication disorders affect millions of individuals, with a financial cost of over $500 billion and an even greater societal burden in terms of disability and quality of life. The development of assessment and treatment strategies requires that the next generation of researchers understand the mechanisms underlying these communication disorders, but progress has been hampered by a shortage of clinically knowledgeable communication scientists with the methodological skills required to study these underlying mechanisms. The current training plan seeks to prepare predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees studying the cognitive neuroscience of communication by instilling them with the necessary methodological expertise and tools to conduct and disseminate impactful research on communication disorders while making meaningful connections between trainees and the clinical populations they study.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDC1)
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Rivera-Rentas, Alberto L
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University of Connecticut
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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