N-CoDe Lab

Neuroscience of Communication Development Lab


There are various themes and projects the lab is focusing on at present. If you’re interested in joining the lab, you can hear lab director Dr. Saloni Krishnan talk about some of her work in the video below, and you can read more about each theme below.

Motivation and Reward for Word Learning

We are presently starting to explore the role of intrinsic factors such as reward, motivation, and curiosity during language learning. One of our projects, investigating the role of reward systems in adolescent word learning, is a collaboration with Dr. Pablo Ripoll├ęs, NYU. We have also received a grant from the Experimental Psychology Society to pursue this work.

Another project, focusing on motivation for reading, has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Jessie Ricketts and Dr. Josh Balsters at Royal Holloway, as well as with external partners the Reading Agency. We are delighted that the ESRC has funded this work via a PhD studentship, and Amrita Bains will be leading this project.

The BOLD study  


The Oxford Brain Organisation in Language Development or BOLD study was set up to investigate the neural basis of developmental language disorder. The study is based at the University of Oxford, headed by Professors Kate Watkins and Dorothy Bishop, and is funded by the MRC. Saloni was the lead postdoctoral researcher on the BOLD study.

One of the key aims of BOLD is to investigate whether children with DLD have abnormal or dysfunctional corticostriatal learning systems. We have completed data collection, testing over 160 10- to 15-year-olds, and are currently analysing data to address this question.

How does musical expertise shape the brain?

In collaboration with Professor Sophie Scott at UCL, we studied how motor experience can influence neural activity for perception. In 2015, we collected data from 20 beatboxers, 20 guitarists and 20 non-musicians. This work was funded by the Wellcome Trust. We have published a key dataset from this study (Krishnan et al., 2018, Cerebral Cortex), but are currently analysing data about how experience with objects influences sound perception. News coverage of our previously published work can be seen here: Cognitive Neuroscience Society, BBC Radio 3, Daily Mail, Medium