Ann Senghas is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Barnard College, where she has also chaired the department and been a Tow Associate Professor. Her work examines the ways in which language users create ordered systems from disordered input and how this ability develops over the lifespan. Her research focuses on the emergence of grammatical structure in a new sign language created by deaf children and adolescents in Nicaragua over the past four decades. Through this work, she strives to capture the nature of language at its origin, and the interplay between human cognition, human social experience, and language creation.
Senghas earned her PhD in brain and cognitive sciences in 1995 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Rochester’s Sign Language Research Center and a research staff member at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands. Senghas’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health since 2002. She was a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science participant and is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.
Amber Martin is an assistant professor at Hunter College in the Department of Pschology and also a postdoctoral fellow at Barnard College. A Deaf Minnesota native, she received her B.S. in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2000, and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development in 2009. Amber's research interests center on how age of language acquisition affects the relations between language and cognition.
Broadly, Martin's work aims to uncover the multiple ways that language acquisition and cognition can influence each other. She studies these relationships by using several distinct but complementary approaches. In one approach, she studies how our cognition depends on language acquisition by comparing what happens in cognition when language is acquired normally to what happens when children are deprived of language in their early years. In another approach, she examines the spatial cognitive skills, like mental rotation, of signers who have acquired a highly visual-spatial language to those of non-signers who have not. These studies can help us understand both typical development and development in deaf children who experience language delays.
After completing a B.S. in English Education at New York University, Ezra Plançon received his M.A. in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University in 2015 and then joined the LADR Lab as lab manager in the fall of 2015. His background with multimodal teaching approaches has framed his graduate research on literacy, language acquisiton, and language socialization among the deaf community. He has presented work with the Center for Research on Language at University of California, San Diego, and his research has been funded by Gallaudet University and Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), a National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center.
Plançon is interested in the ways modern technology affects our language acquisition, socialization, and literacy among both deaf and hearing communities; his graduate work focused specifically on emoji use in text messages among deaf youth. It is possible that the multimodal nature of these dynamic language environments may have affordances for learners across a spectrum of languages and abilities that have never been seen before. Through further study we may harness those affordances to revolutionize our educational practices around literacy and special education.
Caroline Zola (Barnard College ‘17), a Linguistics major and Anthropology minor, is primarily interested in sociolinguistic issues, language change, sign languages and Deaf culture. She speaks French (she spent a semester in the south of France) and studies American Sign Language and Swahili. Caroline has worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the LADR lab since 2013. She was a Summer Research Institute scholar during the summer of 2015, when she worked on the Iconicity and Spatial Language and Cognition projects.
Charlotte Quincoses is Dominican and Cuban and lives in Hollywood, Florida. She is currently a sophomore at Barnard College studying psychology. Her interests lie in how mental illness affects teen development, a passion she discovered in middle school when she discovered that many of her peers were suffering from depression and eating disorders. She also wishes to combine the knowledge that she gains from her studies to help Latin American populations who may not have access to mental healthcare, such as therapy, due to language barriers and financial issues. At Barnard, Charlotte is part of SGA, ballroom dance, and Barnard babysitting.