5th Annual Eleanor M. Saffran
Cognitive Neuroscience Conference
“New Directions in Sentence Processing
And Rehabilitation of Sentence Processing Disorders”
Sponsored by the Eleanor M. Saffran Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
College of Health Professions and Social Work
Philadelphia Neuropsychology Society
Date: Friday, September 24th, 2010
Time: Registration begins at 8:15am
Conference from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Reception from 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Location: Howard Gittis Student Center- South, Room 200
13th Street between Cecil B. Moore & Montgomery Ave.
5th Annual Eleanor M. Saffran Cognitive Neuroscience Conference
New Directions in Sentence Processing
And Rehabilitation of Sentence Processing Disorders
The Temple University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and the Eleanor M.
Saffran Center for Cognitive Neuroscience are pleased to present the 5th Annual Eleanor M. Saffran
Cognitive Neuroscience Conference. Dr. Eleanor M. Saffran was one of the pioneers of Cognitive
Neuropsychology with a career spanning some 35 years. Two remarkable features of Eleanor’s career
were the diversity of topics she researched and her extraordinary ability to focus on the most intriguing
aspects of a problem. Eleanor’s research led to important developments in our understanding and
treatment of agrammatism, deep dyslexia, word deafness, short-term memory deficits, word production,
sentence processing, semantics, and visual cognition.
This year’s conference focuses on new directions in research in sentence processing and rehabilitation of
sentence processing disorders. Sentence processing is studied from many perspectives, and the diversity
of approaches is evident in the presentations at this year’s conference. Topics will include sentence
processing development, the role of linguistics and cognitive processes on sentence processing, and
breakdown of sentence processing after brain injury. A variety of research methods will be represented
including developmental and rehabilitation studies, computational modeling, online methods such as eye-
tracking and event-related pupillometry, and neuroimaging. The speakers in this year’s program have
contributed much to our understanding of theoretical and clinical aspects of sentence processing and
continue to lead the way in defining new directions of sentence processing research.
The format of the conference has been changed this year to allow more time for open discussion. Talks
will be 25 minutes followed by 10 minutes of questions for the speaker. Additionally, there will be 20
minutes at the conclusion of the morning and afternoon sessions for general discussion of papers in that
This program has been approved by ASHA for .5 CEU and APA for 5.0 credits.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Philadelphia Neuropsychology Society
The Philadelphia Neuropsychology Society (PNS) is approved by the
American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education
for psychologists. PNS maintains responsibility for this program
and its content
9:00-9:35 Verb learning and the early development of sentence comprehension
Cynthia Fisher, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology Department, University of Illinois at
1. Participants will be able to describe the evidence that toddlers represent their
experience with language in abstract terms which permit transfer of syntactic
knowledge to lexical knowledge.
2. Participants will be able to summarize what toddlers learn and remember
about new verbs based on hearing sentences.
3. Participants will be able to describe how toddlers benefit from syntactic
bootstrapping before they have learned much about the syntax of their native
9:35-10:10 Structural priming and acquisition in the Chang model
Gary Dell, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology Department, University of Illinois at Urbana
1. Participants will be able to define structural priming and describe its importance.
2. Participants will gain understanding of implicit learning theory of structural priming.
3. Participants will be able to describe how the Chang et al model implements the implicit
learning theory of priming.
10:10-10:30 Morning Break
10:30-11:05 Measuring on-line sentence processing with event-related pupillometry
Lew Shapiro, Ph.D., Professor, School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences,
San Diego State University
1. Participants will be able to identify the strengths and limitations of various on-line methods
for investigating language processing.
2. Participants will be able to demonstrate understanding of a new method – pupillometry.
3. Participants will be able to demonstrate understanding of various linguistic manipulations
that are relevant to accounts of normal language processing.
11:05-11:40 Executive functions and sentence Processing
Malathi Thothathiri, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Fellow, Moss Rehabilitation Research
Institute & University of Pennsylvania
1. Participants will be able to describe the relation between executive function and
2. Participants will be able to list alternative explanations for some grammatical deficits
in stroke patients.
3. Participants will be able to describe preliminary training protocols that target
executive functions in order to improve language function.
11:40-12:00 Discussion: Myrna Schwartz, Ph.D., Associate Director Moss Rehabilitation Research
Institute, Research Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Jefferson Medical College
of Thomas Jefferson
12:00-1:00 Lunch (optional box lunch)
1:00-1:35 Sentence processing in agrammatic aphasia
Cynthia Thompson, Ph.D., Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor, Communication Sciences and
Disorders; Neurology; and the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center,
1. Participants will be able to describe sentence processing breakdown and recovery patterns
using both online and offline measures in agrammatic aphasia.
2. Participants will be able to summarize the complexity account of treatment efficacy and how
it applies to treatment of aphasic sentence processing deficits.
3. Participants will be able to describe neural networks associated with normal or recovered
1:35-2:10 A processing prosthesis for spoken language: It works! Now what?
Marcia Linebarger, Ph.D., Director, Psycholinguistic Technologies, Inc
1. Participants will be able to explain why computerized processing support may be
expected to facilitate the productions of spoken language.
2. Participants will be able to list possible mechanisms of action by which a ‘processing
prosthesis’ can bring about improvements in spontaneous speech.
3. Participants will be able to describe the challenges of exploiting a processing prosthesis
for functional communication.
2:10-2:30 Afternoon Break
2:30-3:05 Verb Network Strengthening Treatment (Vnest) for the rehabilitation of lexical retrieval in
sentences: Theoretical underpinnings and treatment outcomes
Lisa Edmonds, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Florida
1. Participants will be able to describe the theoretical foundation of the Verb Network
2. Participants will be able to describe the basic treatment protocol of the Verb Network
3. Participants will be able to describe types of participants used in the Verb Network
Strengthening Treatment during treatment research.
3:05-3:40 Syntax, semantics, and aphasia: Things we can learn from particles, prepositions and objects
Gary Milsark, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders,
1. Participants will be able to describe the distinction between semantic and syntactic argument
2. Participants will be able to describe the use of syntactic priming in the treatment of aphasia.
3. Participants will be able to describe the difference in processing complexity between
prepositions and particles.
3:40-4:00 Discussion: Nadine Martin, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and
Disorders, Temple University
Gary Dell, Ph.D Gary Dell obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1980. After teaching at
Dartmouth College and the University of Rochester, he moved to his current position at the University of
Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he is Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Cognitive Science
Group of the Beckman Institute. His recent research concerns language production, aphasia, and
Lisa Edmonds, Ph.D Lisa A. Edmonds is an Assistant Professor in Communicative Disorders at the
University of Florida. Her research interests include the study of lexical retrieval across a variety of
language contexts and modalities in monolingual English speakers and bilingual Spanish-English
speakers and in persons with aphasia/bilingual aphasia. In particular, she is interested in understanding the
semantic factors related to verb and noun retrieval to further our understanding on semantic theories of
language and to develop theoretically motivated treatments, particularly Verb Network Strengthening
Treatment (VNeST), to aid lexical retrieval in sentences and discourse. With respect to bilingual aphasia
rehabilitation, she is interested in gathering and interpreting normative data of lexical retrieval and
discourse in U.S. Spanish-English bilinguals and identifying the factors related to crosslinguistic
generalization (improvement in the untrained language) as a result of semantic treatment (VNeST).
Cynthia Fisher, Ph.D., Cynthia Fisher received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989.
She is a Professor in the Psychology Department, and a part-time faculty member in the Beckman
Institute Cognitive Science Group, at the University of Illinois. Dr. Fisher's research explores how
typically developing children learn the grammar and vocabulary of their native languages. Her research
interests include phonological and syntactic aspects of language learning. One of her main interests is in
the early use of syntactic knowledge to constrain sentence interpretation and verb learning, in a process
known as syntactic bootstrapping. Recent work in her lab includes both experiments with infants and
children, and computational modeling of the development of sentence comprehension.
Marcia Linebarger, Ph.D., Marcia Linebarger, PhD, received her BA in Classical Languages and
Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley and her PhD in Linguistics from MIT. After
postdoctoral training in the Psychology Department at the University of Pennsylvania, she served as
Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Hampshire College and then joined a research group at Unisys
Corporation developing software to process spoken language. To focus on the application of this
technology to aphasia, she founded a small business, Psycholinguistic Technologies, Inc., in 2001 and
serves as its director. Her research interests (supported by NIH, NSF, and DARPA over the years) have
included the grammar and pragmatics of negative polarity, syntactic processing in aphasia, computer-
based processing of natural language, and the development of assistive technology for aphasia and other
Gary Milsark, Ph.D., Gary Milsark went to Indiana University as an undergraduate student in 1964 to
study the cello with Janos Starker. This was a major mistake, but in some respects a fortunate one, since
Indiana was at that time one of the very few universities in the United States that offered an
undergraduate degree in linguistics, a field that captured his interest on first exposure. Indiana also gave
him the opportunity to study Finnish and Estonian, languages that are very rarely taught in the U.S. even
today, and to spend a year as an exchange student in the Seminar für vergleichende und allgemeine
Sprachwissenschaft at Universität Hamburg. After two years of a somewhat unsettled life that included a
year studying psycholinguistics in the Communication Sciences Laboratory at the University of Florida,
he entered the doctoral program in linguistics at M.I.T. There he was strongly influenced by Noam
Chomsky and the other members of a uniquely talented and helpful faculty, and by a group of highly
intelligent and argumentative fellow-students. He began teaching at Temple in 1974 and has done so ever
Lew Sharpiro, Ph.D., Lew Shapiro is a professor at San Diego State University, with his main
appointment in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences as well as in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral
Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. He received his doctoral training in Linguistics and
Cognitive Science at Brandeis University and his postdoctoral training at the Aphasia Research Center of
the Boston University School of Medicine. He is a psycholinguist and cognitive neuroscientist whose
research focuses on the moment-by-moment unfolding of language processing. He has made significant
contributions to the literatures in normal sentence processing and in brain and language, including the
study of the linguistic and processing disorders underlying aphasia, as well as in the rehabilitation
literature. His work has been funded through the NIH since 1988. He is currently the principal
investigator of a long-standing grant from the NIDCD, “Sentence Processing in Normal and Aphasic
Populations” and is principal investigator (with Dr. Tracy Love) on another grant, “The temporal
characteristics of brain-language relationships”. Dr. Shapiro is a Fellow of the American Speech-
Cynthia Thompson, Ph.D., Dr. Cynthia Thompson is Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor of
Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University. She also holds appointments in
Linguistics, Neurology, and the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Director of the
Aphasia and Neurolinguistics Research Laboratory, her work examines language processing and
production in both healthy volunteers and individuals with stroke-induced or primary progressive aphasia
(PPA). Of particular interest is charting language breakdown and recovery patterns based on what is
known about normal language representation and processing. These patterns provide blueprints for
clinical protocols and address the utility of this translational approach for studying language disorders.
Studies also examine the processing mechanisms that support recovery by tracking eye movements during
real-time sentence processing and production, and the neural correlates of recovery using
electroencephalograpy (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Results of these
studies are useful for building theories of both normal and disordered language processing. Her research
has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIDCD) for over 18 years and has resulted in over
Malathi Thotharthiri, Ph.D., Malathi Thotharthiri received her PhD in Psychology in 2008 from
Harvard University. In her graduate work, she investigated online sentence processing in children and
young adults using the methodologies of syntactic priming and eye tracking. This research found that both
children and adults use abstract, non-lexically-specific representations during sentence processing. Since
graduation, Malathi has been a post-doc with Myrna Schwartz at Moss and Sharon Thompson-Schill at
Penn. Her most recent work has focused on the role of the left frontal cortex and associated executive
functions in sentence processing in healthy adults as well as aphasic patients.
Directions to Temple University’s
Main Campus & Parking*
To Temple University’s Main Campus
From the Pennsylvania Turnpike:
Take Exit 326 (Philadelphia/Valley Forge). Follow I-76 East (Schuylkill Expy.) approx. 18 miles to Exit
344 (Central Philadelphia/I-676) Note: Exit is on left. Follow I-676 approximately 1 mile to Central
Phila./Broad Street exit. Take Broad Street exit (stay to left). In one block go left onto Broad Street.
Follow Broad Street to Oxford Street (approx. 2 miles). Turn left onto Oxford Street. Stay on Oxford for 1
½ blocks and turn right onto Sydenham Street. The Liacouras Center Visitors Parking Garage* entrance is
about 1 ½ blocks down on your right.
From the Northeast Extension Pennsylvania Turnpike:
Take Exit 20 to I-476 South to I-76. Exit at I-76 East (approx. 5 miles). Take I-76 East approx. 15 miles to
Exit 344 (Central Philadelphia/I-676) Note: Exit is on left. Follow directions from I-676 above.
From I-95 North:
Take Exit 22 (Central Philadelphia/I-676). Follow Central Philadelphia signs to Broad Street exit. At next
intersection (Vine Street) turn left. In one block, turn left onto Broad Street. Follow Broad Street to
Oxford Street (approx. 2 miles). Turn left onto Oxford Street. Stay on Oxford for 1 ½ blocks and turn
right onto Sydenham Street. The Liacouras Center Visitors Parking Garage* entrance is about 1 ½ blocks
down on your right.
From I-95 South:
Take Exit 22 (Central Philadelphia/I-676). Note: Exit from left lane. I-676 West to Broad Street exit. See
above directions from Broad Street exit.
From the New Jersey Turnpike:
Take Exit 4 to route 73 North. Approx. 1 mile to Route 38 West. Follow for 5 1⁄2 miles to
Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Take I-676 West to Broad Street exit. Follow above directions from Broad
Public Transportation to Temple’s Main Campus
SEPTA Regional High Speed Lines:
All lines stop at Temple University Station, 10th and Berks Streets.
Broad Street Subway: All local trains stop at Cecil B. Moore Station (Broad Street and
Cecil B. Moore Avenue).
“C” Bus: Stops on Broad Street at Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Montgomery Avenue, Berks
Mall, and Norris Street.
“3” Bus: Stops on Cecil B. Moore Avenue from 11th Street to Broad Street.
“23” Bus: Stops on 12th Street (southbound) and 11th Street (northbound) at Berks Mall, Montgomery
Avenue, and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
*Visitor Parking - $12
DR. ELEANOR M. SAFFRAN COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE
In 2005, the Dr. Eleanor M. Saffran Cognitive Neuroscience Conference Fund was established through generous
gifts from Dr. Saffran’s family, friends and colleagues. Over $7,000 was raised in that initial effort. Additionally, in
2007, her daughter, Dr. Jenny Saffran, and her husband, Dr. Seth Pollak, made a generous contribution to ensure the
fund was permanently endowed, which will provide support to help sustain the conference in perpetuity.
We would like to invite you to be part of this effort by making a contribution of any amount to be added to the
endowment. As the endowment grows, so does the funding available to sustain our conference year to year.
You may make your gift online by visiting www.myowlspace.com and clicking on “Make a Gift” (please be sure to
indicate that you wish for your gift to be applied toward the Eleanor M. Saffran Endowment), or by contacting Sean
Marsh, Assistant Director of Development for the College of Health Professions, at the phone number or address
below. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
Donors of $1,000 or more are afforded membership in the Russell H. Conwell Society at Temple University, a
philanthropic leadership group comprised of alumni, friends, parents and institutional partners. Conwell members
are recognized annually for their support in the Temple University Honor Roll, the CHP Annual Report, and are also
invited to a special Conwell Society event each fall. Please keep in mind that you may make your gift as a pledge to
be paid over the course of a year on a monthly, quarterly or bi-annual basis. Gifts or pledges over $1,000 may be
paid over five years.
Thank you in advance for your support of the Dr. Eleanor M. Saffran Cognitive Neuroscience Conference
Endowment. Should you have any questions, or would like to make a gift, please contact:
Sean Marsh, Associate Director of Development, College of Health Professions
Temple University, 3307 N. Broad Street
Jones Hall 315 Philadelphia, PA 19140
Tel: 215.707.9780 Fax: 215.707.9828
Registration may be completed via fax (215-204-6334), email (email@example.com),
or by mailing the registration form to the address below.
This conference, which includes morning refreshments, is presented free of charge. Lunch is available for
a fee (see below). If you would like to order lunch, you must do so by September 6th
. You may include
your lunch selection on this registration form only if you register by September 6th
. You also may let us
know your lunch selection by email or phone. All lunch orders must be received by September 6th
Registration forms are due no later than September 17th
. We will also accept payments for lunch and
CEUs during morning registration. Please remember payments for registration and lunch must be made
(Please print clearly & complete all information)
Phone (W)____________________________ (H)_____________________________
Title or Position_________________________________________________________
CEU Fee (please √ your choice)
If you would like to receive CEU credits for ASHA and /or APA please note:
ASHA CEU fee: $30
APA CEU fee: $50
[ ] ASHA - Make check payable to TU Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
[ ] APA - Make check payable to Philadelphia Neuropsychology Society
[ ] Check Enclosed
Checks will be accepted during the morning registration.
Lunch Selection (please √ your choice)
[ ] Turkey and Cheese Wrap [ ] Grilled Chicken Wrap [ ] Grilled Vegetable Wrap
[ ] Lunch Fee Enclosed $12.00
Please make check payable to Temple University.
We must have your lunch selection by September 6th, 2010
Payment can be made with initial registration form if submitted by September 6th
or during morning registration at
Please remit registration form to:
Nadine Martin, Ph.D.
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Temple University – Weiss Hall, Room 110
1701 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6085
Registration must be received by September 17, 2010
Need additional information or have questions? Call Nadine Martin at 215-204-1870