The Plante Lab

Research in the Plante lab is focused primarily on developmental language impairments in both children and adults.  Studies are designed to determine how people come to know what they know about the structure of language and the meaning of words, given that most people learn their first language without explicit instruction.  The laboratory uses a variety of research methods to accomplish this goal.

Neuroimaging methods

The lab uses structural and functional MRI to explore the neural basis of learning in the context of normal and impaired learning.   Current studies address the nature of statistical learning and whether adults with impaired language recruit similar neural resources compared with typical adults during learning.  In addition, the lab has developed software tools to address parcelation {spell check that word} of gray matter regions linked to white matter pathways, and interactive image and data displays.

Plante, E., Patterson D.K., Gómez, R., Almryde, K.R., White, M.G., & Asbjørnsen, A.E. (2015).  The nature of the language input affects brain activation during learning from a natural language.  Neurolinguistics. 36, 17-34.

Patterson, D., Van Petten, C., Beeson, P., Rapcsak, S., Plante, E. (2014). Bidirectional iterative parcellation of diffusion weighted imaging data: Separating cortical regions connected by the arcuate fasciculus and extreme capsule.  NeuroImage, 102, 704-716.  PMCID: PMC4253691

Patterson, D.K., Hicks, T.R., Duffilie, A., Grinstein, G., & Plante, E. (2015). Dynamic Data Visualization with Weave and Brain Choropleths.  PlosOne, 10, e0139453.

Behavioral methods

Experimental studies of learning in children and adults focus on what information typical and impaired learners use when confronted with novel language input.  These studies explore conditions that facilitate or inhibit language learning, with an eye towards factors that might be used clinically.

Torkildsen, J., Dailey, N., Aguilar, J.M., Gómez, R., & Plante, E.  (2013). Exemplar variability facilitates rapid learning of an otherwise unlearnable grammar by individuals with language impairment.  Journal of Speech, Language, & Hearing Research, 56, 618-629. PMID: 22988285

Treatment research

When deficient language skills are first noticed in young children, there is relatively little time available to close the gap before they are faced with the increased language demands of formal education as well as the potential for academic failure.  The lab is engaged in studies designed to improve learning in a therapy context for children with vocabulary and/or morphosyntactic deficits.

Plante, E., Oglivie, T., Vance, R., Aguilar, J.M., Dailey, N.S., Meyers, C., Lieser, A.M., Burton, R. (2014).  Variability in the language input to children enhances learning in a treatment context.  American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 23, 1-16.   PMID: 24700145

Assessment research

Accurate assessment is critical to identifying and subsequently obtaining services for children and adults with language impairments.  The lab has published a series of papers on diagnostic practices and has developed new assessment batteries for children and adults.

Spaulding, T.J., Plante, E., & Farinella, K.A. (2006). Eligibility criteria for language impairment: Is the low end of normal always appropriate? Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in Schools, 37, 61-72. (PMID: 16615750)

Plante, E. & Vance, R. (1994).  Selection of preschool language tests:  A data-based approach. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 25, 15-24.