Suzy trained as a Linguist at the Australian National University, with a secondary specialization in Asian Studies (B.A. hons. Linguistics / B.Asian Studies - Japanese Specialist). Her time at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, raised new questions about how the mind handles language, and the adaptability of the language learning brain. These questions took her into the field of Psycholinguistics. She began Doctoral research on the development of infant lexico-semantic systems, and developed a method of lexical priming for infants. She received her DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford in 2009, working with Professor Kim Plunkett in the Oxford University BabyLab, She continued post-doctoral research in the Oxford Centre for Developmental Science, along with a Career Development Fellowship from St Hugh's College, University of Oxford, during which time, she began using neuroscientific methods in her research. Suzy joined NTU in 2013 as a Nanyang Assistant Professor, where she established the BLIP Lab for investigations of Brain, Language and Intersensory Perception.
Broad research areas include psycholinguistics and cognitive approaches to language acquisition, and language use across development, including…
- Language as a sensory phenomenon:
- The role of linguistic stimuli in cross-modal processing
- Interactions between linguistic audition and visual, haptic, or somatosensory processes
- The impact of perceptual adaptation/neural commitment during language learning on the broader perceptual system
- Whether the language we speak changes our sensory experience of the world
- How inter-sensory correspondences interact with the process of language learning
- Lexical access and its neural correlates in early language development
- Semantic and phonological matching methods as a lens on lexical organization
- Interactions between language processing and writing systems
- Bilingualism in acquisition, maintenance and loss
- How language policy and language identity influence learning outcomes
Research Interest in the Neuroscience of Learning and Education
My main interest in the Neuroscience of Learning and Education relates to the neural processes involved in language acquisition and interactions between language and sensory processes during the learning process. This link between learning and language is bidirectional – The language we learn may influence our sensory systems, but conversely, our sensory systems may influence which kinds of information we find easiest to learn. Unpacking the neural processes which underpin learning and sensory interactivity, will provide a new lense on this functional interactivity. At a higher level, understanding these processes may provide important insights for parental advice, as well as policy and planning for early childhood educators and for the education sector at large. These matters are increasingly important in regions making a shift to information economies, where educational attainment and language skills are of high importance – as the foundations for success may be laid down in some of our earliest experiences of language.