Development of language and cognition in typical and atypical populations
Dr. Yuchun Chen’s research group focuses on the cognitive and language functions of typically developing children and those with speech, language, and communication difficulties to develop theories, assessments, and intervention programs. The methods employed comprise psycholinguistic investigation, behavioral assessment and experiments, and event-related potentials(ERPs). Her main research projects include investigation on word-learning difficulties in children with developmental language disorder (DLD), the relationship between brain signatures measured in early childhood and later language development, and the behavioral and neural underpinning of pragmatic and language comprehension deficits in and adolescents children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder(ADHD).
The goal of Dr. Chen’s research work is ultimately translational, that is, to inform and improve educational practice. On the basis of vocabulary learning theory and previous studies addressing phonological deficits in DLD, she is developing an oral vocabulary intervention for preschoolers and school-aged children with DLD. The design of the intervention includes two components: small group direct vocabulary teaching and an individualized speech processing training program. The intervention plan is now in the randomized controlled trial stage to validate the treatment effect.
To establish dialogue between researchers in cognitive neuroscience and educationalists, Dr. Chen initiated a teacher training program on brain knowledge and teaching to guide preservice teachers toward understanding brain knowledge and designing brain-related lesson plans for elementary and junior high school students.