To understand language, we need to link sensory signals that unfold rapidly in time with our stores of knowledge (linguistic and otherwise). Although much of this knowledge is likely to be shared by the users of any given language, each person’s specific knowledge will vary depending on their individual experiences, including educational history, reading and media experience, and many others. How do people use their existing knowledge to anticipate, make sense of, and (potentially) learn from language input?
Melissa Troyer’s research aims to uncover how the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying language comprehension are sensitive to and shaped by individual differences in such knowledge and experience. She is also interested in how such variation in knowledge/experience combines with aging to influence language comprehension into older adulthood. To ask these questions, she employs EEG, specifically event-related brain potentials (ERPs), as well as an array of behavioral methods. A key goal of this work is to better characterize the nature of variation in processes that underlie and accompany language comprehension and how this may change across the lifespan with healthy aging.
Dr. Troyer is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from the University of California San Diego in 2019. She also completed a Beckman postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a BrainsCAN postdoctoral fellowship at Western University.
Dr. Troyer will be accepting graduate students for admission in the 2024-2025 academic year.