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Teresa Schubert, PhD

I am a post-doctoral fellow in the Caramazza Lab in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. I study how children and adults learn, represent, and process letters and digits, a uniquely human ability.

 

Literate adults recognize letters and digits rapidly and effortlessly. But they are arbitrary symbols given meaning only in human culture. How do the mind and brain learn and process these symbols with such ease? Are there differences between letter and digit processing? What happens when acquisition is atypical (in developmental dyslexia), the mature system is affected by brain damage (in acquired dyslexia), or interacts with other perceptual systems (in grapheme-color synesthesia)?

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After you've recognized an 'A', reading systems need additional information about what you're seeing. For example, is 'A' uppercase or lowercase? Where is the 'A' in 'CAT'? Information about letter case, whether the letter is a consonant or a vowel, and a letter's position within a word  are vital for accurate reading. How else do you know that 'Pat' is the name of your friend, 'pat' is what you do to the dog's fur, and 'apt' as a good way of saying something, when they all contain the letters P, A, and T?


Background

I have a PhD in Cognitive Science from Johns Hopkins University, which I received in 2015, working with Mike McCloskey and Brenda Rapp.

Between 2015 and 2018 I was a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, in the Cognitive Science Department at Macquarie University. There I collaborated with Lyndsey Nickels, Saskia Kohnen, Sachiko Kinoshita, among others.