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Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street
Miss ELISA MATTIAUDA profile picture
  • Student
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

In 2018, I completed a BSc in Psychology from the University of Essex with a dissertation looking at perception and acoustic correlates of constructive and destructive criticism as expressed through tone of voice (supervised by Prof Silke Paulmann).Subsequently, I graduated from University College London (UCL) with a MSc inLanguage Sciences specialising in Linguistics with Neuroscience. My dissertation examined the use of morphology in children with Down syndrome(supervised by Dr Alexandra Perovic). Over the following year, I worked as a Research Assistant at City, University of London completing the recruitment and data collection for a project on procedural memory and language skills in children and young people with intellectual disability (working with Prof LucyHenry and an international team of researchers). In September 2020, I began the current ongoing doctoral work under the supervision of Dr Alexandra Perovic (Psychology and Language Sciences, UCL) and Prof Angela Hassiotis (Psychiatry, UCL).

Research Summary

My current research looks at language abilities in adults and young people who have Down syndrome, in an attempt to establish a baseline understanding of language functioning reached in adulthood and track possible changes in communication skills that may be associated with age- and Alzheimer's disease-related cognitive decline. People who have Down syndrome typically present with global language delays, which disproportionally affect selected areas of communicative skills. Adults with Down syndrome have also been reported to be at high-risk for developing early onset Alzheimer's dementia, a condition for which early diagnosis is complicated by the presence of pre-existing lifelong cognitive impairments. Recent research has however indicated that language assessments may be beneficial to improving the diagnosis of AD-related decline in this population. As part of my research, I examine comprehension and production abilities at two levels: macrostructure, which is used especially in the context of narratives to assess aspects of story (re)telling such as story structure, structural complexity, and comprehension; and microstructure, which examines the morphosyntactic and lexical elements of language such as use of morphology, syntactic constructions and lexical diversity. The research design incorporates both standardised assessments of language ability and experimental tasks that assess production(e.g. narrative retell, sentence repetition) and comprehension (e.g. comprehension of passive and active constructions). In addition, we collect measures of memory, executive functioning, adaptive behaviour, communication, and mental health via informant questionnaires.

Teaching Summary

Since beginning my current doctoral research in 2020, I have contributed to teaching on several courses delivered within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL. Thecourses covered a range of contents and skill levels, ranging from leading tutorial activities on the study of language (PLIN0006: Introduction to Language), to linguistics and language acquisition material for postgraduate students of the MSc Speech and Language Sciences (SLAN0006), to short courses introducing statistical analysis in R (PLINSTAT). In the current academic year (2021/22), I have been significantly involved in delivering lectures and workshops on the SLAN0006 module for Speech and Language Sciences covering materials on the linguistics and language acquisition portions of the course.

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