Karsten Steinhauer

Canada Research Chair in Neurocognition of Language

Tier 2 - 2003-09-01
Renewed: 2008-10-01
McGill University


Coming to Canada from

Georgetown University, USA

Research involves

Two related programs of research: one on prosody and the other on language acquisition.

Research relevance

The research will shed light on several fields, including neuroscience, second language acquisition, and psycholinguistics and linguistic theory.

Language and the Brain

"Our generation of scientists has come to believe that the biology of the mind will be as scientifically important to this century as the biology of the gene has been to the 20th Century."
Eric P. Kandel - Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2000

The exploration of the neurobiological basis of language learning and processing is one of the most important enterprises within the interdisciplinary field of cognitive neuroscience. Communication via language is central to all aspects of society and the functioning of individuals in society. Language disorders have potentially devastating consequences for individuals and their social surroundings.

As the Canada Research Chair in Neurocognition of Language, Dr. Karsten Steinhauer is working to establish a neurologically plausible model of language processing and language representation in the brain. He is working with two related innovative programs: one which focuses on processing the intonation and rhythm in speech, and the other which concentrates on language acquisition, using an artificial language learning paradigm. Through the introduction of experimental approaches related to the complexity of speech signals, Dr. Steinhauer's work will have repercussions on future research in a variety of fields of cognitive neuroscience.

Communication through language is crucial to all human endeavours. As a specialist in languages and in neurosciences, Dr. Steinhauer will lead cutting-edge research in improving the quality of communication is an important addition to McGill's Centre for Medicine, Language and the Brain. His work is expected to have an impact on Canadian society through future practical applications in the health-care and education systems throughout the country.