I am co-organizing a special session “Prosody in Social Interaction” with Dr. Marc D. Pell on Speech Prosody 2018.
I have been working as a postdoctoral fellow and then a full-time research associate in the Neuropragmatics and Emotion lab in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the faculty of Medicine, McGill University. I got my BS in Psychology from the School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, East China Normal University (Shanghai) and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University (Beijing). I also worked as a visiting scholar in the Hiroshima University (Hiroshima) and a speech scientist and a senior researcher in the natural language understanding team in Nuance Communication (Montreal).
Supported by three distinguished postdoctoral training scholarships, I have developed a research project examining how inter-cultural communication shapes the way that persuasive-ness, trustworthiness and confidence are encoded in and decoded from the human voice in Pell Lab (led by Dr. Marc Pell, McGill University), and a research project examining how social status and mentalizing process affect communication of (over-, dis-)respectful-ness, (im)politeness and (in)directness in Center for Brain and Cognitive Sciences (led by Dr. Xiaolin Zhou, Peking University). I employ multiple methodologies including EEG/ERPs, fMRI, eye-tracking, perceptual experiments, acoustic analysis, and computational modeling which involve natural language understanding (NLU) and speech recognition (SR).
My primary research agenda lies in in pragmatic and language communication in social contexts, specifically how the brain decode eventual and social knowledge from linguistic constructions, referential expressions and para-linguistic/non-verbal cues in adults, and how the pragmatic ability varies across individuals. My research outcome has highlighted the impact of biological sex, trait empathy and trait anxiety on one’s communicative ability. I have also been working on projects looking at the neural correlates of the impact sensory limitation and hormonal modulation on pragmatic and vocal processing in clinical populations.
I started with my PhD project on neurobiology of language cognition, looking at predictive mechanisms, working memory constraints, semantic integration and syntactic parsing at different levels of syntactic hierarchy in Mandarin Chinese using ERPs, eye-tracking and fMRI. With a strong focus of resolving theoretically-driven questions (as my phd thesis on “neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the relation between recursivity and semantic composition”), my research has a unique impact on the use, understanding, generation, and development of human language by both human and machine. My interest gradually merges into applying the methodologies in cognitive (neuro-)science into the field of human communication.
My undergraduate honor’s thesis is on “Developing a new methods for diagnosing children with mild mental retardation” and I have worked with children with autism and cerebral palsy in Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children, Shanghai Children’s Welfare Institute.