Heather Dial is an assistant professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in psychology from Rice University, her B.S. in psychology from the University of Houston and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on neurological processing of language and the relationship between neurological diseases and language disorders.
Dr. Dial’s research interests relate to the cognitive and neural processes supporting speech perception and language comprehension. Her work investigates cognitive and neural changes in speech and language processing in the context of stroke-induced and primary progressive aphasia, rehabilitation of speech and language processing in these populations, and the cognitive and neural processes supporting treatment-induced gains. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach to bridge the gap between basic science and applied, clinical research and uses a wide variety of methods, including behavioral, eye-tracking, structural neuroimaging (voxel-based lesion symptom mapping, voxel-based morphometry), electroencephalography (EEG), natural language processing, and machine learning. In ongoing work, Dr. Dial seeks to examine the relation between performance on traditional, constrained speech and language tasks (e.g., minimal pairs discrimination, single picture-word matching) and more naturalistic, ecologically valid tasks (e.g., listening to an audiobook). The findings of this work will have implications for diagnosis and clinical characterization of individuals with aphasia.
- Cognitive and neural processes supporting speech perception and language comprehension