Alice H. D. Chan, Principal Investigator 

          Dr Chan joined Linguistics and Multilingual Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2010. Dr Chan received her PhD in Linguistics Department from the University of Hong Kong in 2006. She worked at the State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hong Kong as a postdoctoral fellow before she joined the Communication Neural Systems Research Group in Dept of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University as a research associate in 2008. Dr Chan has published research articles in PNAS, NeuroImage, Neuropsychologia, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience among others.

          Her research work mainly utilizes neuroimaging (fMRI) and behavioral measures to investigate how cultural experiences such as language and socialization may shape our brains and affect the way we see and hear the world. Her studies demonstrated that auditory perception pattern is different between members from the East Asian and Western cultures, which is in connection with previous findings on visual perception. She is interested in looking at the underlying cognitive and neuroanatomical mechanisms as well as genetic bases of these culturally sensitive perceptual patterns and behaviors. Her current work also focused on studying the neurophysiological representations of the Whorfian hypothesis.

Yvonne Lai, Postdoctoral Fellow 

        The relationship between cognitive decline in ageing and changes in associated brain areas is attracting research interest. My research interests include understanding age-related cognitive decline and scaffolding mechanisms in ageing. My PhD project at Newcastle University investigated cognitive scaffolding with a battery of neuropsychological tests and fMRI in healthy older adults. My work at NTU will continue with this research line to observe possible scaffolding mechanisms in bilingual/multilingual users in old age.

Jia Hoong Ong (Joey), Postdoctoral Fellow


      Language and music are two human universals that share many commonalities. My PhD research at The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University, examined whether the building blocks of language (e.g., phonemes, lexical tones) and of music (e.g., musical pitch) can be acquired using a common learning mechanism, that is, distributional learning. Distributional learning refers to a specific type of statistical learning in which learners acquire knowledge by tracking the frequency of occurrence of perceptual items in the environment. My research shows that language and music can indeed be acquired using such learning mechanism, suggesting that humans can harness the power of a domain-general ability (statistical learning) to acquire cultural-specific knowledge. My current work investigates whether statistical learning can still be used by older adults to acquire (linguistic and/or musical) knowledge and whether specific cognitive functions (e.g., working memory, executive function, etc.) may predict better statistical learning of such knowledge.

Galston Wong, Project Officer 

        Galston graduated from NTU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Psychology with a second major in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies. His areas of interest are in clinical and developmental psychology. He is also interested in research in the field of neuroscience and how it can translate into further improvements in clinical practices, treatments and cognitive rehabilitation.

Kastoori D/O Kalaivanan, Ph.D Candidate 

        Kastoori graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies from NTU in 2013, and is a current Ph.D candidate. Her areas of interest lie within the fields of neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics. She is very interested in looking at the relationship between multilingualism and working memory performance and also how speaking more languages may contribute to active aging. Her other areas of interest include understanding more about child language acquisition and language disorders.

Lau Fun, Ph.D Candidate 

        Lau Fun graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies with a second major in Psychology, and is a current Ph.D candidate. She is interested in linguistic relativity and cognitive effects related to bilingualism - for example, whether bilinguals would think differently of the same object when thinking in different languages. She is also interested in the field of psycholinguistics and also language and communication disorders.


Tan Shen Hui, M.A. Candidate

        Tan Shen Hui graduated in 2015 with a B.A. (Hons.) in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies and is a current M.A. candidate. She is interested in the extent of transfer benefits of musical training in linguistic processing, namely how the effects of musical training are mediated by factors such as type of musicianship, music attrition, and experience with tonal language learning. She is also interested in issues related to brain literacy and music pedagogy.

Toh Hwee Bin Wendy, M.A. Candidate

        Wendy has been working on research projects focusing on Chinese language education, language and literacy assessment, and curriculum evaluation, from conceptualisation to publication, for the past twelve years. Her research interests include early childhood bilingualism, early language acquisition/learning and early literacy.

Samantha Lim, Lab Affiliate

        Samantha Lim received her B.A (honors) in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies in 2015.  She takes interest in examining language learning through a psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic angle. She is particularly interested in the crossroads between language processing and phonology, how previous music experience may (or may not) correspond to improving the way our brains process, learn and categorize complex sounds of new languages.