Bandura Graduate Research Award Winners (2004-2005)
The Psi Chi Research Grants Committee, the Psi Chi National Council, and the American Psychological Society are pleased to announce the winner of the 2004-05 Psi Chi/APS Albert Bandura Graduate Research. Irene P. Kan of the University of Pennsylvania submitted a proposal entitled, "Fractionating the Left Frontal Response to Tools: Dissociable Effects of Motor Experience and Lexical Competition." Ms. Kan was awarded travel expenses up to $1,000 to attend the 2005 APS National Convention to receive her award; a three-year membership in APS, including subscriptions to all APS journals; and two engraved plaques, one for herself and one for her psychology department as a permanent honor.
How do we know that roses are red and violets are blue? For the past few years, Irene Kan has spent much time thinking about how visual (e.g., color) and non-visual attributes (e.g., function) of object-concepts are represented and organized in semantic memory (i.e., general knowledge about the world). Using a combination of behavioral, neuro-psychological, and neuroimaging methods, she is exploring the cognitive architecture and neural bases of conceptual knowledge. Ms. Kan is currently a fourth year graduate student in the Department of Psychology and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, and she anticipates receiving her PhD in 2005. Psi Chi congratulates Ms. Kan and encourages all members to apply for this award.
ABSTRACT: A number of theories about the evolution of language posit a close (and perhaps causal) relationship between tool use and speech. Consistent with this idea, neuroimaging studies have found that tool knowledge retrieval activates not only a region of left premotor cortex involved in hand action, but also an adjacent region of prefrontal cortex that is typically described as a language center. We examined whether this pattern of activation is best described as the result of a single process, related to both action and language, or the result of two, independent processes. We identified two distinct neural components that jointly contribute to this response: a premotor region that responds to motor knowledge retrieval and an adjacent prefrontal region that responds to lexical competition. Crucial to the interpretation of the premotor response, individual variation in motor experience was highly correlated with the magnitude of the response in premotor cortex, but not in prefrontal cortex.