Kara Federmeier


831 Psychology
2115 Beckman Institute
Office: 333-8303

Mail to:
Department of Psychology, UIUC
603 E. Daniel St.
Champaign IL 61820
Lab Page

Kara Federmeier

Professor, Department of Psychology
B.S., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
M.S. and Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

2010 James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award

2010 Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award

2008 Helen Corley Petit Scholar

2006 Society for Psychophysiology Award for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychophysiology

Currently Teaching

NEUR 450 - Cognitive Psychophysiology

Language, memory, hemispheric differences, and cognitive neuroscience

Human beings inhabit a world that seems infused with meaning. Our senses encounter colors, shading, lines, and curves; pitch and volume; texture. From these complex arrays of sensory information, the brain discerns the form of written and spoken words, pictures, objects, scenes, faces, and environmental sounds. And it then seems to immediately and effortlessly link those forms to a rich set of knowledge, stored in memory, that we experience as the "meaning" of those inputs.

My work is centered on understanding how the brain builds and stores meaning representations, during language comprehension, memory, and other cognitive tasks. We do this by noninvasively measuring brain electrical signals millisecond by millisecond as people look, listen, read, remember, interpret, and make decisions. We combine these electrophysiological measures with assessments of behavior and eye movements, and with other techniques for measuring brain structure and function. Our goal is understand how younger and older adults make sense of language and of the world around them, and ultimately to uncover ways to keep cognition "meaningful" across the lifespan.

Research Area

Representative Publications

Huang, H., Lee, C., and Federmeier, K. D. (2010). Imagine that! ERPs provide evidence for distinct hemispheric contributions to the processing of concrete and abstract concepts. Neuroimage, 49, 1116-1123.

Kandhadai, P. and Federmeier, K. D. (2010). Automatic and controlled aspects of lexical associative processing in the two cerebral hemispheres. Psychophysiology, 47, 774-785.

Meyer, A. M. and Federmeier, K. D. (2010). Event-related potentials reveal the effects of aging on meaning selection and revision. Psychophysiology, 47, 673-686.

Federmeier, K. D. and Laszlo, S. (2009). Time for meaning: Electrophysiology provides insights into the dynamics of representation and processing in semantic memory. In B. H. Ross (Ed.), Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Volume 51 (pp 1-44). Burlington: Academic Press.

Gratton, C., Evans, K. M., and Federmeier, K. D. (2009). See what I mean? An ERP study of the effect of background knowledge on novel object processing. Memory and Cognition, 37, 277-291.

Lee, C. and Federmeier, K. D. (2009). Wave-ering: An ERP study of syntactic and semantic context effects on ambiguity resolution for noun/verb homographs. Journal of Memory and Language, 61, 538-555.

Federmeier, K. D., Wlotko, E., and Meyer, A. M. (2008). What’s “right” in language comprehension: ERPs reveal right hemisphere language capabilities. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2, 1-17.

Evans, K M. and Federmeier, K. D. (2007). The memory that's right and the memory that's left: Event-related potentials reveal hemispheric asymmetries in the encoding and retention of verbal information. Neuropsychologia, 45, 1777-1790.

Federmeier, K. D. (2007). Thinking ahead: The role and roots of prediction in language comprehension. Psychophysiology, 44, 491-505.

Gutchess, A. H., Ieuji, Y, and Federmeier, K. D. (2007). Event-related potentials reveal age differences in the encoding and recognition of scenes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 1089-1103.

Laszlo, S. and Federmeier, K. D. (2007). Better the DVL you know: Acronyms reveal the contribution of familiarity to single word reading. Psychological Science, 18, 122-126.

Wlotko, E. and Federmeier, K. D. (2007). Finding the right word: Hemispheric asymmetries in the use of sentence context information. Neuropsychologia, 45, 3001-3014.

Hannula, D. E., Federmeier, K. D., and Cohen, N. J. (2006). Event-related potential signatures of relational memory. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 1863-1876.

Complete Publications List (PubMed)

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