- Recognition, comprehension, and production of spoken words
- Organization and processing of semantic knowledge
- Computational models of brain and behavior
- Statistical methods for analysis of time course data
Dan Mirman received a dual undergraduate degree in Psychology and Chemistry from Cornell University in 2000 and a PhD in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition in 2005. His graduate work combined computational modeling and behavioral experiments to examine top-down effects of word knowledge on speech perception. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Connecticut using eye-tracking, behavioral experiments, and computational modeling to investigate how word meanings are represented and accessed during spoken language comprehension. He then focused on the neurobiology of language at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, before joining the faculty at Drexel University in 2013.
Research in Mirman's lab seeks to understand the basic mechanisms of cognitive and perceptual processing, particularly in the domain of spoken language. This research program combines converging evidence from multiple different methods: behavioral and eye-tracking experiments, chronic neurological disruptions caused by stroke (aphasia) and transient ones caused by noninvasive brain stimulation (tDCS). These empirical methods are complemented by theoretical studies using simulations of computational models, which provide concrete tests of a theory and make novel predictions. Current research projects examine:
- Processing and representation of semantic knowledge, particularly the distinction between feature-based "taxonomic" knowledge (an apple is a fruit, it is the same kind of thing as a pear or a peach, it is round and edible, etc.) and event-based "thematic" knowledge (apples grow on trees and ripen in the fall, they can be baked into pies or made into cider, they sometimes have worms inside, etc.).
- Competition and cooperation among co-activated representations: processing a word invariably involves partial activation of words that are related by sound (cat - cab) and meaning (cat - dog). This project aims to explain why such co-activation sometimes facilitates word processing and sometimes hinders it.
- The interface of cognitive control, memory, and language processing. This project examines the bi-directional interactions between language processing and nominally non-linguistic functions like response selection, categorization, and working memory.