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Early Development
Research Group

UBC Department of Psychology
2404 - 2136 West Mall
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4
Phone: (604) 822-6741
Fax: (604) 822-6923

Werker, Janet

Core Area(s): Developmental, Cognitive Science

Biographical Sketch & Research Interests
My research focuses on understanding the roots of language acquisition, by studying speech perception in infancy, the mechanisms by which native speech sound categories are acquired, and how speech perception supports early word learning. In my lab we study infants from hours after birth up to toddler hood using behavioral, electrophysiological (ERP), and non-invasive optical neural imaging using near-infrared-spectroscopy (NIRS). We study infants growing up in different language environments, infants growing up bilingual, and infants with, or at risk for, developmental disabilities. Adult studies focus on speech perception and lexical processing of both spoken language and visual speech, and involve behavioral and neuroimaging studies. More recently we have also begun exploring epigenetic processes that underly developmental change.

Courses Taught
PSYC 302 Infancy, PSYC 585 Special topics in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Representative Publications
Weikum, W. M., Oberlander, T. F., Hensch, T. K. & Werker, J. F. (2012). Prenatal exposure to antidepressants and depressed maternal mood alter trajectory of infant speech perception. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1121263109

Sebastian-Galles, Albareda, B., Weikum, W., & Werker, J. F. (2012). A bilingual advantage in visual language discrimination in infancy. Psychological Science. 23(9), 994-999.

Pena, M., Werker, J. F., & Dehaene-Lambertz, G. (2012). Earlier speech exposure does not accelerate speech acquisition. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(33), 11159-11163.

Werker, J.F., Yeung, H. H., & Yoshida, K. (2012). How do infants become experts at native speech perception? Current Directions in Psychological Science. 21(4), 221-226.

Gervain, J., Mehler, J., Werker, J.F., Nelson, C.A., Csibra, C., Lloyd-Fox, S., Shukla, M., & Aslin, R.N. (2011). Near-Infrared Spectroscopy: A Report from the McDonnell Infant Methodology Consortium. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 1(1), 22-46. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2010.07.004

Yoshida, K. A., Pons, F., Maye, J., & Werker, J. F. (2010). Distributional phonetic learning at 10 months of age. Infancy, 15(4), 420-433.

Byers-Heinlein, K., Burns, T. C., & Werker, J.F. (2010). The roots of bilingualism in newborns. Psychological Science, 21(3), 343-348.

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a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Faculty of Arts

Department of Psychology
2136 West Mall
Tel: 604.822.2755
Fax: 604.822.6923