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Prof. Miriam Faust

Head of Research Lab
CV

Professor, Director of Brain and Language Laboratory, Department of Psychology and Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain research Center

 Rector, Bar-Ilan University

Education

Date

Institute

Degree

Area of specialization

1984-1990

Bar-Ilan University

Ph.D

Excellent, with highest distinctions

Psychology

1978-1983

Bar-Ilan University

MA

Excellent

 

Psychology

1972-1975

Tel -Aviv University

BA

Magna Cum Laude

 

Communication Disorders

 

Academic Appointments:

2008 -Present     Full Professor, Psychology Department, Bar-Ilan University

2003-2007           Associate Professor, Psychology Department, Bar-Ilan University

1998-2002           Senior lecturer, Psychology Department, Bar-Ilan University

1993-2005           Adjunct Faculty, School of Communication Disorders, Tel-Aviv

                              University

1993-1997           Lecturer, Psychology Department, Bar-Ilan

 

Employment and Professional Functions

2010-Present      Vice Rector, Bar- Ilan University

2005-2009           Chair, Psychology Department, Bar- Ilan University

2004-2009           Rector's advisor for the advancement of women at Bar- Ilan University

2002-2004           Vice chair, Psychology Department, Bar-Ilan University

1995-1999           Head of Experimental MA program, Psychology Department, Bar- Ilan

                              University

1976-1986           Licensed speech clinician, Sheba Medical Center

 

Additional Information

2012-Present     Member of the Israeli Center of Research Excellence in the Cognitive

                             Sciences (I-CORE)

2011-Present     Member of the Israel Prize committee for Psychology

2007-Present     Member of the Editorial Board, Brain and Language

2007-Present     Member of the Israeli National Council fo Research and Development

2004-Present     Director, Brain and Language Laboratory, Gonda Multidisciplinary

                             Brain Research Center

Research

Areas of research

Semantic processing by the two cerebral hemispheres,  cognitive and neural bases of linguistic creativity, metaphor comprehension, semantic and associative networks, word retrieval, Tip-of-the Tongue states, phonological processing, individual differences in processing foreign languages.

My research is highly multidisciplinary. I use multiple experimental methods and techniques and study both typical persons and various clinical populations. I collaborate with colleagues from laboratories and medical centers in Israel and abroad.


Work in Prof. Faust's lab focuses on the brain and language, and includes projects that investigate language processing in the left and right cerebral hemispheres, developmental language disorders, word retrieval, language production, and the processing of metaphorical language in normal and clinical populations.
Additional work in the lab addresses the brain and cognitive processes involved in creativity, as well as the psychology of reading and reading disabilities.
Faust and her team use a variety of research techniques—including behavioral methods, magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and event-related potentials (ERP)—to study the intact brain as well as various clinical groups.
Faust and her team have explored the link between sound and language impairments in language-based disorders such as dyslexia and have demonstrated how “word finding” problems can stem from difficulty in retrieving sounds from long-term memory.
The team works on identifying the cognitive mechanisms involved in verbal creativity as well as in creative processing in related brain areas. Another major research project in the lab focuses on the cognitive and neurolinguistic processes involved in acquiring foreign languages.
Processing Novel Metaphors
Although scientists have long understood that the left hemisphere houses the brain’s language center, recent studies have provided evidence of the right brain’s role in certain language processing situations, specifically those involving metaphors, idioms, humor, irony, ambiguity, connotations, and finding the solution to insight problems.
In one project, Faust and her team investigated which side of the brain is responsible for interpreting poetic metaphor. By combining the traditional observational approach with the measurement of real-time brain activity, they discovered that when metaphors were presented separately to each brain hemisphere, the left brain often interpreted as nonsensical what the right brain saw as meaningful.
The converging evidence from behavioral, ERP and fMRI experiments suggests that the right hemisphere plays a unique role in processing novel metaphoric expressions taken from poetry, and that in terms of brain activity, prose and poetry are significantly different from one another. This is consistent with theories that postulate a predominantly right hemisphere processing of distant semantic relationship and nonsalient meanings.
In addition, the results of research conducted in Faust’s lab may have some implications for the right hemisphere’s contribution to specific processes underlying verbal creativity. For example, one aspect of creative thinking involves associating remote elements (“imagination” and “caves”) into a novel but useful (interpretable) combination.
Looking to the Future
Faust and her team plan to continue to investigate how different individuals and populations process the language of metaphor and poetry. They aim to explore how the brain understands entire sentences and sections of poetry, and whether previous exposure to poetic expressions (and/or changing them to more familiar expressions) can affect the brain regions typically engaged in their comprehension.
Another research project will focus on the brain differences between persons who are successful and unsuccessful foreign language learners.

Last Updated Date : 17/03/2019