Kara Federmeier

Description

Address

  • 2115 Beckman Institute
  • 405 North Mathews Avenue
  • Urbana, Illinois 61801

Biography

Kara Federmeier received her Ph.D. in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego in 2000. She is a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Neuroscience Program at the University of Illinois and a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute Cognitive Neuroscience Group. Her fields of professional interest are language, memory, hemispheric differences, and cognitive neuroscience.

Honors

Named a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Centennial Scholar (2013-2016); James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award, Understanding Human Cognition Initiative (2010-2016); University Scholar (2012-2015); Named the Emanuel Donchin Professorial Scholar in Psychology (2013); Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (2012); Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award (2010); Arnold O. Beckman Research Award, University of Illinois (2009, 2003); Helen Corley Petit Scholar (2008-2009); Society for Psychophysiology Award for Distinguished Early Career Contributions to Psychophysiology (2006).

Research

Certain sensory stimuli—words, pictures, faces, environmental sounds—seem to immediately and effortlessly bring to mind a rich array of knowledge that we experience as the "meaning" of those cues. Federmeier's research examines the neurobiological basis of such meaning, asking how world knowledge derived from multiple modalities comes to be organized in the brain and how such information is integrated and made available for use in varied contexts and often in only hundreds of milliseconds. To study these time-sensitive processes, Federmeier uses event-related brain potentials (ERPs), supplemented by behavioral, eye tracking, and hemodynamic measures.

Federmeier's research has shown, for example, that a crucial part of a sentence context's influence on word processing is mediated through long-term memory structure: the physical and functional similarity between two semantic category members impacts processing, even when such relationships do not alter a word's subjective plausibility in its context. Her research further suggests that this use of world knowledge varies as a function of mood and the availability of various cognitive resources, and also as a function of the representation type used to cue that information. Different semantic information is accessed from words and pictures (and from the same picture as a function of experience), suggesting that semantic processing takes place in a distributed system in which input modality information is not completely lost. Different ERPs to words from different classes (e.g., nouns vs. verbs) further supports the notion of a structured yet shared semantic system, one sensitive to the nature of the information associated with a word (e.g., visual vs. motor associations) as well as to the roles it plays in various contexts. Indeed, Federmeier's work has revealed that perceptual processing itself (as indexed by sensory-and attention-related ERP components) is influenced by language context information, highlighting the inseparability of "perceptual" and "conceptual" analyses of a meaningful stimulus.

By combining ERPs with visual-half-field techniques (used to preferentially stimulate one cerebral hemisphere), Federmeier has also found that the two hemispheres differ in how they use word and picture information to access world knowledge. Whereas left hemisphere-initiated processing seems oriented toward prediction and the use of top-down cues, right hemisphere-initiated processing seems biased toward the veridical maintenance of information and integration with working memory. Overall, Federmeier's research suggests that our experience of meaning is shaped by both the structure of our world knowledge and the structure of the brain network that supports this knowledge. Meaning seems effortless, immediate, and unified—but is, instead, constructed in space and time and multiply expressed.

Publications

  • 2016
    • Coronel, J. C.; Federmeier, K. D., The N400 Reveals How Personal Semantics Is Processed: Insights into the Nature and Organization of Self-Knowledge. Neuropsychologia 2016, 84, 36-43.
  • 2015
    • Payne, B. R.; Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Revisiting the Incremental Effects of Context on Word Processing: Evidence from Single-Word Event-Related Brain Potentials. Psychophysiology 2015, 52, (11), 1456-1469.
    • Stites, M. C.; Federmeier, K. D., Subsequent to Suppression: Downstream Comprehension Consequences of Noun/Verb Ambiguity in Natural Reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition 2015, 41, (5), 1497-1515.
    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., Time for Prediction? The Effect of Presentation Rate on Predictive Sentence Comprehension During Word-by-Word Reading. Cortex 2015, 68, 20-32.
  • 2014
    • Coronel, J. C.; Federmeier, K. D.; Gonsalves, B. D., Event-Related Potential Evidence Suggesting Voters Remember Political Events That Never Happened. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 2014, 9, (3), 358-366, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nss143.

    • Gillespie, M.; James, A. N.; Federmeier, K. D.; Watson, D. G., Verbal Working Memory Predicts Co-Speech Gesture: Evidence from Individual Differences. Cognition 2014, 132, 174-180.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., Never Seem to Find the Time: Evaluating the Physiological Time Course of Visual Word Recognition with Regression Analysis of Single-Item Event-Related Potentials. Language Cognition and Neuroscience 2014, 29, (5), 642-661, DOI:10.1080/01690965.2013.866259.

    • Fischer-Baum, S.; Dickson, D. S.; Federmeier, K. D., Frequency and Regularity Effects in Reading Are Task Dependent: Evidence from ERPs. Language Cognition and Neuroscience 2014, 29, (10), 1342-1355, DOI:10.1080/23273798.2014.927067.

    • Dickson, D. S.; Federmeier, K. D., Hemispheric Differences in Orthographic and Semantic Processing as Revealed by Event-Related Potentials. Neuropsychologia 2014, 64, 230-239, DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.09.037.

  • 2013
    • Awni, H.; Norton, J. J. S.; Umunna, S.; Federmeier, K. D.; Bretl, T.; Towards a Brain Computer Interface Based on the N2pc Event-Related Potential, In 2013 6th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering. IEEE, New York, 2013, 1021-1024.

    • Stites, M. C.; Federmeier, K. D.; Stine-Morrow, E. A. L., Cross-Age Comparisons Reveal Multiple Strategies for Lexical Ambiguity Resolution During Natural Reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition 2013, 39, (6), 1823-1841, DOI: 10.1037/a0032860.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K., Two Sides of Meaning:  The Scalp-Recorded N400 Reflects Distinct Contributions from the Cerebral Hemispheres. Frontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences 2013, 4, (181), 1-15.

  • 2012
    • Huang, H. W.; Meyer, A. M.; Federmeier, K. D., A "Concrete View" of Aging: Event Related Potentials Reveal Age-Related Changes in Basic Integrative Processes in Language. Neuropsychologia 2012, 50, (1), 26-35.

    • Laszlo, S.; Stites, M.; Federmeier, K. D., Won't Get Fooled Again: An Event-Related Potential Study of Task and Repetition Effects on the Semantic Processing of Items without Semantics. Language and Cognitive Processes 2012, 27, (2), 257-274.

    • Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Ambiguity's Aftermath: How Age Differences in Resolving Lexical Ambiguity Affect Subsequent Comprehension. Neuropsychologia 2012, 50, (5), 869-879.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., Age-Related Changes in the Impact of Contextual Strength on Multiple Aspects of Sentence Comprehension. Psychophysiology 2012, 49, (6), 770-785.

    • Coronel, J. C.; Duff, M. C.; Warren, D. E.; Federmeier, K. D.; Gonsalves, B. D.; Tranel, D.; Cohen, N. J., Remembering and Voting: Theory and Evidence from Amnesic Patients. American Journal of Political Science 2012, 56, (4), 837-848

    • Huang, H. W.; Federmeier, K. D., Dispreferred Adjective Orders Elicit Brain Responses Associated with Lexico-Semantic Rather Than Syntactic Processing. Brain Research 2012, 1475, 62-70.

    • Voss, J. L.; Federmeier, K. D.; Paller, K. A., The Potato Chip Really Does Look Like Elvis! Neural Hallmarks of Conceptual Processing Associated with Finding Novel Shapes Subjectively Meaningful. Cerebral Cortex 2012, 22, (10), 2354-2364.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., So That's What You Meant! Event-Related Potentials Reveal Multiple Aspects of Context Use During Construction of Message-Level Meaning. Neuroimage 2012, 62, (1), 356-366.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D.; Kutas, M., To Predict or Not to Predict: Age-Related Differences in the Use of Sentential Context. Psychology and Aging 2012, 27, (4), 975-988.

  • 2011
    • Voss, J. L.; Warren, D. E.; Gonsalves, B. D.; Federmeier, K. D.; Tranel, D.; Cohen, N. J., Spontaneous Revisitation During Visual Exploration as a Link among Strategic Behavior, Learning, and the Hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2011, 108, (31), E402-E409.

    • Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Differential Age Effects on Lexical Ambiguity Resolution Mechanisms. Psychophysiology 2011, 48, (7), 960-972.

    • Kutas, M.; Federmeier, K. D., Thirty Years and Counting: Finding Meaning in the N400 Component of the Event-Related Brain Potential (ERP), In Annual Review of Psychology; Fiske, S. T., Schacter, D. L., Taylor, S. E., Eds. 2011; Vol. 62, 621-647.

    • Voss, J. L.; Federmeier, K. D., FN400 potentials are functionally identical to N400 potentials and reflect semantic processing during recognition testing. Psychophysiology 2011, 48, (4), 532-546.

    • Voss, J. L.; Gonsalves, B. D.; Federmeier, K. D.; Tranel, D.; Cohen, N. J., Hippocampal brain-network coordination during volitional exploratory behavior enhances learning. Nature Neuroscience 2011, 14, (1), 115-U152.

    • Kutas, M.; Federmeier, K. D., Thirty Years and Counting: Finding Meaning in the N400 Component of the Event-Related Brain Potential (ERP). In Annual Review of Psychology, Annual Reviews: Palo Alto, 2011; Vol. 62, pp 621-647.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., The N400 as a snapshot of interactive processing: Evidence from regression analyses of orthographic neighbor and lexical associate effects. Psychophysiology 2011, 48, (2), 176-186.

  • 2010
    • Laszlo, S.; Stites, M.; Federmeier, K. D., Task and Repetition Effects on the Semantic Processing of Items without Semantics. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S28-S28.

    • Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., It's All in the Family: Brain Asymmetry and Syntactic Processing. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S36-S36.

    • Matzen, L. E.; Federmeier, K. D., Contributions of Conceptual Priming and Recollection to the Dm Effect. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S37-S37.

    • Meyer, A. M.; Federmeier, K. D., Event-related potentials reveal the effects of aging on meaning selection and revision. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, (4), 673-686.

    • Stites, M. C.; Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D.; Gao, X. F.; Stine-Morrow, E. A., Linking the Eyes and the Brain: Erp and Eyetracking Effects of on-Line Ambiguity Resolution of Noun/Verb Homographs. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S37-S37.

    • Boyd, J. K.; Federmeier, K. D., Are the Cerebral Hemispheres Differentially Sensitive to Changing Linguistic Probabilities? Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S36-S36. 

    • Federmeier, K. D.; Kutas, M.; Schul, R., Age-related and individual differences in the use of prediction during language comprehension. Brain and Language 2010, 115, (3), 149-161. 

    • Huang, H. W.; Meyer, A. M.; Federmeier, K. D., A "Concrete View" of Aging: Erps Reveal Age-Related Changes in Basic Integrative Processes in Language. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S36-S37. 

    • Kandhadai, P.; Federmeier, K. D., Hemispheric differences in the recruitment of semantic processing mechanisms. Neuropsychologia 2010, 48, (13), 3772-3781. 

    • Kandhadai, P.; Federmeier, K. D., Automatic and controlled aspects of lexical associative processing in the two cerebral hemispheres. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, (4), 774-785. 

    • Huang, H. W.; Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Imagine that! ERPs provide evidence for distinct hemispheric contributions to the processing of concrete and abstract concepts. Neuroimage 2010, 49, (1), 1116-1123.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., I Didn't Know You Were Going to Say That: a Left-Lateralized Negative Brain Potential for Sentences of Moderately Strong Constraint. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S36-S36.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G., The Event-Related Optical Signal Reveals Contralateral and Ipsilateral Brain Activity over Time During Lateralized Processing of Words. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, S29-S29.

    • Van Petten, C.; Federmeier, K. D.; Holcomb, P. J., For distinguished contributions to psychophysiology: Marta Kutas. Psychophysiology 2010, 47, (3), 403-409.

  • 2009
    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D.; Kutas, M., Shifts in Hemispheric Contributions to Language Comprehension with Age. Psychophysiology 2009, 46, S81-S81.

    • Hurley, R. S.; Paller, K. A.; Wieneke, C. A.; Weintraub, S.; Thompson, C. K.; Federmeier, K. D.; Mesulam, M. M., Electrophysiology of Object Naming in Primary Progressive Aphasia. Journal of Neuroscience 2009, 29, (50), 15762-15769.

    • Kandhadai, P.; Federmeier, K. D., Making Sense of Hemispheric Differences in Meaning Apprehension. Psychophysiology 2009, 46, S108-S109.

    • Kutas, M.; Federmeier, K. D., N400. Scholarpedia 2009, 4, (10), 7790.

    • Laszlo, S.; Anaya, P.; Federmeier, K. D., Interacting Effects of Lexical Variables on Language-Sensitive Erps at the Single-Item Level. Psychophysiology 2009, 46, S109-S109.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., A beautiful day in the neighborhood: An event-related potential study of lexical relationships and prediction in context. Journal of Memory and Language 2009, 61, (3), 326-338.

    • Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Wave-ering: An ERP study of syntactic and semantic context effects on ambiguity resolution for noun/verb homographs. Journal of Memory and Language 2009, 61, (4), 538-555.

    • Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Hemispheric Differences in Word Class Expectancy-an Event Related Potential Study. Psychophysiology 2009, 46, S81-S82.

    • Evans, K. M.; Federmeier, K. D., Left and right memory revisited: Electrophysiological investigations of hemispheric asymmetries at retrieval. Neuropsychologia 2009, 47, (2), 303-313.

    • Gratton, C.; Evans, K. M.; Federmeier, K. D., See what I mean? An ERP study of the effect of background knowledge on novel object processing. Memory & Cognition 2009, 37, (3), 277-291.

    • Federmeier, K. D.; Laszlo, S., Time for Meaning: Electrophysiology Provides Insights into the Dynamics of Representation and Processing in Semantic Memory. In Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory, 2009; Vol. 51, pp 1-44.

  • 2008
    • Gratton, C.; Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., In whole or in part? An ERP analysis of global/local processing asymmetries with naturalistic objects. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S70-S70.

    • Huang, H. W.; Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Imagine that! ERPs provide evidence for distinct hemispheric contributions to the processing of concrete and abstract concepts. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S49-S49.

    • Kandhadai, P.; Federmeier, K. D., Summing it up: Semantic activation processes in the two hemispheres as revealed by event-related potentials. Brain Research 2008, 1233, 146-159.

    • Kandhadai, P.; Federmeier, K. D., Coming up next! Event-related potential evidence for word level prediction in the cerebral hemispheres. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S39-S39.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., A beautiful day in the neighborhood: An ERP study of lexical relationships and sentential congruity. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S10-S10.

    • Matzen, L. E.; Federmeier, K. D.; Benjamin, A. S., Wide open spaces: ERPs reveal the role of reminding in memory. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S72-S72.

    • Meyer, A. M.; Federmeier, K. D., The divided visual world paradigm: Eye tracking reveals hemispheric asymmetries in lexical ambiguity resolution. Brain Research 2008, 1222, 166-183.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., The frontal P2 component and the influence of sentential constraint on visual processing. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S9-S9.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D.; Kutas, M., Age-related changes in the use of sentential context. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S33-S33.

    • Federmeier, K. D., I knew you were going to say that ... ERP studies reveal the role of expectancy-driven processes in language comprehension. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S9-S9.

    • Evans, K. M.; Federmeier, K. D., Uncovering the functional significance of the P2 repetition effect. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S33-S33.

    • Federmeier, K. D., Encoding done right: Verbal memory in the two cerebral hemispheres. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, S4-S4.

    • Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., To watch, to see, and to differ: An event-related potential study of concreteness effects as a function of word class and lexical ambiguity. Brain and Language 2008, 104, (2), 145-158.

    • Federmeier, K. D.; Wlotko, E.; Meyer, A. M. Whats right in language comprehension: ERPs reveal right hemisphere language capabilities. Language and Linguistics Compass 2008, 2, 1-17.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D.; Minding the PS, queues, and PXQs: Uniformity of semantic processing across multiple stimulus types. Psychophysiology 2008, 45, 458-466.

  • 2007
    • Federmeier, K. D., Thinking ahead: The role and roots of prediction in language comprehension. Psychophysiology 2007, 44, (4), 491-505.

    • Federmeier, K. D.; Laszlo, S., Deriving meaning from ERPS ... and other acronyms. Psychophysiology 2007, 44, S6-S6.

    • Federmeier, K. D.; Wlotko, E. W.; De Ochoa-Dewald, E.; Kutas, M., Multiple effects of sentential constraint on word processing. Brain Research 2007, 1146, 75-84.

    • Gratton, C.; Evans, K. M.; Federmeier, K. D., Generalizing knowledge: ERPS reveal the time-course of retrieval of novel categories. Psychophysiology 2007, 44, S61-S61.

    • Gutchess, A. H.; Leuji, Y.; Federmeier, K. D., Event-related potentials reveal age differences in the encoding and recognition of scenes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2007, 19, (7), 1089-1103.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., The acronym superiority effect. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2007, 14, (6), 1158-1163.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., How I learned to stop worrying and love the VCR: N400 processing of illegal strings in sentence context. Psychophysiology 2007, 44, S62-S62.

    • Lee, C. L.; Federmeier, K. D., Hemispheric differences in syntactic modulation on the lexical ambiguity resolution - An event related potential study. Psychophysiology 2007, 44, S61-S61.

    • Evans, K. M.; Federmeier, K. D., 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 2007, 45, (8), 1777-1790.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D.; Better the DVL you know: Acronyms reveal the contribution of familiarity to single-word reading. Psychological Science 2007, 18 (2), 122-126.

    • Kandhadai, P.; Federmeier, K. D.; Multiple priming of lexically ambiguous and unambiguous targets in the cerebral hemispheres: The coarse coding hypothesis revisited. Brain Research 2007, 1153, 144-157.

    • Meyer, A. M.; Federmeier, K. D.; The effects of context, meaning frequency, and associative strength on semantic selection: Distinct contributions from each cerebral hemisphere. Brain Research 2007, 1183, 91-108.

    • Meyer, A. M.; Federmeier, K. D., Visual fixations reveal hemispheric asymmetries in meaning selection and revision. Psychophysiology 2007, 44, S81-S81.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., Finding the right word: Hemispheric asymmetries in the use of sentence context information. Neuropsychologia 2007, 45, (13), 3001-3014.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., Two sides of meaning: The scalp-recorded N400 reflects distinct contributions from the cerebral hemispheres. Psychophysiology 2007, 44, S62-S62.

  • 2006
    • Meyer, A. M.; Federmeier, K. D., Meaning selection in the cerebral hemispheres. Psychophysiology 2006, 43, S67-S67.

    • Wlotko, E. W.; Federmeier, K. D., An investigation of the timecourse of sentential context use by the cerebral hemispheres. Psychophysiology 2006, 43, S109-S109.

    • Gratton, C.; Evans, K. M.; Federmeier, K. D., Picturing knowledge: ERPs reveal the acquisition and retrieval of information about novel objects. Psychophysiology 2006, 43, S43-S43.

    • Hannula, D. E.; Federmeier, K. D.; Cohen, N. J., Event-related potential signatures of relational memory. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2006, 18, (11), 1863-1876.

    • Laszlo, S.; Federmeier, K. D., Acronyms reveal the effects of familiarity and regularity on the N400 ERP component. Psychophysiology 2006, 43, S57-S57.

Press

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