Christopher M. Conway

Lab Director ( 2012 – 2018)

Dr. Conway is Director of the Brain, Learning, and Language Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital and the founding Director of the NeuroLearn Lab. After receiving a BSE in biomedical and electrical engineering from Duke University and working as a project engineer for three years, he decided to return to school, pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell University with a focus in cognitive neuroscience. He worked for 3 years as a postdoctoral researcher at Indiana University before starting a faculty position as an Assistant Professor at Saint Louis University in 2008. In 2012, he relocated to GSU, hired as part of the Language and Literacy Initiative, with his home department in Psychology (as a member of the Cognitive Sciences, Developmental, and Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience programs), where he was also an Affiliate Member of the Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Conway concluded his time at GSU as an Associate Professor and joined the research faculty at Boys Town National Research Hospital in 2018.

Broadly speaking, Dr. Conway is interested in how our brains and cognitive systems support important functions such as learning and remembering information, acquiring language, and developing new skills. He has become increasingly interested in understanding these processes of learning and plasticity in both typically and atypically developing children, including those with  language or learning disorders. Dr. Conway‘s research is supported by grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

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Jerome Daltrozzo, PhD

Post-Doc (Spring 2013 – Fall 2015)

The central aim of Jerome’s research is the exploration under various levels of attention and consciousness of the cognitive processing of concepts with behavioral and neurophysiological approaches including the use of the event-related potentials technique. His previous research has focused on the processing of verbal (e.g. from single words and from sentences) and non-verbal concepts (e.g. from excerpts of music) while attention and consciousness were manipulated with various tasks (implicit/explicit), stimuli (subliminal stimulation, masked/degraded stimuli), states of vigilance (sleep stages versus wake), or disorder of consciousness (coma and vegetative state). The perception of concepts often requires one to process a set of items organized non-randomly in time (i.e. syllables in spoken single words, words in spoken sentences, or tones in music). In the NeuroLearn Lab, Jerome previously led a project investigating the ‘neural mechanisms of implicit learning and language’ (NILLA). These neural mechanisms are often referred to as “sequential learning”, “statistical learning”, or “implicit learning” mechanisms – allowing one to process structured sequences. 

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Samantha EmersonSamantha N. Emerson
Graduate Student
Cognitive Sciences
Language & Literacy Fellow (2010-2014)
Samantha was a Ph.D. student in Cognitive Sciences and is interested in the effects of language and music on cognition advised by Dr. Christopher Conway.  In particular, while in the lab, she researched the neural correlates of musical experience on sequential learning with Dr. Chris Conway.  Outside of the NeuroLearn lab, she was also advised by Dr. Şeyda Özçalışkan and researched the crosslinguistic differences in word learning based on the expression of motion events (i.e., manner and path).  Finally, she worked with Dr. Martin Norgaard on the use of patterns in jazz improvisations by artist-level musicians under single- and dual-task conditions.  She also taught Cognitive Psychology and Introduction to Research Design and Analysis. Dr. Emerson earned her PhD at GSU in 2018 and is currently a post doctoral research associate with Dr. Christopher Conway at Boys Town National Research Hospital.

Kimberly Menig Ross
Graduate Student
Cognitive Sciences
Kim graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marist College in Poughkeepsie NY before coming to GSU in 2014. Her broad interests include the study of temporal processing and implicit statistical learning in both typical and atypical populations. More specifically, she examines learning, expectations and attention using the event related potential (ERP) technique. Currently, she is interested in temporal regularity and how it may facilitate learning under different contexts. Her previous work includes studying the effect of cognitive load on temporal judgments.


Jane (Hsiao-Chen) Pan
Graduate Student
Developmental Psychology
Jane’s research mainly focuses on the interplay between language experience and cognition by examining the behavioral and neurophysiological differences between bilinguals and monolinguals. The project she is currently working on investigates whether bilinguals and monolinguals process multi-sensory and uni-sensory sequential patterns differently. For future studies, she is interested in exploring sequential learning in people who communicate through sign languages.


 Anna Creighton, M.S.
Post-Masters Research Assistant (Fall 2013 – Fall 2015)
Anna attended college in Pennsylvania at Allegheny College where she discovered her interest in vocal communication, motives to produce sounds, and language development. After graduating in 2008 with a double-major in neuroscience and psychology, she enrolled in the neuroscience graduate program at Georgia State University. She worked under Dr. Walt Wilczynski studying comparative behavioral neuroscience by examining the behavioral effects and cell distribution of catecholaminergic cells in the neural tissue of green tree frogs. She produced two publications while in the Wilczynski lab, both in the journal Physiology and Behavior. Upon graduating with a MS in 2013, she began working as a research assistant in Dr. Conway’s NeuroLearn Laboratory as a way to gain more research experience. Currently in the NeuroLearn Lab, she works as a research assistant on NILLA and ALCI projects by administering psychological assessments and EEG assembly and monitoring, as well as a lab technician for ALCI by cleaning and analyzing the ERP data collected from children participants. She also teaches an afterschool class of children at Country Brook Montessori School in Norcross, GA, and she volunteers with Trees Atlanta on the weekends.


 Julie Trapani
Undergraduate Honors College Research Assistant (Fall 2012 – Fall 2014)
Brains and Behavior Summer Scholar (2013)
Honors Thesis (December 2014)
Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant (Spring 2015 – Fall 2015)


Suit Pic

Sanjay Pardasani

Undergraduate Research Assistant (Spring 2013 – Spring 2015)
Language and Literacy Fellow (Summer 2014 – Spring 2015)
 Prior to joining the lab in the fall of 2013, Sanjay completed his Associates of Science Degree in Psychology at Georgia Perimeter College.  With a strong corporate/business background in employee and consumer relations, Sanjay re-entered the academic world with a passion for developing a better understanding of what motivates and inspires human cognition and interactions.  Given the inextricable role that language acquisition and processing play in these arenas, Sanjay’s interest became a perfect fit for the NeuroLearn Lab, which afforded him the opportunity to explore the neurophysiological and psychological underpinnings of language development in a fun and exciting team-driven environment.  Sanjay worked on the ALIENS team, whose primary focus was to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms associated with language processing in order to assist individuals with language impairments– specifically those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).  Along with receiving the Language and Literacy Fellowship for the Summer of 2014 as well as the following Fall 2014 – Spring 2015 Academic Year, Sanjay has presented at a number of conferences and poster sessions, including the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference where his poster (along with Gerardo Valdez and other teammates) was awarded Third Place overall and Second Place for outstanding research in the field of Behavioral Neuroscience.  Sanjay has since graduated with distinction for outstanding research support from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Minor in Philosophy.


Michelle PinnsMichelle Pinns
Undergraduate Honors College Research Assistant (Fall 2012 – Spring 2014)
Honors Thesis (April 2014)

Michelle joined the lab Fall of 2012 while completing a Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology at Georgia State University. With an interest in human cognition, the lab seemed like an optimal place for Michelle to increase her knowledge about the cognitive foundations of language development. One particular cognitive foundation of language that Michelle took an interest in was sequential learning. In April 2014 Michelle completed her honors thesis. The thesis focused on the relationship between a primary caregiver’s education level and sequential learning in typically hearing children. Since leaving the lab and working within the military to help prevent and treat the symptoms of domestic violence and child abuse, Michelle’s interests have shifted towards the cognitive underpinnings effecting domestic violence. This includes the motivation behind becoming an offender and the cognitive toll domestic violence takes on victims. Michelle hopes to complete a PhD program whose main focus lies on the cognitive aspects that underlie the foundations of domestic violence.

Marjorie Freggens
Post-Bac Research Assistant

Alex Ghali
Post-Bac Research Assistant

Alex joined the lab in August, 2014. A native of Atlanta and Beirut, his research interests include music cognition, auditory neuroscience, and language. He is currently building up his research experience with a view to pursue his interests in graduate school.

Jessica Walker
Undergraduate Honors College Research Assistant

Ashley Marie Lauterbach
Undergraduate Honors College Research Assistant

Ashley is a sophomore who was first introduced to the NeuroLearn Lab through a program offered by the Honors College at GSU. She has since worked with the ALCI team, which investigates language development in children with cochlear implants and in normal hearing children. Ashley is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Spanish, and hopes to one day study development in children.

Peyton Olivia Raley
Undergraduate Honors College Research Assistant
Peyton Olivia Raley is an undergraduate research assistant and Language and Literacy Fellow working on the ALCI team. She is currently majoring in Biology with a pre-med concentration at here at Georgia State University. Her ultimate goal is to go to medical school to become a neonatologist. She became involved in this lab through the Honors College’s assistantship program. She is working here to gain valuable research experience and to explore the world of psychology which has been an interest of hers for many years.

Juan Galvis
Undergraduate Honors College Research Assistant

Grace Signiski
Undergraduate Honors College Research Assistant

Gerardo Valdez
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Gerardo is an undergraduate student earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience with a Premedical concentration and a minor in Psychology from Georgia State University. Gerardo recently received a fellowship from Georgia State University’s Language and Literacy initiative. He is currently assisting with various projects involving structured sequential learning and language processing abilities in individuals with autism and the effect of hypnotic suggestion on structured sequential learning processes in adults.

Kenneth Herock
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Kenneth currently studies Philosophy and Neuroscience. He joined the NeuroLearn Lab in Spring 2015 to further his interest in how the human experience, specifically  learning ability, could be enhanced. He is interested in how the repetition of patterns, such as in music, contributes to our learning capabilities, and is also interested in animal communication. He is interested in the idea that we learn language by a pattern-like association of syllables and sounds, and hopes to explore the connections between human and animal cognition.