Kara D Federmeier


Research Interests

Language processing

Semantic memory


Hemispheric differences

Electrophysiology (EEG, ERPs)


Research Description

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. My 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. I use human electrophysiological techniques in combination with behavioral, eye movement, and other brain imaging methods to examine how semantic information is structured as a function of modality and stimulus type, how it is brought to bear during language comprehension by younger and older adults, and how it is differentially accessed and used by the two hemispheres of the brain.


Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Recent Publications

Federmeier, K. D., & Kutas, M. (2019). What's “left”? Hemispheric sensitivity to predictability and congruity during sentence reading by older adults. Neuropsychologia, 133, [107173]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107173

Payne, B. R., Stites, M. C., & Federmeier, K. D. (2019). Event-related brain potentials reveal how multiple aspects of semantic processing unfold across parafoveal and foveal vision during sentence reading. Psychophysiology, 56(10), [e13432]. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13432

Smith, C. M., & Federmeier, K. D. (2019). What does “it” mean, anyway? Examining the time course of semantic activation in reference resolution. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(1), 115-136. https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2018.1513540

Leckey, M., & Federmeier, K. D. (2019). The P3b and P600(s): Positive contributions to language comprehension. Psychophysiology, [e13351]. https://doi.org/10.1111/psyp.13351

Ryskin, R., Ng, S., Mimnaugh, K., Brown-Schmidt, S., & Federmeier, K. D. (2019). Talker-specific predictions during language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1080/23273798.2019.1630654

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