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Research groups

Kate Watkins


Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Tutorial Fellow at St Anne's College, Oxford
  • Associate Head for People and Culture

Neural basis of speech and language

Research Summary

I am interested in how the brain communicates using speech and language and what is different about the minds and brains of people with speech and language impairments. 

My general research interests are in the area of cognitive neuroscience.  Specifically, I am interested in the brain processes underlying speech and language and brain development. This is studied by working with populations of children and adults with developmental and acquired disorders of speech and language, e.g. stuttering, verbal dyspraxia, DLD.  I am also interested in how functional specialisation for auditory and language processing develops in the brain deprived of vision and study this in people who are congenitally blind.  We use a number of different methods in the laboratory including neuropsychological testing, brain imaging and brain stimulation.  

Research areas

Speech Perception

Speech Production

Developmental Stuttering (Stammering)

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD; previously SLI) 

Language organisation in the blind


I trained in neuropsychology at the Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London.  My doctoral research used neuropsychology and structural image analysis to study the KE family, the affected members of which have a mutation in the gene FOXP2 and a severe motor speech disorder.  My post-doctoral training was at the Montreal Neurological Institute, where I used TMS to study the role of the motor cortex in speech perception.  I have been in Oxford at the FMRIB Centre since 2003 and I was appointed as a University Lecturer in Experimental Psychology in 2006.

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications