Monica Wagner

Undergraduate Program CoordinatorAssociate Professor
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Ph.D., CUNY Graduate Center

Dr. Wagner is an Associate Professor in the department, Communication Sciences and Disorders, with a joint appointment in Psychology. She has received an M. A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and an M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences from The Graduate Center (CUNY). Dr. Wagner is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and licensed by New York State to practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist and to provide clinical services within the public schools.

Dr. Wagner’s research aims to uncover brain mechanisms that allow spoken words to be recognized within the auditory cortex for comprehension. Towards this end she has examined cortical level brain responses in individuals having different native-language backgrounds (e.g., Polish speaker). This research has demonstrated that even though spoken words may be heard differently by second language learners of English, the acoustic (physical) characteristics of the spoken words are detected similarly, irrespective of native-language experience, at early cortical stages of processing. In contrast, intermediate and late stages of cortical processing reflect native-language experiences. Currently, Dr. Wagner is investigating recognition of spoken words within the auditory cortex in atypical language learners and identifying neural correlates associated with phonological processing deficits found in subgroups of individuals with Specific Language Impairment and Dyslexia. 

Graduate and undergraduate students from departments throughout the University participate in this research examining neurobiology of speech and language.

CSD 329 Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology of the Speech System

CSD 440 Advanced Research Design

CSD 1820 Neural Basis of Human Communication

Wagner, M., Lee, J., Mingino, F., O’Brien, C., Constantine, A., Shafer, V. L., Steinschneider, M. (In press). Language experience with a native-language phoneme sequence modulates the effects of attention on cortical sensory processing" Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience. Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience.

Wagner, M., Shafer, V. L., Haxhari, E., Kiprovsky, K., Blankemeier, K., Griffiths, T. (2017). Stability of the cortical sensory waveforms, the P1-N1-P2 and T-complex, of the auditory evoked potentials. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research60, 2105-2115.

Wagner, M., Roychoudhury, A., Campanelli, L., Shafer, V. L., Martin, B., Steinschneider, M. (2016). Representaton of spectro-temporal features of spoken words within the P1-N1-P2 and T-complex of the auditory evoked potentials (AEP). Neuroscience Letters, 614, 119-126.

Shafer V. L., Yu, Y. H., Wagner M. (2015). Maturation of neural indices of speech processing: T-complex. International Journal of Psychophysiology, Special Issue on Auditory Processing, 95, 77-93.

Wagner, M. Shafer, V. L., Martin, B., Steinschneider, M. (2013). The effect of native-language experience on the sensory-obligatory components, the P1-N1-P2 and the T-complex. Brain Research, 1522, 31-37.

Wagner M., Shafer V. L., Martin, B., Steinschneider, M. (2012). The phonotactic influence on perception of a consonant cluster /pt/ by native-English and native-Polish listeners: A behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) study. Brain and Language,123, 30-41.

Neuroscience Research Group

Recognition of Spoken Words within the Auditory Cortex

Dr. Wagner conducts research to uncover brain mechanisms that allow spoken words to be recognized for comprehension within auditory cortex.  Each spoken word that travels to the ear within sound waves contains unique characteristics that are transmitted to auditory cortex.  Wagner and colleagues have identified brain wave patterns within the auditory evoked potentials (AEP) that reflect recognition of these acoustic characteristics (Wagner et al., 2013; 2016).  These waveform patterns within the electroencephalogram (EEG) were found to be consistent for tasks that modified attention (Wagner et al., 2017; Wagner et al., in press).  This finding suggests that these AEP waveforms may be used to probe auditory processing deficits in individuals with language impairment and comorbid attentional deficits. Dr. Wagner’s current research explores gamma (high frequency) oscillatory activations to naturally spoken words in native-English and native-Polish speakers.  

Neural Speech Processing in Typical and Atypical Language Learners

Dr. Wagner’s research examining typical language learners has revealed neural correlates of phonemic representation and phonological working memory (Wagner et al., 2012; 2013; 2016).  Her current focus is to examine these neural processes in atypical language learners who demonstrate phonological processing deficits. This research will clarify contrasting psycholinguistic models. Some psycholinguistic models argue that weak phonemic representation explains phonological processing deficits associated with Specific Language Impairment and/or Dyslexia, while other models argue that poor phonological working memory explains the deficit. 

Wagner, M. Lee, J., Shafer, V. L. (March 25, 2017)

Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference "The effects of attention modulation on sensory processing of spoken words in native-English and native-Polish listeners" Cognitive Neuroscience Society, San Francisco, CA. Poster presentation

 

Wagner, M. (September 15, 2016)

Haskins Laboratories “Spectral and temporal feature processing of the spoken word reflected within the cortical sensory waveforms of the auditory evoked potentials (AEPs): Clinical application” Haskins Laboratories, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Invited Speaker

Yu, Y. H., Kamowski-Shakiba, M., Wagner, M., Shafer, V. L. (April 2, 2016)

Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference "Infant Mismatch Responses to Speech: The Interplay Between Language and Attention" Cognitive Neuroscience Society, New York, NY. Poster presentation

Shafer, V. L., Yu, Y. H., Wagner, M. (April 3, 2016)

Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference "Neural Responses to Vowel Stimuli in Monolingual and Bilingual 3-to 46-Month-Old Children" Cognitive Neuroscience Society, New York, NY. Poster Presentation

Wagner, M., O'Brian, C., Mingino, F., Haxhari, E., Hejazi, Z., Shafer, V. L. (April 3, 2016)

Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference "Stability of the P1-N1-P2 and T-Complex of the Auditory Evoked Potentials (AEP) to Natural Speech in Individual Subjects" Cognitive Neuroscience Society, New York, NY, Poster presentation

Wagner, M., Lee, J., Shafer, V. L. (January 4, 2016)

Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference "The effects of attention on the cortical sensory components, P1-N1-P2 and T-complex in native English and native Polish listeners" Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference, Tucson, AZ. Poster presentation

Higby, E., Wagner, M., Gwinner, A., Rinker, T., Shafer, V. L. (September 11, 2015)

7th Mismatch Negativity Conference "The Influence of Acoustic-Phonetics on the Processing of Complex Consonant onsets" Leipzig, Germany. Poster presentation

Wagner, M., Shafer, V. L. (April 5-8, 2014)

Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference “Representation of spectro-temporal features of fricative and stop-consonant word onsets within the sensory auditory-evoked potentials (AEPs) using single trial analysis” Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Boston, MA. Poster presentation

Wagner, M. ,Shafer, V. L. (November 6-8, 2013)

Society for Neurobiology of Language Conference “Representation of spectro-temporal features of fricative and stop-consonant word onsets within the sensory auditory-evoked potentials (AEPs), the P1-N1-P2 and T-complex, in individual listeners” Society for Neurobiology of Language, San Diego, CA. Poster presentation

Wagner, M., Shafer, V. L. (January 16-18, 2013)

CUNY Conference on the Feature in Phonology and Phonetics “The effect of exposure to the contextual feature of the /pt/ onset cluster in native-English and native-Polish listeners” CUNY Conference on the Feature in Phonology and Phonetics, New York, NY. Speaker