Prof Margaret Dowens

Professor in English Studies/Applied Linguistics

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Personal profile

Research Interests

My current neurolinguistic research is in the areas of bi/multilingualism and the effects of aging on language learning. It is mainly concerned with how a second language (L2) is processed when learned at different life stages and how features of the L1 can influence the learning and on-line processing of the L2. To study these questions, I use both off-line behavioural measures such as accuracy and reaction times and on-line neuroimaging techniques such as Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to record and analyse the brain electrical activity of monolinguals as well as early and late bilinguals, while they read or listen to sentences and words. I am currently involved in several collaborative projects with researchers in China and Europe, investigating morphosyntax processing and visual word and character processing in language combinations including English, Spanish and Chinese. I am also interested in the effects of late second language learning on cognitive aging and the applications of these findings to language learning and teaching. As Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Laboratory (CNLL) here at UNNC I also supervise a number of other research projects in areas such as neuroeconomics, neuromarketing, mathematics processing, and other areas of psychology, learning and education.

Personal profile

Before coming to China I spent much of my life in Spain, where I taught languages and trained language teachers and language interpreters before pursuing a career in Psychology. After a brief spell as a psychotherapist, I returned to my earlier interest in language processing and began to research different aspects of bilingualism from a Cognitive Neuroscience perspective. Most of my research now involves designing and carrying out experiments in our Neurolinguistics and Behavioural Laboratories to explore how the brain deals with processing in two or more languages However, I have continued to be passionately interested in teacher development, classroom pedagogy and other learning and teaching issues.

Working on this international, multicultural and multilingual campus not only provides me with the opportunity to explore all of my research interests but also enables me to experiment with my own teaching and with developing new areas of knowledge in an exciting, dynamic and truly unique environment.



  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Academic Community
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Brain and Language
  • Fundamentals of Research Methods


  • Psychology of Language
  • Research Methods

Person Types

  • Staff


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