Dr. Susan Curtiss

Prof. Susan Curtiss

Department of Linguistics
3125 Campbell Hall
Los Angeles CA 90095-1543


Susan Curtiss' main fields of interest fall within psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics. Her work is focused in four areas. First, she studies grammatical development in children with SLI and the ways and reasons why it differs from grammatical development in normally developing children. This work has found considerable overlap with normal children in the patterns and "stages" of grammatical development alongside impaired auditory processing mechanisms which slow and impede linguistic growth. Second, she is interesed in maturational constraints on first language development ("Critical period" effects), and her work indicates that the greatest effects are on syntax and syntactically-driven morphology and that these effects increase with age at acquisition. Third, her work on hemispheric specialization for language and language acquisition has found surprising similarities in linguistic performance in different clinical types of adult acquired aphasias, and in children, significant delays and impairments in language development after damage to both hemispheres. Fourth, her work on the modularity of grammar has resulted in empirical evidence that grammar is a distinct cognitive module in development and adulthood.

Selected Publications