Dana is a research scientist and professor, whose primary research focuses on the cognitive processes surrounding human memory and language, particularly within the domain of bilingualism.
During her undergraduate training, she received a B.S. in Biology (with minors in Chemistry and Psychology) and a B.A. in French (minor in Spanish). She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University at Albany, State University of New York where she worked with Dr. Jeanette Altarriba in the Language and Cognition Laboratory, examining the mental processes involved in language and emotion word processing. Within the domain of human memory and language, much of Dana’s research focuses on second language acquisition and on the cognitive mechanisms that underlie these processes. Recently, her research has explored the mental processes involved when bilinguals translate words across languages. Are words that have more than one translation across languages (or do not have any direct translation across languages) processed differently than words that have a direct translation across languages? Specifically, Dana’s research has examined the mechanisms that underlie emotion word translation, as speakers of multiple languages often report more difficulty trying to translate emotional concepts – which often do not have a direct translation across languages. This issue is further complicated by the fact that languages usually differ in the number of emotional concepts available in each language.
In addition to research focused on translation processes, emotional language, and communication, Dana continues to have a strong interest in cross-cultural psychology and issues that have a global influence. As a result, she has taught both undergraduate and graduate students on multiple continents (Africa, Asia, & North America). She has been invited to present her research in spoken sessions all over the world, including five continents and in more than one dozen countries. Recently, she was invited to participate in the summer lecture series at the Renmin University in Beijing, China, where her course earned a #6 ranking out of 146 courses from invited foreign scholars. All of these opportunities have provided Dana with a proven ability to work with students and faculty from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Specific research interests include:
Brain and Language: neurological components of bilingualism; second language acquisition and translation processes, bilingual memory representation; aging and bilingualism; speech perception and the processing of foreign accents; language aphasia and language recovery; child language acquisition; morphological processing in first and second languages
Emotion: neurological components involved in the processing of emotion; emotion representation in first and second languages; processing of emotional stimuli across cultures; the relationship between emotion and memory
Social and Cross-Cultural: interaction between language and culture; social cognition; stereotype representations in memory; the effects of poverty on social and cognitive development
In addition to her research, Dana has taught courses in Neuropsychology, Statistics, Research Methods, Memory and Cognition, Psycholinguistics, and many more at the University at Albany, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Skidmore College, and the United States International University in Kenya, East Africa.