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Welcome to the MontiLab!

Click here to see my recent TEDx talk!

MartinTEDxCCThe MontiLab is a research laboratory at the University of California Los Angeles, headed by Dr. Martin M. Monti. The laboratory is housed in the Psychology Department, but we are also part of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA.

In my laboratory we focus on two of the most fundamental aspects of being human:

  1. The interplay between language and thought
  2. Consciousness and cognition in coma, vegetative and minimally conscious state

1. What is the relationship between language and thought? 
LangThoughtDoes language make us special? One of the most striking features of human cognition is the ability to generate an infinite number of ideas by combining a finite set of elements according to structure-dependent principles. This ability is most clearly displayed in language, but also characterizes other aspects of our cognition such as drawing inferences, performing mental arithmetic or music cognition. Does language enable other types of structure-dependent cognition? Does the structure of natural language provide a scaffolding on which to build other forms of high-level cognition? In my research I employ behavioral and fMRI tools in healthy volunteers and patients to address these questions.


2. How is consciousness lost and recovered after severe brain injury?

FW_YesNo_smHow do we ever know that someone, MontiSannita_2016_Book_Cover_Springerother than ourselves, is 
conscious? Philosophical considerations aside, this issue is at the heart of one of the most challenging and least understood conditions of the human brain: the Vegetative State. thalamus ultrasoundThis is a condition in which, after severe brain injury, patients are awake but not aware. In my research I focus on brain processing and consciousness in these patients, to try to ameliorate diagnostic procedures and to develop new interventions that may help recovery.


Media Report — Using ultrasounds to ‘jump-start’ the brain after coma (see the media coverage and news section)

Media Report — fMRI reveals activity in former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon: Interview (see the related news section for more info)

Media Report — Discover Magazine: My research is elected Top Story #41 of 2010 (see the related news section for more info)

Want to join the lab?

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