Site Search

Martin Monti, Ph.D.

Work Email Address:

Office Address:
7461E Franz Hall


Work Phone Number:
(310) 825-8546

Login to the Faculty Database

Department / Division Affiliations
Assistant Professor, Cognitive Psychology
Member, Brain Research Institute

Research Interest:

Cognitive neuroscience

Dr. Monti's research employs the methods of cognitive neuroscience, and in particular fMRI, to address two of the most fundamental aspects of being human: (1) What is the relationship between language and thought? Does 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? 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 (e.g., Vegetative State)? How do we ever know that someone, other 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. This 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 Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) that may allow patients to interact with their environment just by "thinking".