The Team

Dr Fang Liu (PI)

Fang Liu is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading. She received her PhD in Linguistics and MS in Statistics from the University of Chicago. Her research aims to understand how the human brain processes pitch information for linguistic and musical purposes during production and perception. Her current areas of research include speech prosody in tone versus non-tonal languages, pitch processing in typical and atypical populations, speech/music production and perception, and cognitive and neural bases of pitch processing.


Professor Cunmei Jiang (Co-I)

Cunmei Jiang is a Professor of Musicology in the Music College at Shanghai Normal University, China. She received her PhD in Musicology from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 2005. She then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Jiang has a wide variety of research interests, including music psychology, music performance, and Mozart piano music. Her current research focuses on congenital amusia, comparison between music and speech processing, music emotion, and therapeutic effects of music on speech disorders (particularly on aphasia and autism).


Dr Caitlin Dawson

Caitlin Dawson is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Reading.  She received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Helsinki where she studied the effects of native language and musical expertise on early auditory processing in speakers of different languages. Her areas of interest include processing of pitch in speech and music and neuroplasticity related to auditory processing in children and typical and atypical populations. She is currently working on the ‘CAASD’ project, examining music and language processing in CA and ASD using behavioural and neuroimaging methods.


Dr Chen Zhao

Chen Zhao is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Reading.  She received her PhD in Medicine from The University of Manchester. She has experience in using neuroscience tools to study language and social-emotion development in children. She is currently working on the ‘CAASD’ project, exploring music and language comprehension and prediction in Mandarin speaking children.


Dr Jia Hoong Ong

Jia Hoong Ong is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Reading.  He received his PhD in Psychology from Western Sydney University in Australia, and then did a postdoc in the Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. His research interests include statistical learning, language & music, individual differences, memory, speech perception, and music cognition. He is currently working on the ‘CAASD’ project, exploring category learning, emotion processing, and mental representation of speech and music in amusia and autism.


Florence Leung

Florence Leung is a PhD student at the University of Reading.  She graduated with a BSc in Psychology from the University of Bristol in 2015 and an MSc in Development, Disorders and Clinical Practice from the University of York in 2016. During her academic studies, Florence investigated research topics across the psycholinguistic field, including the identification of orthographic representational unit in Chinese handwritten production as well as the fundamental constraint on grammar learning in children and adults. Florence is in her second year of the PhD program working on the ‘CAASD’ project under Dr. Fang Liu’s supervision along with the research team where her research focuses on emotion processing in CA and ASD.


Anamarija Veic

 Anamarija Veic is a PhD student at the University of Reading.  “I believe my academic journey started long before my PhD study. I started volunteering with individuals with autism quite early, while I was still in high school. That kind of experience led me to BSc in Psychology since back then I was still unsure whether I am the right person for dealing with such individuals. Gaining both experience and confidence, I finished a MSc in Developmental Disorders at Lancaster University. And today I might proudly say I am doing my PhD in cross-linguistic studies of music and language processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Looking forward to exploring the field trying to answer the questions which still haven’t been answered.”


Li (Alice) Wang

Alice Wang is a PhD student at the University of Reading. She completed her BA in Chinese Language and Literature and her MA in Experimental Linguistics. Her research focused on the analysis of the lengthening ratio of unmarked interrogative sentences, declarative sentences, and focused sentences in Guangzhou Mandarin. She also compared Guangzhou Mandarin with Standard Mandarin in order to help Cantonese speakers to learn Standard Mandarin. Alice is currently in her first year of the PhD program working on the ‘CAASD’ project under Dr. Fang Liu’s supervision where her research focuses on mental representation of musical and linguistic pitch in Mandarin speakers with ASD.


Alex Bacon

Alex Bacon is the lab manager.  He studies the BSc Psychology programme, and is a third year placement student at the CAASD lab. He hopes to gain experience in a research field in areas he enjoys thoroughly, such as music and language production. In the future, Alex hopes to go into further research into similar fields, such as music psychology and how emotion can affect language and music.