Glenda Molina Onario

Postdoctoral Research Associate
(401) 863-5182
Office Location: 
Metcalf 151

Welcome! My name is Glenda Molina Onario and I am a recent graduate of the CLPS Department here at Brown. I completed my doctoral degree in Cognitive Science with a focus on early language development. My research interests center around understanding how early atypical experiences might shape and modulate developmental processes such as language acquisition.

For my dissertation I ran a longitudinal study investigating differences in receptive language skills between full-term and preterm infants. Specifically, I compared sensitivities to native language sound structures (e.g., lexical stress and phonotactics) and word form representations (e.g., detection of mispronunciations and speed and efficacy of word recognition) as well as the contribution these have on language outcomes in toddlerhood. Understanding how early development differs across populations of full-term and preterm infants is critical as the latter is known to be at risk for language delays. Yet, to date, little is known about the sources of variability that contribute to poor language outcomes in preterm children. What is clear is that preterm infants spend critical periods of development outside of the womb, bombarded with complex auditory and other perceptual stimuli weeks, if not months, before their full-term counterparts. At the same time, these infants are deprived of the structured, low-pass filtered speech full-term fetuses are exposed to and that is known to be important for native-language recognition at birth.

The motivation behind longitudinal work, such as that done for my dissertation, is to gain knowledge about the earliest skills that can be used as potential indicators of future language delay not just in preterm but also in full-term populations. This is critical for the development and successful implementation of early intervention strategies.

Currently, I am helping Dr. James Morgan with a longitudinal study focused on further exploration of the roles played by early receptive language skills, linguistic input, and cognitive abilities on language outcomes in toddlerhood and the early school years.

Before Brown I attended Tufts University, where I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology and Spanish Literature (Class of 2004, GO JUMBOS!).