Gary Dell studies language production–the mental and neural processes involved in articulating words and sentences. He has developed computational neural network models of these processes and uses these models to understand how language production breaks down. The key feature of the models is that they can simulate the everyday speech errors produced by speakers of all ages, as well as speakers with aphasia arising from brain damage such as stroke. He also studies how the language production system implicitly learns the statistical structure of the words and sounds that it produces, and what this learning process tells us about language acquisition.
Dell is Professor of Psychology and Linguistics at UIUC and has been appointed to the Beckman Institute since his arrival on campus in 1989. He is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Cognitive Science Society, the Psychonomics Society, the Association for Psychological Science, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2015, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.