Faculty profile

Lyn Turkstra

Lyn Turkstra

Dept. of Communicative Disorders
474 Goodnight Hall
(608) 262-7583

Links: Department, Lab

Research Keywords

neurological communication disorders, social cognition, brain injury


  • Department of Communicative Disorders, Associate Professor
  • Neuroscience Training Program, affiliate
  • Department of Neurological Surgery, adjunct

Current Projects

  • Communication and Cognition Lab
  • Collaboration with Seth Pollak and Julia Evans (UCSD): Working memory for emotions in adolescents with specific language impairment or traumatic brain injury
  • Collaboration with Len Abbeduto: Social cognition in adolescent females with Fragile X Syndrome

Research Collaborators

  • Len Abbeduto, Educational Psychology
  • Julia Evans, San Diego State University

Representative Classes

  • Com Dis 503: Neuroscience of Speech, Hearing and Language
  • Com Dis 704: Acquired Language and Cognitive—Communication Disorders in Adults
  • Com Dis 751: Graduate Capstone—Communication Disorders in Adults

Research Statement

The broad goal of research in my laboratory is to understand the effects of cognitive impairments on communication ability in adolescents and adults with acquired neurologic disorders.

Most studies to date have focused on adolescents with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adolescents in the United States. TBI often has devastating effects on the individual’s performance in social, academic, and vocational settings, and communication ability has been identified as one of the most important predictors of long-term outcome. We are studying the relation of cognitive functions and social cognition to communication behavior, and how this differs between typical adolescents and their peers with TBI. This knowledge will enable us to design interventions that will lead to improved participation in social life. Although adolescents and young adults with TBI are the main study population, our studies also involve other populations characterized by social communication challenges, including individuals with acquired neurological disorders such as tumor or stroke, and those with developmental disorders such as autism and Asperger Syndrome.

Selected Publications

  • Turkstra, L. S. (2006). Looking while listening and speaking: Eye-to-face gaze in adolescents with and without traumatic brain injury. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48(6):1429-1441.
  • Turkstra, L.S., Brehm, S.E., & Montgomery, E.B. Jr. (2006). Analyzing conversational discourse: It’s about time. Brain Impairment 7(3):234-245.
  • Turkstra, L.S., Coelho, C., & Ylvisaker, M. (2005). The use of standardized tests for individuals with cognitive-communication disorders. Seminars in Speech and Language, 26(4):215-22.
  • Turkstra, L., & Bourgeois, M. (2005). Intervention for a modern day HM: Errorless learning of practical goals. Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology, 13(3):205-212.
  • Turkstra, L. S., Dixon, T. M., & Baker, K. K. (2004). Theory of mind and social beliefs in adolescents with traumatic brain injury. NeuroRehabilitation, 19(3), 245-256.
  • Montgomery, E., & Turkstra, L. (2003). Evidence-based medicine: Let's be reasonable. Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology, 11(2):ix-xii.