Dr. Lorna Quandt

VL2 Co-Director, PEN; Science Director, ML2 & Director, ABL, and Associate Professor

Dr. Lorna Quandt is an Associate Professor in the PEN Program and Co-Director of the Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) Center. Dr. Quandt serves as the Science Director of the Motion Light Lab and, in early 2016, founded the Action & Brain Lab (ABL).

Dr. Quandt's ABL team uses EEG and other psychophysiological measures to investigate the neural substrates of action, gesture, sign language, and communication. Topics include experience-dependent neuroplasticity, visual perception, and the application of learning sciences to educational technology development.

Dr. Quandt earned an undergraduate degree from Haverford College, where she used ERPs to investigate mood disorders, error monitoring, and social neuroscience. She then worked in Dr. Elizabeth Sowell's Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the University of California Los Angeles, doing neuropsychological testing and longitudinal fMRI imaging. Her primary work there examined the effects of prenatal teratogens on working memory function during childhood.

Dr. Quandt earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at Temple University in 2013, concentrating in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She conducted doctoral work in Dr. Peter Marshall's lab at Temple. Her graduate work examined alpha and beta EEG rhythms to investigate how varying experiences with action might affect neural activity during subsequent action observation.

During her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, while working with Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, Dr. Quandt investigated how visual perception and sensorimotor systems interact, particularly concerning action processing. She used univariate and multivariate functional neuroimaging (MVPA) to examine how and where action representations might exist in the brain. She also studied the relations between action language (e.g., verbs) and perception.


Dr. Quandt continues to be interested in the neural substrates of how experiences shape our perceptions, especially regarding visual perception in deaf people and the effect of signed language experience upon sensation. Since 2018, Dr. Quandt has led a team developing a virtual reality game for sign language learning, applying principles of embodied learning to create an interactive learning environment. This work has led to new avenues of research concerning the development and utility of virtual human signers and best practices at the intersection of signed languages and emerging technology.