Ph.D., Neuroscience, The University of Western Ontario, 2014
M.Sc., Neuroscience, The University of Western Ontario, 2009
B.Sc., Molecular Biology & Genetics, The University of Guelph, 2007
Cognitive neuroscience; Educational neuroscience; Functional neuroimaging; Reading development; Language development; Spoken word recognition; Word learning; Attentional control; Learning disabilities; Multilingualism
Jeffrey Malins is an assistant professor in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience and Developmental Psychology. He is also affiliated faculty with the Center for Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy, the Neuroscience Institute, and the Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging and Data Science (TReNDS). Prior to joining the faculty at GSU, he was an Associate Research Scientist in Pediatrics at Yale University. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Haskins Laboratories, where he remains a Research Affiliate. His work has been supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Manton Foundation, and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Co-Investigator, “Differential diagnostics in learning disabilities”, NIH/NICHD P50 HD027802, 07/2017-06/2022 (E.G. Willcutt, PI).
Co-PI, “Parallel studies of novelty-processing circuits in humans and mice”, Brains & Behavior Seed Grant (Internal to Georgia State University), 07/2020-07/2021 (J.P. Hamm, PI)
- Factors that influence how individuals learn new words
- Brain networks underlying response to intervention for reading disability
- Overlap between reading and attentional control brain networks
- Biological foundations of brain activation variability
- How diverse experiences with spoken language shape the brain networks supporting reading and language development
Research in my lab focuses on the brain networks that support reading, spoken language processing, and attentional control. We use methodologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), EEG, and eyetracking to study how these networks overlap, diverge, and change over the course of learning. We also examine how different biological, cognitive, and environmental factors shape the connectivity of these networks. In our research, we work with numerous populations of learners, including school-age children, adolescents, and adults; individuals with reading, language, and/or attention deficits; and individuals who speak or read more than one language.
As a mentor, I enjoy working with students from many different disciplines, including developmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, education and learning sciences, clinical psychology, and communication sciences. In the coming years, I look forward to continuing to work with the GSU community to connect brain research with current practices in education in order to help all individuals reach their learning potential.
Currently, in the GSU Language Organization, Brain, and Education (GLOBE) Lab, we are using neuroimaging to better understand the foundation of cognitive skills in different populations of learners. For example, we recently helped develop an fMRI paradigm that simultaneously indexes the brain networks supporting reading and attentional control (Arrington, Malins, et al., 2019, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience). We are now using this paradigm to clarify the biological foundations of co-occurring reading and attentional control deficits in children.
In addition, we are using neuroimaging to gain insights into the dynamics of learning. Using an fMRI reading task, we recently discovered that a certain amount of variability in brain activity may be beneficial for reading development (Malins et al., 2018, Journal of Neuroscience). Along with collaborators at Georgia State University, we are now characterizing the biological foundations of neural variability in order to understand why children show different degrees of response to a phonologically-based reading intervention.
Third, we are interested in the factors that influence word learning in different populations of learners, including children with reading and language challenges (Malins et al., 2020, Developmental Science). We are currently planning several studies investigating how sleep and time of day of learning influence how individuals learn and remember similarly sounding words.
When studying language and literacy development, we think it is important to consider the role of diverse experiences with language. We are currently working with colleagues in Beijing to study the dynamics of spoken word processing in adult native Mandarin Chinese speakers who are learning English (e.g., Xue et al., 2020, Neuropsychologia). We are also conducting experiments to evaluate how dual language experience contributes to the brain networks that support reading development in children.
Malins, J.G., Landi, N., Ryherd, K., Frijters, J.C., Magnuson, J.S., Rueckl, J.G., Pugh, K.R., Sevcik, R., & Morris, R. (2020). Is that a pibu or a pibo? Children with reading and language deficits show difficulties learning and remembering phonologically similar pseudowords. Developmental Science, e13023. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.13023
Xue, J., Li, B., Yan, R., Gruen, J.R., Feng, T., Joanisse, M.F., & Malins, J.G. (2020). The temporal dynamics of first and second language processing: ERPs to spoken words in Mandarin-English bilinguals. Neuropsychologia, 146, 107562. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107562
Arrington, C.N., Malins, J.G., Winter, R., Mencl, W.E., Pugh, K.R., & Morris, R. (2019). Examining individual differences in reading and attentional control networks utilizing an oddball fMRI task. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 38, 100674. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100674
Malins, J.G., Pugh, K.R., Buis, B., Frost, S.J., Hoeft, F., Landi, N., Mencl, W.E., Kurian, A., Staples, R., Molfese, P., Sevcik, R.A., & Morris, R. (2018). Individual differences in reading skill are related to trial-by-trial neural activation variability in the reading network. Journal of Neuroscience, 38(12), 2981-2989. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0907-17.2018
Landi, N., Malins, J.G., Frost, S.J., Magnuson, J., Molfese, P., Ryherd, K., Rueckl, J.G., Mencl, W.E., & Pugh, K.R. (2018). Neural representations for newly learned words are modulated by overnight consolidation, reading skill, and age. Neuropsychologia, 111, 133-144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.01.011
Wang, X., Wang, J., & Malins, J.G. (2017). Do you hear ‘feather’ when listening to ‘rain’? Lexical tone activation during unconscious translation: Evidence from Mandarin-English bilinguals. Cognition, 169, 15-24. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.07.013
Shuai, L., & Malins, J.G. (2017). Encoding lexical tones in jTRACE: A simulation of monosyllabic spoken word recognition in Mandarin Chinese. Behavior Research Methods, 49(1), 230-241. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-015-0690-0
Malins, J. G., Gumkowski, N., Buis, B., Molfese, P., Rueckl, J. G., Frost, S. J., Pugh, K. R., Morris, R., & Mencl, W. E. (2016). Dough, tough, cough, rough: A “fast” fMRI localizer of component processes in reading. Neuropsychologia, 91, 394-406. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.08.027
Malins, J.G., Gao, D., Tao, R., Booth, J., Shu, H., Joanisse, M.F., Liu, L., & Desroches, A.S. (2014). Developmental differences in the influence of phonological similarity on spoken word processing in Mandarin Chinese. Brain & Language, 138, 38-50. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2014.09.002
Malins, J.G., Desroches, A.S., Robertson, E.K., Newman, R.L., Archibald, L.M.D., & Joanisse, M.F. (2013). ERPs reveal the temporal dynamics of auditory word recognition in Specific Language Impairment. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 5, 134-148. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2013.02.005