Faculty


Frank Manis

Professor of Psychology and Education

Contact Information
E-mail: manis@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-6567
Office: SGM 525A

LINKS
Curriculum Vitae
Faculty Profile on Departmental Website
Neuroscience Graduate Program
 

Biographical Sketch

Professor Frank Manis is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California, where he is currently serving as Director of Undergraduate Studies. He has published about 60 articles on reading disabilities, development of literacy in both the primary and secondary language and cognitive functioning in special populations of children. The major focus of his research has been on the identification of differences in cognitive profiles among children with reading difficulties. He reviews for several journals in the field, including Scientific Studies of Reading, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology and Developmental Psychology.

Education

  • B.A. Psychology, Pomona College, 1975
  • Ph.D. Psychology, University of Minnesota, 1/1981

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    • Assistant to Full Professor, University of Southern California, 09/01/1981-  

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    My work focuses on the cognitive, psycholinguistic and neurobiological bases of reading in children and adults, dyslexia, learning disabilities, and development of literacy in a second language. Recent projects include an investigation of brain activity in the occipito-temporal junction (or visual word form area) in dyslexic and non-dyslexic adults (with Zhong-Lin Lu, and graduate students Jennifer Bruno, Allison Zumberge and Jason Goldman), experiments on the perception of noise in visual and auditory stimuli (with Lu, and graduate student Rachel Beattie), a fluency-based intervention for middle schoolers with persistent reading problems (with Sally Spencer, Ed.D, 2008), and an investigation of the association between print exposure, reading skill and cortical thickness in skilled readers (with Jason Goldman, M.A., USC). I am also continuing analyses and publication of results from a 9-year longitudinal study of Spanish-speaking children learning to read, in collaboration with Kim Lindsey (Ph.D., 2002, USC) and Jonathan Nakamoto, Ph.D., 2009, USC).
    Research Keywords
    reading, cognitive development, dyslexia, learning disabilities, bilingual reading development, brain imaging
    Research Specialties
    reading development, dyslexia, learning disabilities, bilingual reading development, cognitive development in children
    Detailed Statement of Research Interests
    The major goals of my research are to understand how people learn to read and what goes wrong in developmental dyslexia. In order to learn to read, the brain must integrate systems that originally evolved for other purposes, such as linguistic communication and visual perception. In most individuals, the reading network in the brain is quite extensive, and includes the classic left hemisphere language regions where meanings and pronunciations appear to be computed (Wernicke's and Broca's areas) as well as regions that connect visual processing of print to the language network, such as the occipito-temporal junction, also known as the visual word form area (VWFA). Dyslexic individuals struggle to learn to read, and even as adults, show reduced activation in the reading network, including the VWFA, as well as compensatory activation in other regions of the brain. My research group is conducting studies in both children and adults to explore why dyslexic people have so much trouble learning to read, and what their problems can tell us about the normal process of reading. One line of work focuses on VWFA activation in adults with and without dyslexia. In a collaboration with Zhong-Lin Lu and two graduate students, Allison Zumberge (Neuroscience) and Jennifer Bruno (Psychology), I am using a novel fMRI methodology to isolate activation to printed words in the VWFA and analyze the properties of printed words that affect VWFA activation in dyslexic and non-dyslexic adults. The most salient reading problem for dyslexic children involves sounding out unfamiliar words (phonological decoding deficit). This deficit is thought to lead to problems in building up representations of words in the VWFA, and hence is developmentally primary. However, it is unclear what causes the phonological decoding problem. Two seemingly unrelated deficits occur in dyslexic children and adults who have phonological decoding deficits. The first involves visual magnocellular processing, as for example, in pattern recognition under conditions of low visual contrast, or perception of visual motion. The second involves the categorical perception of speech sounds. My colleagues and I think that these two areas of deficiency may be related. In experiments conducted with Anne Sperling (Neuroscience Ph.D., 2004) and Zhong-Lin Lu, we showed that the visual magnocellular deficit only occurred under noisy visual conditions, and furthermore that it was more salient among dyslexic children with oral language delays. In previous work with Patricia Keating (UCLA Phonetics Lab), my research group had demonstrated that the speech perception deficit was more severe among dyslexics with language deficits. We now hypothesize that a problem in forming perceptual categories in a noisy environment might underlie both the visual and auditory perception problems. In an ongoing study with Lu and graduate student Rachel Beattie, I am investigating whether dyslexic children show deficits in noise exclusion with both auditory and visual stimuli, and whether the noise perception problems are associated with poor phonological decoding and word recognition.

    Funded Research

    Contracts and Grants Awarded
    • Literacy Development In English Language Learners (Nat Inst of Child Health and Human Dev (NICHHD)), Lindsey, Kim Abkarian, Manis, Franklin R, $1,080,353, 05/01/2003-04/30/2009  
    • Bases Of Normal And Disordered Reading (Nat Inst of Child Health and Human Dev (NICHHD)), Manis, Franklin R, $1,742,626, 04/01/2002-03/31/2009  
    • Perceptual, Linguistic and Computational Bases of Dyslexia (NIH-NICHHD), Franklin Manis, $372,000, 02/01/1996-11/30/2000  

    Conferences and Other Presentations


    Conference Presentations
    • "Dropping the perceptual anchor hypothesis: Support for the noise exclusion hypothesis of dyslexia", Association for Psychological Science, Poster, Boston, MA, 2009-2010   
    • "Phonological activation in Chinese word reading: Evidence from the perspective of phonetically-informed phonology. ", Research in Reading Chinese and Related Languages, Talk/Oral Presentation, Refereed Paper, Toronto, Canada, 2009-2010   
    • "Phonological activation in meaning access for Chinese word reading: Evidence from the perspective of phonetically-informed phonology. ", Association for Psychological Science, Poster, Boston, MA, 2009-2010   
    • "The introductory psychology 'mini-course': A new strategy for organizing discussion sections. ", Association for Psychological Science, Poster, Boston, MA, 2009-2010   
    • "Cognitive bases of reading disability in Spanish-English bilingual children.", Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Poster, Refereed Asheville, North Carolina, 2008-2009  
    • "Contribution of early reading skill and language exposure to comprehension in English language learners", Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Poster, Refereed Boston, MA, 2008-2009  
    • "fMRI activation patterns predict reading ability in adults with and without developmental dyslexia", Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Poster, Refereed San Francisco, 2008-2009  
    • "Relationships among cortical thickness, reading skill and print exposure in adult readers", Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Poster, Refereed Boston, MA, 2008-2009  
    • "Teaching and learning about the whole child", Society for Research in Child Development Teaching Institute, Talk/Oral Presentation, Denver, CO, Invited, 2008-2009  
    • "Cognitive bases of reading disability in Spanish-English bilingual children", Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Poster, Refereed Asheville, NC, 2007-2008   
    • "fMRI activation patterns predict reading ability in adults with and without developmental dyslexia", Cognitive Neuroscience Society, Poster, Refereed San Francisco, CA, 2007-2008   

    Other Presentations
    • "Development of English language learners’ word decoding and reading comprehension from first through ninth grade", Biennial Meeting, Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, Canada, 2010-2011   
    • "The relationship between prosodic perception, phonological awareness, and vocabulary in emergent literacy ", Annual Meeting, Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, St. Petersberg, Florida, 2010-2011   

    Publications


    Book
    • Reid, G., Fawcett, A. J., Manis, F. R., Siegel, L. S. (2008). The Sage Handbook of Dyslexia. (Reid, G., Fawcett, A. J., Manis, F. R., Siegel, L. S., Ed.). London: Sage Publications Ltd.

    Book Chapter
    • Manis, F. R., Lindsey, K. A. (2010). Cognitive and oral language contributors to reading disabilities in Spanish-English bilingual children. Language and Literacy Development in Bilingual Set pp. 280-303. New York, NY: Guilford.
    • Manis, F. R., Lindsey, K. A. (2008). Exploring heterogeneity in developmental dyslexia: A longitudinal investigation. pp. 149-173. London: The Sage Handbook of Dyslexia.

    Journal Article
    • Beattie, R. L., Manis, F. R. (2011). Rise time perception in children with reading and additional non-phonological language difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities.
    • Beattie, R. L., Lu, Z., Manis, F. R. (2011). Dyslexic adults can learn from repeated stimulus presentation but have difficulties in excluding external noise. PLoS One.
    • Manis, F. R., Beattie, R. L. (2011). The relationship between prosodic perception, phonological awareness and vocabulary in emergent literacy. Journal of Research in Reading.
    • Nakamoto, J., Lindsey, K. A., Manis, F. R. (2011). Development of reading skills from K-3 in Spanish-speaking English language learners following three programs of instruction. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
    • Goldman, J. G., Orechwa, A. Z., Manis, F. R. (2011). Relationships among cortical thickness, reading skill and print exposure in adult readers. Scientific Studies of Reading.
    • Spencer, S. A., Manis, F. R. (2010). The effects of a fluency intervention program on the reading outcomes of middle school students. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice. Vol. 25 (2), pp. 76-86.
    • Nakamoto, J., Manis, F. R., Lindsey, K. A. (2008). A cross-linguistic investigation of English language learners’ reading comprehension in English and Spanish. Scientific Studies of Reading. Vol. 12 (4), pp. 351-371.
    • Bruno, J. L., Zumberge, A. A., Manis, F. R., Lu, Z., Goldman, J. G. (2008). Sensitivity to orthographic familiarity in the occipito-temporal region. NeuroImage. Vol. 39, pp. 1988-2001.
    • Nakamoto, J., Lindsey, K. A., Manis, F. R. (2007). A Longitudinal Analysis of English language learners word decoding and reading comprehension. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal/Springer. Vol. 20, pp. 691-719.
    • Bruno, J., Manis, F. R., Keating, P., Sperling, A. J., Nakamoto, J., Seidenberg, M. S. (2007). Auditory word identification in dyslexic and normally achieving readers. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology/Elsevier. Vol. 97, pp. 183-204.
    • Zumberge, A., Baker, L. A., Manis, F. R. (2007). Focus on words: Genetic and environmental influences in reading and inattention. Behavior Genetics/Kluwer Academic Press. Vol. 37, pp. 284-293.

    Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

    • Website, My Virtual Child (revision for Pearson Publishing), 2010-2011   
    • Educational Website, My Virtual Teen (Pearson Publishing), 2009-2010   

    Honors and Awards

    • USC Center for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty Fellow, Faculty Fellow, 9/1/2006-8/31/2009  

    Service to the Profession


    Editorships and Editorial Boards
    • Editorial Board, Scientific Studies of Reading, 2010-2011   
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 2007-2010  
    • Editor, Scientific Studies of Reading, 2003-2007  

    Professional Memberships
    • Association for Psychological Science, 2007-2011  
    • International Dyslexia Association, 2007-2011  
    • Society for Research in Child Development, 2007-2011  
    • Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, 2007-2011  




  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061