Associate Professor and Interim Chair

Dr. Michael Cannizzaro investigates brain and behavior relationships in typical and brain-injured populations. His research considers the role of the prefrontal cortex during complex communication and tasks that involve executive functions, and involves the study of discourse processing using behavioral and linguistic metrics to study communication in conjunction with neuroimaging to monitor task-related hemodynamics in the brain.

Dr. Cannizzaro’s lab uses modulated cortical activity (i.e., fNIRS & EEG) as a means of interfacing with computers for communication and environmental control. This “Brain Computer Interface” project is a joint undertaking between the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the Department of Computer Science, and the undergraduate neuroscience program. The work is sponsored in part through UVM’s Trans-disciplinary Neuroscience, Behavior and Health Initiative.

Dr. Cannizzaro has worked clinically as a speech-language pathologist and is experienced in the assessment and treatment of adults with acquired speech, language and cognitive deficits resulting from stroke, brain-injury, progressive neurodegenerative disorders, and psychiatric illness.


  • Hutchins, T. L., & Cannizzaro, M.S. (in press, expected 2014). Review of the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts - Bilingual Spanish-English version (SALT-SE). In J. F. Carlson, K. F. Geisinger, & R. A. Spies (Eds.), The nineteenth mental measurements yearbook. Lincoln, NE: The Buros Institute of Mental Measurements.
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., & Coelho, C. A. (2013). Analysis of Narrative Discourse Structure as an Ecologically Relevant Measure of Executive Function in Adults. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. 41(6): Published on-line November 2012: PubMed PMID:23192423 DOI 10.1007/s10936-012-9231-5 (Abstract)
  • Cannizzaro M.S., Dumas J., Prelock P.P., & Newhouse, P. (2012). Organizational structure reduces processing load in the prefrontal cortex during discourse processing of written language: Implications for high - level reading issues after TBI. Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders. 22(2): 67-78
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., & Coelho, C.A. (2012). Language and communication following executive dysfunction. In: Cognition and Acquired Language Disorders: An Information Processing Approach. R. Peach & L. Shapiro, Eds
  • Xu R, Mei G, Zhang G, Gao P, Judkins T, Cannizzaro M.S, Li J., (2012). A voice-based automated system for PTSD screening and monitoring. Studies in Health Technology Informatics. 2012;173:552-8. PubMed PMID: 22357057. (Abstract)
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., Allen, E.A., & Prelock, P.P. (2011). Perceptions of communicative competence after traumatic brain injury: Implications for ecologically driven intervention targets. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 13(6): 549-559 (doi:10.3109/17549507.2011.596571) (Abstract)
  • Myotte, T., Hutchins, T.L., Cannizzaro, M.S., & Belin, G. (2010). Understanding why SLPs rarely pursue the Ph.D. in communication sciences. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 31(2): 67 - 127.
  • Johnson, D. & Cannizzaro, M.S. (2009). Sentence comprehension in agrammatic aphasia: History and variability to clinical implications. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 23(1), 15-37. (Abstract)
  • Goberman, A.M., Johnson, S., Cannizzaro, M.S., & Robb, M.P. (2008). The effect of positioning on infant cries: Implications for sudden infant death syndrome. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 72(2), 153-165. (Abstract)
  • Mundt, J. M., Snyder, P.J., Cannizzaro, M. S., Chappie, K., & Geralts, D. S. (2007). Voice acoustic measures of depression severity and treatment response collected via interactive voice response (IVR) technology. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 20, 50-64. (Abstract)
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., Reilly, N. & Snyder, P.J. (2005). The negative symptom complex in schizophrenia is marked by both paucity of thought and motor slowing: A quantitative speech acoustic study. Brain and Cognition, Conference Proceedings from XV TENNET; 57(3), 276-289.
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., Cohen, H., Reppard, F. & Snyder, P.J. (2005). Bradyphrenia and bradykinesia both contribute to altered speech in persons with schizophrenia: A quantitative speech acoustic study. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology. 18, 206-210. (Abstract)
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., Reilly, N. & Snyder, P.J. (2005). Remote capture of human voice data by telephone: A methods study. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics. 19, 649-658. (Abstract)
  • Harel, B.T., Cannizzaro, M.S., Cohen, H., Reilly, N. & Snyder, P.J. (2004). Acoustic characteristics of Parkinsonian speech: A potential biomarker of early disease progression and treatment. Journal of Neurolinguistics. 17, 439-453.
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., Reilly, N. & Snyder, P.J. (2004). Speech content analysis in feigned depression. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 33, 289-301. (Abstract)
  • Cannizzaro, M.S., Harel, B. T., Reilly, N., Chappell, P., & Snyder, P.J. (2004). Voice acoustical measurement of the severity of major depression. Brain and Cognition, 56, 30-35. (Abstract)
  • Harel, B.T., Cannizzaro, M.S., & Snyder, P.J. (2004). Variability in fundamental frequency during speech in prodromal and incipient Parkinson's disease: A longitudinal case study. Brain and Cognition, 56, 24-29. (Abstract)
  • Reilly, N., Cannizzaro, M.S., Harel, B. T., & Snyder, P.J. (2004). Feigned depression and feigned sleepiness: A voice acoustical analysis. Brain and Cognition, 55, 383-386. (Abstract)
  • Cannizzaro, M.S. & Coelho, C.A. (2002). Treatment of story grammar following traumatic brain injury: A pilot study. Brain Injury, 16, 1065-1073. (Abstract)

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Analysis of prefrontal cortical function as measured by functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), task-related processing load during discourse / complex communication, comparison of discourse performance in brain injured and typical adults, cognitive-motor interference in neurodegenerative disorders (Multiple Sclerosis) - co-PI with Susan Kasser from Rehabilitation and Movement Science


  • Post-doctoral training with Pfizer Global Research & Development: The Neuropsychology of Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Ph.D., Communication Sciences and Disorders; University of Connecticut
  • M.S., Communication Disorders; University of New Hampshire
  • B.S., Speech Pathology; Nazareth College of Rochester


  • 802-656-9725
Office Location:

401 Pomeroy Hall