Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Research

Time in the brain’s language: Spatio-temporal configuration of neurolinguistic  circuits in health and disease

We explore the dynamic processes of storage and access of linguistic representations in the brain, specifically:

  • Neural memory circuits for words, their functional properties and spatio-temporal dynamics of their activity,
  • Interactions between language and other cognitive systems, and between neurolinguistic representations (incl. morphosyntax and neuropragmatics)
  • Formation of neurolinguistic memory traces in language learning,
  • Their decay with ageing and breakdown in neural deficits.
  • Furthermore, we are developing neuroscience-based methods for assessing linguistic abilities in various communication impairments.

Our theoretical approach conceptualises linguistic representations as distributed cortical circuits formed via neurobiological associative-learning mechanisms. They encompass a network of brain areas and activate rapidly, automatically and in parallel, enabling fast processing of all incoming information. We continue to specify this model by scrutinising the time course and neural substrates of neurolinguistic activations through the temporally-precise methods of MEG/EEG in combination with other imaging, behavioural and computational tools, capturing the real-time dynamics of linguistic processes.

Our techniques employ unparalleled fine-grain scrutiny of brain activations and are unique in precision-matching stimuli for multiple factors, strictly controlling their acoustic make-up, psycholinguistic properties, word recognition points etc., and in ruling out the influence of tasks and experimental strategies by explicitly controlling attention and using non-attend designs.