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Teaching at Berlin School of Mind and Brain: Meaning in mind and brain

This semester, Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedemann Pulvermüller will give the lecture "Meaning in mind and brain" at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain.

Language has been investigated from a range of perspectives. Linguists have described it as a formal system focusing on levels that range from phonology to syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Both linguists and psychologists worked on models focusing on the time course of linguistic processing, so that these psycholinguistic models could be tested in behavioral experiments. Most recently, neuroand cognitive scientists have attempted to spell out the brain mechanisms of language in terms of neuronal structure and function. These efforts are founded in neuroscience data about the brain loci that activate when specific linguistic operations occur, the time course of their activation and the effects of specific lesions.

The lecture series will provide a broad introduction into these linguistic, psycholinguistic and neurolinguistics research streams and highlight a range of cutting-edge behavioral and neuroscience findings addressing a broad range of linguistic issues, including, for example, the recognition of words, the parsing of sentences, the computation of the meaning and of the communicative function of utterances. Language development and language disorders caused by disease of the brain will also be in the focus. To accommodate language processing, psycho- and neurolinguists make use of theoretical and computational models. The modeling approaches discussed range from theoretical models of the language system to language processing to (neuro-)computationally implemented models. The 3 experimental approaches under discussion will range from behavioral (reaction time studies, eye tracking) to neuroimaging methods (EEG, MEG, fMRI, NIRS) and neuropsychological ones (patient studies, TMS, tDCS).

Preparatory readings:

Knoeferle, P., & Guerra, E. (2016). Visually situated language comprehension. Linguistics and Language Compass, 10(2), 66–82. https://doi.org/10.1111/lnc3.12177

Munster, K., & Knoeferle, P. (2017). Situated Language Processing Across the Lifespan: A Review. International Journal of English Linguistics, 7(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v7n1p1

Pulvermüller, F., & Fadiga, L. (2016). Brain language mechanisms built on action and perception. In G. Hickok & S. L. Small (Eds.), Neurobiology of language (pp. 311-324). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Pulvermuller, F. (2018). Neural reuse of action perception circuits for language, concepts and communication. Progress in Neurobiology, 160, 1-44. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2017.07.001

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