The question how meaning is processes and represented in human mind and brain is addressed using brain theory, network simulations and experimental research with neurophysiological and neuropsychological methods. One of our key observations is that the meaning of words and constructions is manifest in specific predictable topographical patterns of brain activation, for example in the motor system. We are currently exploring aspects of the abstract meaning of words and constructions, guided by neurosemantic models.Projects
Recent research has shown that cognitive-semantic memory accesses, as well as phonemic process-es are grounded in knowledge about actions and perceptions; however it remains under debate to what degree linguistic phonemic and semantic processes are influenced by, and functionally depend on, action and perception mechanisms. We address these questions by investigating priming effects, manifest at the behavioural and neurophysiological levels, between the processing of action sounds and conceptual-linguistic information. The functional relationship (i) between the processing of action sounds and of words typically used to speak about actions, and (ii) between non-linguistic acoustic signals and phonemic speech sounds.This poject might help to evaluate current theories about grounded cognition that postulate a functional and causal role of sensory and motor mechanisms in conceptual and linguistic processing.Publications:
- Mollo, G., Pulvermüller, F., & Hauk, O. (2016). Movement priming of EEG/MEG brain responses for action-words characterizes the link between language and action. Cortex, 74. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2015.10.021
- Dreyer, F. R., Frey, D., Arana, S., von Saldern, S., Picht, T., Vajoczy, P. & Pulvermüller, F. (2015). Is the motor system necessary for processing action and abstract emotion words? Evidence from focal brain lesions. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1661. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01661
- Moseley, R.L., Shtyrov, Y., Mohr, B., Lombardo, M.V., Baron-Cohen, S., Pulvermüller, F. (2015). Lost for emotion words: What motor limbic brain activity reveals about autism and semantic theory. NeuroImage 104. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.09.046
- Pulvermüller, F. (2013). How neurons make meaning: Brain mechanisms for embodied and abstract-symbolic semantics. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17.
- Moseley, R., Carota, F., Hauk, O., Mohr, B., & Pulvermüller, F. (2012). A role for the motor system in binding abstract emotional meaning. Cerebral Cortex, 22 (7). http//doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhr238
- Pulvermüller, F. (2005). Brain mechanisms linking language and action. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 6.