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4. Neurosemantics


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.


The sounds of meaning: Investigating the functional interaction between action sounds and semantics

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.