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Vorlesung: Language and the brain

Language and the brain


Koordination: Friedemann Pulvermüller (FUB)

Ort: Online

Zeit: Mo, 12-14 Uhr

Erster Termin: 19.04.2021

Unterrichtssprache: Englisch/Deutsch

Teilnehmerzahl: offen

Platzbeschränkung: Nein

Teilnahmepflicht: Ja

SWS: 2




HU moodle: Course 32851: Language and the Brain; Key: VLLangBrain21; Link: https://moodle.hu-berlin.de/course/view.php?id=103466

19.04.2021 - Introduction, When do we understand?


Time: Summer term 2021, Mondays 12:15-13:45; start: 19 April 2021

Venue: Zoom link: 


Meeting-ID: 629 4845 8406; Password: 361586

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, neuro- and 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 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).

Complementing the lecture series, a tutorial will be offered by Isabella Boux and Daniela Palleschi, each PhD students at the Einstein Center for Neurosciences and the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. The tutorial will deepen the lecture contents, in part by discussing specific relevant articles with theoretical and experimental focus. Together with the lectures, the tutorial will familiarize students with current research (questions) in the field of language and the brain.

This lecture series is open to students at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain as well as for students of linguistics at both HU and FU Berlin.

Readings (course preparation):

Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., & Hyams, N. (2013). An introduction to language. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.

Hickok, G., & Small, S. L. (Eds.). (2016). Neurobiology of Language. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

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