Jonathan Brennan: Computing meanings in the brain

Computational Neurolinguistics Lab

“Our lab studies the mental structures and computations used to understand words and sentences, and how these processes are implemented in the brain. We use tools from formal linguistics, cognitive psychology, computational linguistics and cognitive neuroscience. We have an interest in methods that allow for the study of language under relatively natural circumstances, such as reading or listening to a story.

The apparent effortlessness of understanding speech owes to the finely tuned interactions between a wide range of complex cognitive systems, including those responsible for identifying what words are being said and what they mean, for fitting words into a sentence structure, and for determining the complex meanings and implications expressed by phrases and sentences. We approach the challenge of understanding these systems by combining computationally explicit models of each cognitive operation with data drawn from a wide range of neuroscience tools, including electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).”

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