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Regular version of the site

Neurolinguistics Thursday

The Centre for language and brain, HSE holds a regular scientific seminar "Neurolinguistic Thursday" (usually Thursday 16:00-18:00). Seminar leaders are I. R. M. Bastiaanse (scientific supervisor of the Center) and O. V. Dragoi (Director of the Center). At the seminar, invited speakers and staff of the Center make presentations, we discuss new and current projects of the Center, published news in the wide area of the relationship between language and brain.

November 29, 2018
Lector:  Svetlana Dorofeeva. Center for Language and Brain.
Topic: Reading and phonological processing in 7-to-11 year-old Russian children.
Lector: Anastasiya Lopukhina. Center for Language and Brain.
Topic: The acquisition of ergativity in 3-5 year-old Georgian children.

November 13-14, 2018
Lector: Yosef Grodzinsky. Department of Cognitive Science & ELSC, The Hebrew University, Israel.
Topic: Brain bases for semantics: neurological and clinical issues.
Abstract: We use language for communication; we also use it for reasoning: when I (truthfully) tell you that my dogs are big and brown, you are in a position to infer that (i) there exists a plurality of dogs; (ii) I own (at least some of) these dogs; (iii) all the dogs that I own are big; (iv) all of them are brown. The information you can extract from this sentence goes way beyond the lexical meaning of the 6 words it contains. But you can only extract it if you are in possession of grammatical and logical tools – knowledge sources stored in your brain. What is the nature of this knowledge and the mechanisms that put it to use? Can we separate knowledge of language and knowledge of logic? Are we the only fortunate species to have these resources at our disposal? These questions have long intrigued logicians, linguists, and evolutionists.
I will address some of these questions by providing arguments for the neural separability of logical and linguistic operations. I will begin with a review of the current evidence (and positions) on how language is represented in the brain and motivate a semantic composition approach, on which I will elaborate a bit. I will show that it is relevant if we wish to understand not only how we construct meaningful sentences and interpret them, but also, how we reason when we make plans and evaluate the truth or falsity of other people’s claims.
I will argue that the study of negation (“no”, “not” etc.) is a good start, since negation is central to the determination of meaning and to reasoning, as it reverses the direction of logical entailments: from the sentence there are children in the room you can infer that there are humans in the room (but not vice versa); when negated, entailment direction is reversed: there are no humans in the room entails there are no children in the room. Yet isolating negation experimentally is not easy. I will review a series of behavioral and neuroimaging experiments (conducted at HUJI, McGill, and FZ Jülich), in which we used linguistic and logical tools to isolate effects of negation behaviorally. We then localized the neural basis of negation in the anterior part of the left insula, distinct from, but adjacent to, the language areas. A corresponding well-delineated cytoarchitectonic region was subsequently identified, and its properties were studied. We have further conducted parallel investigations in individuals with aphasia subsequent to focal brain-damage. I will discuss potential clinical implications of these results.
I will review not just the experiments and their results, but also, provide the details of the psycholinguistic, neuropsychological (aphasia), imaging, and anatomical methods that we use. As this research requires a multi-disciplinary approach, I will explain the various methodologies we use.
I will then discuss what our results tell us about the boundary between language and logic and argue that they mark the line at which language stops and logic begins. I do so in the context of other relevant results and conclude by offering some speculations on why logical operations are located where they are, and not elsewhere. I will, in short, use an emerging picture from neurolinguistics to reflect on what it is to be human, and on how studies of language and logic may help us to understand ourselves a bit better.

November 8, 2018
Lectors: Olga Soloukhina, Olga Buivolova. Center for Language and Brain.
Topic: The overview of talks at the International Aphasia Rehabilitation Conference (Portugal) and the Academy of Aphasia (Canada).

November 1, 2018
Lectors: Ekaterina Stupina, Evgenii Kalenkovich. Center for Language and Brain, Centre for Cognition & Decision Making.
Topic: Phonemic representations in speech recognition.

October 17, 2018
Lectors: Olga Dragoy, Svetlana Malyutina, Julia Akinina, Anna Laurinavichyute, Anastasiya Lopukhina, Mariya Khudyakova, Vardan Arutiunian. Center for Language and Brain.
Topic: Summer neurolinguistics school 2019 and other training events, organized by the Center for Language and Brain in 2019.

October 11, 2018
Lectors: Julia Akinina, Svetlana Malyutina, Anastasiya Lopukhina. Center for Language and Brain.
Topic: The overview of talks at the Science of Aphasia XIX conference (Italy), The 11th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon (Canada), The 2nd workshop "Neurobiology of Speech and Language" (Russia), and “Revising in Response to Reviewer Feedback” workshop (Russia).

September 13, 2018
Lector: Svetlana Malyutina.Center for Language and Brain.
Topic: Effects of three verb argument structure parameters on action naming and sentence production in aphasia.

September 12, 2018
Lector: Dr. Riitta Salmelin. Aalto University, Finland.
Topic: MEG measures as probes of cortical language function.
Abstract: After more than two decades of brain research using whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG), we know what kind of responses to expect in basic language paradigms, such as spoken and written word perception and picture naming. Based on this groundwork, it has been possible to address neural correlates of language development, learning, and disorders, and even begin to elucidate brain organization of meaning and knowledge. The choice of imaging measures can importantly influence the way we interpret brain function. MEG evoked responses, oscillatory power, and real-time connectivity, as well as fMRI activation and slow hemodynamic interareal correlations allow complementary views to language processing. Together, these various measures can offer rich possibilities to multiview imaging that will reach beyond mere combination of location and timing of neural activation and help to uncover the organizational principles of language function in the human brain.

August 30, 2018
Lectors: Svetlana Malyutina, Anna Yurchenko. Center for Language and Brain.
Topic: The overview of talks at the Society for the Neurobiology of Language conference (Québec City, Canada).

August 28, 2018
Lector: Dr. Evy Visch-Brink. Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Topic: Aphasia Bedside Check: screening for stroke-induced aphasia at the acute stage.
Abstract: Short Bio. Dr. Evy Visch-Brink is a clinical linguist and an associate professor at the Department of Neurosurgery and Neurology at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. She has made an important contribution to the development of test and therapy instruments for individuals with aphasia in the Netherlands. Her current research interests include: the effect of semantic and phonological language therapy on the verbal communication of patients with aphasia after stroke and the effect of awake craniotomy on the linguistic functioning of patients with low-grade glioma. Dr. Visch-Brink has huge experience in the clinical diagnosis of patients with language disorders caused by neurological injuries and regularly gives guest lectures in many universities.

August 15, 2018
Lector: Dr. Natalia Meir. University of Bar-Ilan, Israel.
Topic: Language Acquisition in Bilingual Russian-Hebrew speaking pre-school children: typical vs. atypical.
Abstract: During 1990s, Israel witnessed massive immigration from the former USSR of more than one million immigrants who speak Russian as their Heritage Language. The growth in the number of bilingual children poses a diagnostic dilemma. Bilingualism does not cause language disorders (Kohnert, 2007); yet, bilingual children with typical language development (TLD) show lower performance in their Heritage Language (HL) aтd Societal Language (SL) as compared to monolingual peers and produce errors similar to those of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) (e.g., Paradis, 2010).
In the current talk, I will present linguistic profiles of bilingual children with typical language development (TLD) in their HL-Russian and SL-Hebrew. Second, I will present the results of studies on language development of bilingual Russian-Hebrew speaking children with atypical language development (SLI and High-Functioning Autism (HFA)). Finally, I will present the results of the diagnostic validity of the sentence repetition task for diagnosing language disorders in bilingual children.
Our findings consistently demonstrate that bilingualism is not an extra burden for children with atypical language development (e.g., SLI and HFA).  On the theoretical side, our results show that the locus of difficulties in bilingual children with TLD and children with language impairments originate from different sources. In case of bilingual children with TLD, non-target performance is linked to the effects of cross-linguistic influence (the influence from the SL onto the HL and vice versa, from the HL onto the SL), lower vocabulary scores and reduced exposure to the HL/SL. In children with language impairments, linguistic difficulties stem from inherent impaired representations resulting in problems with complex syntactic structures.

June 13, 2018
Lector: Dr. Maria Ivanova. Center for Aphasia and Related Disorders, VA Northern California Health Care System; National Research University Higher School of Economics.
Topic: Functional contribution of the arcuate fasciculus to language processing: A tractography study in individuals with stroke.

June 7, 2018
Lector: Dr. Wim Tops. University of Groningen.
Topic: From boosting early reading development to diagnosing adults with dyslexia.
Abstract: I will talk about the reading/dyslexia projects I am currently involved in. The first is an investigation of the effect of serious gaming on learning to read. In our research group, we use a Dutch version of GraphoGame (www.grapholearn.com) to train grapheme-phoneme correspondences to enhance reading in beginning readers. GraphoGame’s effectiveness has been largely investigated in different languages using pre- and post-treatment reading measures (e.g., reading accuracy; or timed one-minute reading tests). In our research, more sensitive measures than reading accuracy are used, like EEG and in-game assessment. In my presentation, I will show some tentative results from these studies.
While most studies on dyslexia focus on (young) children learning to read (and spell), my second line of research concerns adults with dyslexia, especially higher education students.  In the second part of my presentation, I show the results of a large scale study comparing 100 students with and 100 students without dyslexia on different variables like reading, spelling, IQ, processing speed, vocabulary, arithmetic, study skills, and personality.
By showing these two lines of research, my presentation highlights important new lines of inquiry for developmental dyslexia. It also identifies some methodological and theoretical concerns for neurolinguistic research in reading.

June 4, 2018
Lector: Dr. Anna Chrabaszcz. University of Pittsburgh; Center for language and brain HSE.
Topic: Involvement of subthalamic nucleus in speech: Evidence from deep brain stimulation.
Abstract: Speech production constitutes a complex motor behavior, requiring dynamic interaction between multiple brain regions. While neural representations of speech movements have been vastly explored at the cortical level using various methods, it is still largely unknown how the basal ganglia, including the subthalamic nucleus (STN), are involved in speech production. The idea of the possible involvement of the STN in speech production comes from the observations that speech impairment is a common feature of the disorders associated with abnormalities in the basal ganglia activity, like Parkinson’s disease and stuttering. Electrophysiological recordings obtained during the implantation of deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes present a unique opportunity to measure neural activity directly from the STN in awake, behaving human subjects. In my talk, I will present some evidence from the DBS electrodes recordings suggesting that the STN may participate in encoding motor and linguistic aspects of speech production with a different degree of granularity.

May 24, 2018
Lector: Mariya Khudyakova (together with Anna Artemova and Ekaterina Uetova). Center for Language and Brain HSE.
Topic: Studies in Russian-Nenets bilingualism: the results of the recent expedition to Yamal-Nenets region.

May 3, 2018
Lector: Dr. Valentina Apresyan. School of Linguistics HSE.
Topic: The mental representation of polysemous adjectives: the experiment that we plan.
Lector: Anastasia Yarina. Student, School of Linguistics HSE.
Topic: Metaphor and bleaching: how non-literal senses of polysemous verbs are stored in the mental lexicon?

April 26, 2018
Lector: Anastasiya Lopukhina. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: Corpus is better than cloze: comparing two predictability measures.

April 19, 2018
Lector: Julia Akinina. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: Verbal processing disorders in patients with aphasia.

April 12, 2018
Lector: Andrey Zyryanov. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: Speech disorders in patients before and after neurosurgery intervention in the dominant cerebral hemisphere.

April 5, 2018
Lector: Elena Savinova. Student, School of Linguistics HSE.
Topic: Morphological processing in elderly people.

March 29, 2018
Lector: Dr. Roelien Bastiaanse. Center for Language and Brain HSE; University of Groningen.
Topic: Collaborative projects as part of the megagrant “Language and Brain: prevention, diagnostics and treatment of language disorders”.

March 22, 2018
Lector: Vardan Arutiunian. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: EEG studies in phonological acquisition in infants: the experiment that we plan.
Lector: Anastasiya Lopukhina. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: The acquisition of ergativity in Georgian: the experiment that we plan.

February 22, 2018
Lector: Andrey Zyryanov. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: Studies in dynamic aphasia.

February 15, 2018
Lector: Dr. Paul Iverson. Department of Speech Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, University College London.
Topic: Neural entrainment during speech perception by adults and infants.
Abstract. Infants begin to tune into the sounds of their language during the first year of life, which bootstraps word learning and facilitates native-language speech recognition but can interfere with second-language learning during adulthood. Although this is well established, our understanding of this topic is limited by the amount of data that can be collected with existing methods, particularly for infants; most studies focus on isolated phonetic contrasts such as /b/-/p/. This talk will present work that uses new EEG methodologies to generate perceptual maps for a broader range of phonetic contrasts for infants and adults, examine how individuals track the acoustics of continuous speech (i.e., neural entrainment), and examine how this entrainment is modulated by listening effort and attention. The overall goal is to move beyond the examination of isolated syllable contrasts in order to better understand the development of auditory-phonetic processing for real continuous speech.

February 8, 2018
Lector: Mariya Khudyakova. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: Studies in Russian-Nenets bilingualism: the experiments that we plan.

February 1, 2018
Lector: Dr. Vsevolod Chernyshev. Faculty of Computer Science HSE.
Lector: Dr. Sergey Nechaev. Interdisciplinary Scientific Center Poncelet (ISCP); Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences.
Topic: Methods of statistical physics in psycho- and neurolinguistic studies.

January 25, 2018
Lector: Mariya Khudyakova. Center for Language and Brain, HSE.
Topic: NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) and ultrasound imaging in language studies.

January 18, 2018
Lector: Anna Pavlova. Center for Neurocognitive Research (MEG-center) MSUPE; RANEPA, Moscow.
Topic: Visual word recognition differs in silent reading and verb generation tasks: An MEG study.


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