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HSE University Center for Language and Brain Becomes World Leader in Just 10 Years

HSE University Center for Language and Brain Becomes World Leader in Just 10 Years

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How can a small Russian research group become a world-famous scientific centre in less than a decade? A special edition of the Frontiers in Psychology journal devoted to increasing public awareness of neuroscience features an article about the HSE University Center for Language and Brain, including the successes and challenges of its early years.

Russia’s linguistic and neuropsychology schools have trained numerous famous figures in their respective fields. However, in the 21st century, only a small number of research groups in Russia have looked into areas that combine the two: psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics. Less than a decade ago, a small group of researchers led by Olga Dragoy began working in these fields. In the short time since, the group has grown into the HSE University Center for Language and Brain—a major scientific institution.

In the Frontiers in Psychology article, the Center’s staff share their experiences and turn a critical eye on their successes and failures. One notable example was the project to create the Russian Aphasia Test. The researchers now admit that their initial idea was too ambitious, and that young research groups are better off focusing on smaller-scale research that requires fewer resources. At the same time, the creation of the test is one example of the successful combination of research and clinical practice.

In addition to their research, the Centre’s staff also discuss their educational activities—such as assigning annual term papers to students. While a standard practice in Russia, it is less common in other countries. Term papers give junior students an opportunity to conduct research and gain experience before enrolling in doctoral programmes—experience that students in many other countries lack

Olga Dragoy, Director of the Center for Language and Brain

‘Flexibility in your research interests at the start of your academic career can pay off. If an opportunity presents itself to work on a topic that you weren’t originally interested in, give it a go anyway—it may end up having long-term potential and becoming something you love.'

The article shares experience and recommendations to help young research groups in Russia and abroad, inspire them, and offer guidance in decision-making and setting priorities when creating similar research centres.

According to Svetlana Malyutina, Senior Research Fellow of the Center for Language and Brain, ‘One of the best investments a young research group can make is to recruit and communicate with students. Sure, it takes up precious time and effort, but it pays off in the end—talented students are the driving force behind countless projects.’

See also:

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Researchers Come Up with a New Explanation of Processes that Underlie Working Memory

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Researchers from HSE University and Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences have discovered how the theta rhythm of the brain and the gender differences in attitudes to risk are linked. In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the researchers addressed which processes can be explained by knowing this connection.

Cutting Edge Neuroscience Research to Be Discussed during Online Conference at HSE University

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Mirror Labs: A Geographic Effect

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What Can Make Robots More Human-like?

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Magnetic Impulses Help Create Muscle Activity Maps to Diagnose Motor Disorders

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‘In the Blink of an Eye’ Statistics: People Estimate Size of the Set of Objects Based on Distance to Them

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Can the Brain Resist the Group Opinion?

Scientists at HSE University have learned that disagreeing with the opinion of other people leaves a ‘trace’ in brain activity, which allows the brain to later adjust its opinion in favour of the majority-held point of view. The article was published in Scientific Reports.