Frequency Tagging of Syntactic Structure or Lexical Properties


A vital step towards interpreting a linguistic utterance is knowing how individual words (e.g. ‘quirky’, ‘bold’ and ‘poem’) combine into phrases (‘quirky bold poem’) or sentences. The significance of such a combinatorial process in the language is hard to overestimate: without an ability to construct larger transient compositional representations, all of the human linguistic expression would reduce down to what is stored in the long-term memory. Thus neurocognitive mechanisms of composition is at the heart of any neurocognitive approach to language, yet the field of cognitive neuroscience so far has only very limited understanding of it.
This project takes start from influential studies of linguistic composition (Ding et al., 2016, Nature Neuro; Bemis & Pylkkänen, 2011, J Neurosci) and investigates the role of neural oscillatory dynamics in building compositional units in Russian using MEG.

1. Bemis, D. K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2011). Simple composition: A magnetoencephalography investigation into the comprehension of minimal linguistic phrases. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(8), 2801-2814.
2. Ding, N., Melloni, L., Zhang, H., Tian, X., & Poeppel, D. (2016). Cortical tracking of hierarchical linguistic structures in connected speech. Nature Neuroscience, 19(1), 158–164.

Project Leaders - Nina Kazanina, Evgeni Kalenkovich & Anna Shestakova.