The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

Liina Pylkannen, NYU

TITLE:  "The syntactic, semantic and associative brain: How conceptual combination interacts with syntactic composition and associative processing in temporal cortex"

ABSTRACT:  What is the neural basis of syntactic and semantic composition? Our lab’s research has revealed a consistent neural correlate of composition in the left anterior temporal lobe (LATL), tracking conceptual aspects of composition, and more elusive correlates of syntactic composition in posterior temporal cortex. Is the LATL fully independent of syntactic composition, or does it conceptually combine elements that also syntactically combine? That is, how does LATL activity relate to more structural aspects of composition? On the flip side, we can also investigate how the LATL interacts with *less* structural aspects of processing, namely pure association, which has also been shown to drive LATL activity, including in the monkey brain. I will report on our recent progress on these questions, as we gradually make headway in understanding how the combinatory machine works in our brains.