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Arnold School of Public Health

NeuroSyntax Laboratory

The goal of the NueroSyntax laboratory is to study the neurobiology of human language by incorporating insights from linguistic theory. The laboratory aims to develop a model of syntax in the brain, including how this applies to disorders of sentence comprehension and production in aphasia, or language disorder due to stroke.


The focus of the NeuroSyntax Laboratory is the neural bases of sentence processing. In particular, it aims to study how the brain creates sentences by combining words together - linguistics call this syntax. Syntax is a particularly fascinating and difficult topic to study because it is a potentially unique quality of human language. Neuroimaging studies of syntax using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) help us to understand the fundamental nature of language as well as understanding language problems due to brain damage (such as stroke or degenerative disease) and late language acquisition.

The Lab aims to answer the following questions:

  • What is the cortical organization of syntax and semantics?
  • How does language acquisition past the critical period affect the brain networks for sentence processing?
  • How can the insights of syntactic theory and psycholinguistics help cognitive neuroscience, and how can experimental data help syntactic theory?
  • What are the nature of language deficits due to aphasia?

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.