Lab Director

Liina Pylkkänen, Ph.D.

Liina Pylkkanen

Research interests

The essence of human language is its unbounded combinatory potential: Generative systems of syntax and semantics allow for the composition of an infinite range of expressions from a limited set of elementary building blocks. My research aims to characterize the representational and processing properties of this combinatory system. What are its basic computational units and how do they structurally combine? After completing a substantial body oftheoretical work addressing the syntax-semantics interface for a particular subdomain of grammar (the verb phrase), I turned my research focus to characterizing the brain mechanisms responsible for the semantic combinatorics of language. The operations by which our brains build complex meanings from simpler pieces are intimately intertwined with computations building complex syntactic structures. Thus an important goal of mylaboratory is to also understand the neural bases of syntactic structure building. Finally, since complex syntactic and semantic representations are, in some sense, the end product of language comprehension, being able to study them requires an understanding of the lower-level processes leading up to them. Thus in addition to studies directly targeting sentence-level semantics, my research has also addressed word-level processes such as lexical access and morphological decomposition. To monitor brain activity, the work in my lab primarily employs magnetoencephalography (MEG), which offers the best combination of temporal and spatial resolution among currently available cognitive neuroscience methods.

Additional information
Contact

Staff

AMANDA KACZMAREK

Lab Manager

Research Interests

> Moral Cognition

> Empathy and Theory of Mind

> Social Influences on Moral Principles

Contact

amanda.kaczmarek@nyu.edu

Graduate Students

Christian Brodbeck

Psychology

Research interests

> Reference Resolution
> Semantic combinatorics
> MEG analysis and methods

Contact

> cmb650@nyu.edu

Andrew Jamison

Psychology

Research interests

> Neurolinguistics
> Lexical and combinatorial semantics
> Predictive parsing

Contact

> andrew.jamison@nyu.edu

KIM LEIKEN

Linguistics

Research interests

> Syntactic processing
> Expectancy violations
> Ellipsis

Contact

> kal412@nyu.edu

Masha Westerlund

Psychology

Research interests

> Neurolinguistics
> Semantic memory
> Semantic composition

Contact

> mw1602@nyu.edu

Adina Williams

Linguistics

Research interests

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Contact

> adinawilliams@nyu.edu

LinMin Zhang

Linguistics

Research interests

> Neurolinguistics
> Semantics and Pragmatics
> Semantic Memory

Contact

> linmin.zhang@nyu.edu

Student Affiliates

Emily Hannah

Language and Mind Undergraduate

Project Title:

Brain bases of modification vs. disjunction and conjunction

Jayden Ziegler

Linguistics PhD student

Project Title:

Concept specificity and scalar adjectives in the left anterior temporal lobe

Vera Zu

Linguistics PhD student

Project Title:

Composing meaning morpheme by morpheme: An MEG investigation into across-word and within-word composition

Timothy Leffel

Linguistics PhD student

Project Title:

Restrictive vs. non-restrictive composition

Itamar Kastner

Linguistics PhD student

Project Title:

ASL production in MEG

Meera Al Kaabi

Linguistics PhD student

Project Title:

Is morphology syntax?

Past Members

PAUL DEL PRATO

Lab Manager, 2012-2014

Research Assistant

NYU Langone Medical Center

Department of Neurology

Miriam Lauter

Lab Manager, 2013-2014

Ellen O'Connor

Visiting Student, 2012-2013

PhD candidate

USC Linguistics

DOUG BEMIS

PhD 2012, Psychology

Post-doctoral Fellow

INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit

Sam Ritter

Lab Programmer, 2012-2013

PhD candidate

Princeton Neuroscience

Rebecca Egbert

Lab Manager, 2010-2012

Francesca Delogu

Post-doctoral Fellow, 2010-2011

Post-doctoral Fellow

Saarland University

JONATHAN BRENNAN

PhD 2010, Linguistics

Assistant Professor

University of Michigan Linguistics

SUZANNE DIKKER

PhD 2010, Linguistics

Post-doctoral Fellow

New York University Psychology

HUGH RABAGLIATI

PhD 2010, Psychology

Chancellor's Fellow

University of Edinburgh

Christine Boylan

Lab Manager, 2008-2010

PhD candidate

UPenn Psychology

Andrew Smart

Lab Manager, 2006-2008

Research Scientist

Honeywell

EYTAN ZWEIG

PhD 2007, Linguistics

Lecturer

University of York

Department of Language and Linguistic Science

Kana Okano

MA 2007, Psychology

Post-doctoral Fellow

MIT BCS

LILY TSOI

Summer Research Assistant

Lab Manager

Boston College

Jasmine Francis

NYU Medical School, MD/PhD Program

Department of Physiology and Neuroscience

JESSE HARRIS

Lab Manager, 2004-2006

Assistant Professor

Pomona College Linguistics and Cognitive Science