Neuroscience of Language: LSA Summer Institute 2015

Ellen Lau
University of Maryland Department of Linguistics, Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program, Maryland Language Science Center

This course provides an introduction to cognitive neuroscience research on language, primarily research that examines comprehension. Since a survey is not possible in this amount of time, the goals are to (a) teach you how to figure out what a cogneuro language study is really telling you; (b) show you some illustrative examples of good ideas in the field; (c) inspire you to think deeply about how/whether cogneuro methods could usefully inform your own research area. Required work for the class consists of 2 readings per meeting and 4 brief (1-2 paragraph) written assignments. If you send me your assignments by the earlier dates indicated below, then I'll try my best to read them before the class meets and to tailor the lecture accordingly, but I know the Institute is crazy so anytime before class starts is also fine.

**Since the class is large, PLEASE email all assignments to with the subject line 'response ##'. Directly pasting your response into the body of the email would be the best. You might also (completely optional!) attach a picture with your response so I can match names to faces more easily in this large class. Feel free to email me at my regular address (ellenlau (at) for other communications.**

Tentative Schedule

Date Topic Readings Supplementary (NOT required!) Readings Assignment
Tuesday, July 7 Foundations Marr (1982)
Poeppel & Embick (2005)
Marco Loggia: Neuroanatomy for Dummies Response 1
If possible, by Sun. July 5;
if not, before class
Friday, July 10 fMRI, syntax, and implementational questions Matchin, Sprouse, & Hickok (2014)
Pallier, Devauchelle, & Dehaene (2011)
Rogalsky & Hickok (2011) Response 2
If possible, by Thurs. July 9 at noon;
if not, before class
Tuesday, July 14 EEG, semantics/pragmatics, and processing questions Delong, Urbach, & Kutas (2005)
Van Berkum (2008)
Lau, Phillips & Poeppel (2008) Response 3
If possible, by Sun. July 13 at noon;
if not, before class
Friday, July 17 MEG, phonology/morphology, and representational questions Scharinger, Monahan & Idsardi (2012)
Beretta & Fiorentino (2005)
Fiorentino & Poeppel (2007) Response 4
If possible, by Thurs. July 16 at noon;
if not, before class

Optional ERP analysis exercise (must obtain access to Matlab independently)

ERP exercise
ERP data

Other great papers (just a sampling, not exhaustive ;)


Linebarger (1983)
Xiang, Dillon & Phillips (2009)
Thothathiri (2012)
Wilson et al. (2014)


Swaab et al. (2004)
Burkhardt (2006)
Patterson, Nestor, & Rogers (2007)
Bedny, Caramazza, Grossman, Pascual-Leone, & Saxe (2008)
Nieuwland & Kuperberg (2008)
Bemis & Pylkkanen (2011)
Schumacher 2014


Sanders, Newport & Neville (2002)
Van Wassenhove (2005) Kazanina et al. 2006
Monahan & Idsardi (2010)
Scharinger, Idsardi, & Poe, 2011
King, Linzen, Marantz (2015)

Second Language Acquisition

McLaughlin et al. (2004)
McLaughlin et al. (2010)
Hanulikova, van Alphen, van Goch, Weber (2012)
Martin et al. (2013)