Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science


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Language and Memory

Language and memory are usually studied within separate research traditions. A large number of mental processes show how closely the two functions are linked with each other.

For example, the phenomenon described in the so-called superiority effect of sentences is that people can remember words in a grammatical order (e.g."I find cognitive neurosciences and psychology incredibly exciting) much better than the same words in an ungrammatical order (e. g."Neurosciences I find exciting psychology incredibly cognitive and"). What distinguishes the memory process of memorizing linguistically correct sentences from incorrect or non-linguistic material?

How do we use our memory to predict what will be said next? For example, if a person is searching for a specific word, or if we interrupt him before he finishes his sentence? Or when we hear the beginning of a proverb or lyrics? Which brain areas help us to make this prediction?

In order to answer these questions, we examine subjects with Eye-tracking, EEG and fMRI methods.

A list of selected publications:

Bonhage, C., Meyer, L., Gruber, T., Friederici, A. D. & Mueller, J. L. (2017). Oscillatory EEG dynamics underlying task-independent chunking during sentence processing. NeuroImage 152, 647–657.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.03.018

Bonhage, C., Mueller, J. L., Friederici, A. D. & Fiebach, C. J.  (2015).
Combined eye-tracking and fMRI reveals neural basis of linguistic predictions during sentence comprehension. Cortex,  68, 33-47.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2015.04.011

Bonhage, C., Fiebach, C. J., Bahlmann, J., & Mueller, J. L. (2014). Brain signature of working memory for sentence structure: Enriched encoding and facilitated maintenance. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(8), 1654-1671.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00566