Neurobiology of Language -
New Post-Doc: Yingying Tan
My primary research interests are in investigating the relations among WM, executive control, and sentence comprehension. In my previous works, I looked into this question through an individual differences approach, a computational modeling approach, neuropsychological studies and by using electroencephalography (EEG). Generally, the results from my studies demonstrated that participants’ syntactic processing ability was predicted by a general WM or executive control capacity, while semantic processing ability was related to their semantic short-term memory (STM) capacity, even after controlling for their linguistic experience. However, phonological STM was not related to either semantic or syntactic aspect of online sentence processing. These findings are consistent with the idea that syntactic and semantic processing are relative dissociable, and may be supported by different cognitive mechanisms. In my post-doc research, I will continue investigating the nature of WM/executive control mechanism underlying language processing, such as further pinning down the specific component(s) of WM or executive control that are crucial for language processing and examine how and when multiple levels of sentence processing are regulated by these cognitive mechanisms, through behavioral, drug administration, and neuroimaging methods. The better understanding of the memory-language relation will enhance our knowledge about the neurobiology of language.