Research projects within the Cultural Brain research group fall into one of three larger themes. To find out more information about these research areas, please click on the relevant section below.

The Literate Brain

Written language has been around for just a tiny fraction of our existence as homo sapiens. Despite this fact, we have learned almost everything we know about the human mind and brain by examining the literate brain.

For example, to be able to read, the ability to process complex orthographic patterns must connect with existing language processing systems. The same applies to reading musical notes.

In our research we examine this process and try to answer these fundamental questions:

  • How does a pre-literate mind/brain become literate?
  • How does variation in script, language (or music), or in the pre-literate brain itself, affect this process?
  • How does literacy change the human mind and brain?

For more information please check out the Cultural Brain website.

The Predictive Brain

Prediction is now a, or perhaps the, influential theoretical construct for explaining how the human mind works. Some have gone so far as to describe the last decade as a true paradigm shift in the sense of Kuhn, comparable to the change from behaviorism to cognitivism in the 1950s. In what might be called the ‘predictive turn’, many in the cognitive and brain sciences have come to consider the human mind a ‘predictive engine’ or ‘prediction machine’.

Within this theme, we pay particular attention to linguistic, individual, and cultural variation. For example, some of our experimental studies show that individual differences in working memory, reading ability, and processing speed predict anticipatory spoken language processing in the visual world. Our experimental data also strongly suggest that multiple mechanisms simultaneously influence how we anticipate upcoming linguistic input and that only such a dynamic approach to prediction can capture the language user’s prowess at predictive language processing.


For more information please check out the Cultural Brain website.

The Multimodal Brain

When we read language, arbitrary visual script characters are mapped onto corresponding units of spoken language. The same also applies to reading music. These are "multimodal mapping processes", which have an impact on our modal brains. 

Within this theme, we study the impact of cultural interventions on brain cognition as a tool to examine underlying processing dynamics from sensorimotor systems to high-level integration systems.

We explore the idea that language directly engages these modality-specific systems rather than duplicating or "re-enacting" events in the "outside world".


For more information please check out the Cultural Brain website.


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