My research has two main foci; how the brain processes and learns to process language in context. In my research into language learning, I have shown that novel structural information gets quickly integrated into the existing language network. Currently, I am investigating the processing of novel words with their attached syntactic information. After a short implicit learning session, we tap into lexical retrieval as well as unification processes related to these novel words. Within the language network, more syntactic information leads to higher activations, even when the words are presented without a context. This indicates their tight lexical-syntactic representation. When words were shown in untrained grammatical contexts, the response in left inferior frontal gyrus increased. This can be interpreted in terms of competition between trained and presented lexical-syntactic information, showing how the processing of lexical-syntactic information engages unification operations.
I am also interested in how regions outside the canonical language network, such as those related to cognitive control, interact with the language network to modulate and facilitate processing in predictive contexts.
With Atsuko Takashima and Laura Giglio, I investigate the neural networks of sentence-level language production.