Karin Heidlmayr

In natural language use, speakers and listeners exchange information seldom in the form of isolated words or sentences. Rather, this usually takes place as part of a larger discourse, such as narratives or expository texts. In order to process the meaning of a discourse, the situation model, links need to be made between utterances within the text but also with world knowledge beyond the discourse. Processing coherent discourse from the surface level to the situation model is a highly complex neurocognitive activity that involves linguistic and non-linguistic processes. The study of the role of non-linguistic processes, such as recollecting the past and simulating the future, and their interaction with linguistic processes is of central interest here. In this project, we use fMRI and various analytical approaches (e.g., inter-subject correlation analysis) to shed light on the neurocognitive processes related to situation model processing and on the sharing of situation models across speakers and listeners, which is one of the cornerstones of successful communication.

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