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MPI researchers will join Human Brain Project

MPI researchers, together with researchers in France and Spain, will receive competitive grant funding to join the European Commission's Flagship Human Brain Project. The transnational group of researchers, coordinated by MPI's Clyde Francks, proposed a set of inter-related studies called 'MULTI-LATERAL: Multi-level Integrative Analysis of Brain Lateralization for Language'.
MPI researchers will join Human Brain Project

The left and right hemispheres of the brain are specialized for different functions in most people. Language is a prominent example of a lateralized function, for which the left hemisphere is usually dominant. It is likely that genes specify how the two hemispheres develop and function differently, by affecting how nerve cells carry signals and interact with each other.

The aims of the new studies are:

  • To improve automated measurement of left-right asymmetry in brain images taken from a large number of people, through the development of new computational methods. Brain anatomy will be studied, as well as brain activity during rest, and during performance of language-related tasks.
  • To find combinations of genetic variants in the population which affect the brain's left-right asymmetry for language. This analysis will also make use of datasets in which gene activity has been directly measured from the left and right sides of post mortem human brains.
  • To test whether these same genetic variants affect people's language performance. People with disorders related to language (including dyslexia and language impairment) can have alterations of brain asymmetry.

The studies will expand our knowledge of the biology of language, from the molecular to the behavioural level.


Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen
Clyde Francks, Simon Fisher, Peter Hagoort

Neurofunctional Imaging Group, Université Bordeaux Segalen
Fabrice Crivello, Bernard Mazoyer, Nathalie Tzourio-Mazoyer, Marc Joliot

Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Donostia-San Sebastian
Manuel Carreiras, Eugenio Iglesias, Alejandro Pérez, Cesar Caballero

The Human Brain Project is a large multi-partner effort to develop a multi-level understanding of the human brain, better diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases, and brain-inspired Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

Link to the full list of European studies selected for Flagship Joint Transnational Call funding:

Link to a news release of the Flagship Joint Transnational Call results:

Link to the Human Brain Project

About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.



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