Laura Giglio


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  • Giglio, L., Ostarek, M., Sharoh, D., & Hagoort, P. (2024). Diverging neural dynamics for syntactic structure building in naturalistic speaking and listening. PNAS, 121(11): e2310766121. doi:10.1073/pnas.2310766121.


    The neural correlates of sentence production have been mostly studied with constraining task paradigms that introduce artificial task effects. In this study, we aimed to gain a better understanding of syntactic processing in spontaneous production vs. naturalistic comprehension. We extracted word-by-word metrics of phrase-structure building with top-down and bottom-up parsers that make different hypotheses about the timing of structure building. In comprehension, structure building proceeded in an integratory fashion and led to an increase in activity in posterior temporal and inferior frontal areas. In production, structure building was anticipatory and predicted an increase in activity in the inferior frontal gyrus. Newly developed production-specific parsers highlighted the anticipatory and incremental nature of structure building in production, which was confirmed by a converging analysis of the pausing patterns in speech. Overall, the results showed that the unfolding of syntactic processing diverges between speaking and listening.
  • Giglio, L. (2023). Speaking in the Brain: How the brain produces and understands language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Giglio, L., Ostarek, M., Weber, K., & Hagoort, P. (2022). Commonalities and asymmetries in the neurobiological infrastructure for language production and comprehension. Cerebral Cortex, 32(7), 1405-1418. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhab287.


    The neurobiology of sentence production has been largely understudied compared to the neurobiology of sentence comprehension, due to difficulties with experimental control and motion-related artifacts in neuroimaging. We studied the neural response to constituents of increasing size and specifically focused on the similarities and differences in the production and comprehension of the same stimuli. Participants had to either produce or listen to stimuli in a gradient of constituent size based on a visual prompt. Larger constituent sizes engaged the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) and middle temporal gyrus (LMTG) extending to inferior parietal areas in both production and comprehension, confirming that the neural resources for syntactic encoding and decoding are largely overlapping. An ROI analysis in LIFG and LMTG also showed that production elicited larger responses to constituent size than comprehension and that the LMTG was more engaged in comprehension than production, while the LIFG was more engaged in production than comprehension. Finally, increasing constituent size was characterized by later BOLD peaks in comprehension but earlier peaks in production. These results show that syntactic encoding and parsing engage overlapping areas, but there are asymmetries in the engagement of the language network due to the specific requirements of production and comprehension.

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