Assistant Professor of
Linguistics and Psychology

University of Michigan

414 Lorch Hall
611 Tappan St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

jobrenn at umich dot edu
ph. (734) 764-8692
fx. (734) 936-3406

I study the mental structures and computations used to understand words and sentences, with a focus on how these processes are implemented in the brain. My research uses formal, computationally grounded models of language comprehension to investigate the neural correlates of basic cognitive computations such as lexical access, syntax, and semantics with electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

I have a particular interest in experimental methods that are as natural as possible, such as having participants read or listen to a story, to focus on sentence processing as it occurs during every-day language use. Naturalistic techniques are especially suitable for the investigation of language comprehension in populations for which standard experimental tasks may be inappropriate, such as with children with developmental disorders.

I am the director of the Computational Neurolinguistics Lab in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Michigan.

Recent News

  • New paper on syntactic surprisal in EEG! Out now in PLoS ONE!Brennan JR, Hale JT (2019) Hierarchical structure guides rapid linguistic predictions during naturalistic listening. PLoS ONE 14(1): e0207741. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal ...
    Posted Jan 16, 2019, 12:01 PM by Jon Brennan
  • New paper! Autism Spectrum Disorders, Story-listening & Prediction Jonathan R. Brennan, Renee Lajiness-O'Neill, Susan Bowyer, Ioulia Kovelman & John T. Hale (2018) Predictive sentence comprehension during story-listening in autism spectrum disorder, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, DOI ...
    Posted Jan 2, 2019, 6:41 AM by Jon Brennan
  • “Best Paper” award for 2018 ACL paper on syntax+eeg+deep learning See the awardsRead the paper!Abstract:Recurrent neural network grammars (RNNGs) are generative models of (tree, string) pairs that rely on neural networks to evaluate derivational choices. Parsing with ...
    Posted Jun 12, 2018, 12:20 PM by Jon Brennan
  • Paper on neural synchrony in ASD See the lab website for more detailsLajiness-O’Neill, R., Brennan, J., Flores, A., Swick, C., Goodcase, R., Anderson, T., McFarlane, K., Rusiniak, K., Kovelman, I., Wagley, N., Ugolini ...
    Posted Dec 18, 2017, 12:33 PM by Jon Brennan
  • Paper on syntactic priming in L2 See the lab news site for more details!Hang Wei, Julie E. Boland, Jonathan Brennan, Fang Yuan, Min Wang & Chi Zhang (In Press) Lexicalized structural priming in second language online ...
    Posted Oct 4, 2017, 12:30 PM by Jon Brennan
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