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spoken and written language

Preprints/submitted/in preparation

Speeded responses for web-based research: Testing Pavlovia and Labvanced for Lexical Decision Tasks

A bottom-up strategy for minimal syntactic phrases: EEG signatures and indexes of localization


Peer-reviewed articles

Abstract: Human language is proposed to be hierarchically constructed according to syntactic information. Studies on languages with overt morphosyntactic markers (e.g., German) have found a key frontotemporal syntactic network that includes Broca's area (Brodmann Area, BA 44/45) and the posterior temporal cortex (pTC). Whether this syntactic network is language-general is still unspecified. Mandarin Chinese is a suggestive empirical test case, lacking morphosyntax and relying heavily on function words to guide syntactic hierarchy construction. By developing the jabberwocky sentence paradigm, we created sets of visually-presented Chinese structures formed by function words and pseudo-words (the structure condition), and contrasted the structures with comparable word lists (the word-list condition) in healthy Chinese-speaking adults in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment. Participants were required to identify the syntactic category of each structure by merging its constituents into syntactic hierarchies, guided by function words. Compared with the word-list condition, the structure condition (a) elicited higher involvement of left BA 44, and (b) recruited a language-general syntactic network as revealed by the effective connectivity between BA 44, precentral gyrus, and pTC. These findings specified the neural basis for Chinese syntax and further corroborated the unique human language faculty across languages in a neurobiologically ubiquitous fashion.

Language, Cognition and Neuroscience (2023)

DOI; open access

ABSTRACT: Language comprehension proceeds at a very fast pace. It is argued that context influences the speed of language comprehension by providing informative cues. How syntactic contextual information influences the processing of incoming words is, however, less known. Here we employed a masked syntactic priming paradigm in four behavioural experiments in the German language to test whether masked primes automatically influence the categorisation of nouns and verbs. We found robust syntactic priming effects with masked primes but only when verbs were morpho-syntactically marked. Furthermore, we found that, compared to baseline, primes slow down target categorisation when the relationship between prime and target is syntactically incorrect, rather than speeding it up when the relationship is syntactically correct. This argues in favour of an inhibitory nature of syntactic priming. Overall, the data indicate that humans automatically extract syntactic features from the context to guide the analysis of incoming words during online language processing.

ABSTRACT: Humans are equipped with the remarkable ability to comprehend an infinite number of utterances. Relations between grammatical categories restrict the way words combine into phrases and sentences. How the brain recognizes different word combinations remains largely unknown, although this is a necessary condition for combinatorial unboundedness in language. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and multivariate pattern analysis to explore whether distinct neural populations of a known language network hub—Broca’s area—are specialized for recognizing distinct simple word combinations. The phrases consisted of a noun (flag) occurring either with a content word, an adjective (green flag), or with a function word, a determiner (that flag). The key result is that the distribution of neural populations classifying word combination in Broca’s area seems sensitive to neuroanatomical subdivisions within this area, irrespective of task. The information patterns for adjective + noun were localized in its anterior part (BA45) whereas those for determiner + noun were localized in its posterior part (BA44). Our findings provide preliminary answers to the fundamental question of how lexical and grammatical category information interact during simple word combination, with the observation that Broca’s area is sensitive to the recognition of categorical relationships during combinatory processing, based on different demands placed on syntactic and semantic information. This supports the hypothesis that the combinatorial power of language consists of some neural computation capturing phrasal differences when processing linguistic input.

DOI; open access

ABSTRACT: Categorical predictions have been proposed as the key mechanism supporting the fast pace of syntactic composition in language. Accordingly, grammar-based expectations are formed—e.g., the determiner “a” triggers the prediction for a noun—and facilitate the analysis of incoming syntactic information, which is then checked against a single or few other word categories. Previous functional neuroimaging studies point towards Broca’s area in the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) as one fundamental cortical region involved in categorical prediction during incremental language processing. Causal evidence for this hypothesis is however still missing. In this study, we combined Electroencephalography (EEG) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to test whether Broca’s area is functionally relevant in predictive mechanisms for language. We transiently perturbed Broca’s area during the first word in a two-word construction, while simultaneously measuring the Event-Related Potential (ERP) correlates of syntactic composition. We reasoned that if Broca’s area is involved in predictive mechanisms for syntax, disruptive TMS during the first word would mitigate the difference in the ERP responses for predicted and unpredicted categories in basic two-word constructions. Contrary to this hypothesis, perturbation of Broca’s area at the predictive stage did not affect the ERP correlates of basic composition. The correlation strength between the electrical field induced by TMS and the ERP responses further confirmed this pattern. We discuss the present results considering an alternative account of the role of Broca’s area in syntactic composition, namely the bottom-up integration of words into constituents, and of compensatory mechanisms within the language predictive network.

Human Brain Mapping 42 (10), 3253-3268  (2021)

ABSTRACT: Grammar is central to any natural language. In the past decades, the artificial grammar of the AnBn type in which a pair of associated elements can be nested in the other pair was considered as a desirable model to mimic human language syntax without semantic interference. However, such a grammar relies on mere associating mechanisms, thus insufficient to reflect the hierarchical nature of human syntax. Here we test how the brain imposes syntactic hierarchies according to the category relations on linearized sequences by designing a novel artificial “Hierarchical syntactic structure-building Grammar” (HG), and compare this to the AnBn grammar as a “Nested associating Grammar” (NG) based on multi-level associations. Thirty-six healthy German native speakers were randomly assigned to one of the two grammars. Both groups performed a grammaticality judgement task on auditorily-presented word sequences generated by the corresponding grammar in the scanner after a successful explicit behavioral learning session. Compared to the NG group, the functional activation for the HG group showed: (1) a significantly higher involvement of Brodmann Area (BA) 44 in Broca’s area and the posterior superior temporal gyrus (pSTG); and (2) a qualitatively distinct connectivity between the two regions. Thus, the present study demonstrates that the build-up process of syntactic hierarchies on the basis of category relations critically relies on a distinctive left-hemispheric syntactic network involving BA 44 and pSTG. This indicates that our novel artificial grammar can constitute a suitable experimental tool to investigate syntax-specific processes in the human brain.

ABSTRACT: The neuroscience of language studies the relationship between linguistic phenomena and the structure and functioning of the human brain. Neurolinguists combine insights from linguistic theory with experimental methodologies coming from cognitive neuroscience and biomedical research, to explore how language and the brain map onto each other at the neuroanatomical level. In this chapter, we focus on the neural basis supporting the remarkable human capacity to effortlessly assemble single words into more complex hierarchical structures, thus enabling the production and comprehension of unbounded arrays of different linguistic expressions.

ABSTRACT: Semantic composition, the ability to combine single words to form complex meanings, is a core feature of human language. Despite growing interest in the basis of semantic composition, the neural correlates and the interaction of regions within this network remain a matter of debate. We designed a well-controlled two-word fMRI paradigm in which phrases only differed along the semantic dimension while keeping syntactic information alike. Healthy participants listened to meaningful (“fresh apple”), anomalous (“awake apple”) and pseudoword phrases (“awake gufel”) while performing an implicit and an explicit semantic task. We identified neural signatures for distinct processes during basic semantic composition. When lexical information is kept constant across conditions and the evaluation of phrasal plausibility is examined (meaningful vs. anomalous phrases), a small set of mostly left-hemispheric semantic regions, including the anterior part of the left angular gyrus, is found active. Conversely, when the load of lexical information—independently of phrasal plausibility—is varied (meaningful or anomalous vs. pseudoword phrases), conceptual combination involves a wide-spread left-hemispheric network comprising executive semantic control regions and general conceptual representation regions. Within this network, the functional coupling between the left anterior inferior frontal gyrus, the bilateral pre-supplementary motor area and the posterior angular gyrus specifically increases for meaningful phrases relative to pseudoword phrases. Stronger effects in the explicit task further suggest task-dependent neural recruitment. Overall, we provide a separation between distinct nodes of the semantic network, whose functional contributions depend on the type of compositional process under analysis.

ABSTRACT: The basic steps in building up language involve binding words of different categories into a hierarchical structure. To what extent these steps are universal or differ across languages is an open issue. Here we examine the neural dynamics of phrase structure building in Chinese—a language that in contrast to other languages heavily depends on contextual semantic information. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and dynamic causal modeling to identify the relevant brain regions and their dynamic relations. Language stimuli consisted of syntax-driving determiners, semantics-embedded classifiers, and nonverbal symbols making up for two-component sequences manipulated by the factors structure (phrase/list) and number of words (2-word/1-word). Processing phrases compared with word lists elicited greater activation in the anterior part of Broca’s area, Brodmann area (BA) 45, and the left posterior superior/middle temporal gyri (pSTG/pMTG), while processing two words against one word led to stronger involvement of the left BA 45, BA 44, and insula. Differential network modulations emerging from subparts of Broca’s area revealed that phrasal construction in particular highly modulated the direct connection from BA 44 to left pMTG, suggesting BA 44’s primary role in phrase structure building. Conversely, the involvement of BA 45 rather appears sensitive to the reliance on lexico-semantic information in Chinese. Against the background of previous findings from other languages, the present results indicate that phrase structure building has a universal neural basis within the left fronto-temporal network. Most importantly, they provide the first evidence demonstrating that the structure-building network may be modulated by language-specific characteristics.

ABSTRACT: The ability to combine single words to form complex new meanings (i.e., semantic composition) is a core feature of the highly productive human language faculty. Despite growing interest in the neural correlates of semantic composition, little is known about the functional neuroanatomy at the most basic compositional level, such as the processing of two-word phrases. Previous studies have suggested an involvement of left anterior inferior frontal gyrus (aIFG), anterior temporal lobe (ATL) and angular gyrus (AG) in semantic composition. However, it remains unclear how these regions interact with each other during semantic composition and whether their specific contribution depends on the task.

ABSTRACT: Linguistic expressions consist of sequences of words combined together to form phrases and sentences. The neurocognitive process handling word combination is drawing increasing attention among the neuroscientific community, given that the underlying syntactic and semantic mechanisms of such basic combinations—although essential to the generation of more complex structures—still need to be consistently determined. The current experiment was conducted to disentangle the neural networks supporting syntactic and semantic processing at the level of two-word combinations. We manipulated the combinatorial load by using words of different grammatical classes within the phrase, such that determiner-noun combinations (this ship) were used to boost neural activity in syntax-related areas, while adjective-noun combinations (blue ship) were conversely used to measure neural response in semantic-related combinations. By means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we found that syntax-related processing mainly activates the most ventral part of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), along the frontal operculum (FOP) and anterior insula (aINS). Fine-grained analysis in BA44 confirmed that the most inferior-ventral portion is highly sensitive to syntactic computations driven by function words. Semantic-related processing on the contrary, rather engages the anterior dorsal part of the left IFG and the left angular gyrus (AG) that is two regions which appear to perform different functions within the semantic network. Our findings suggest that syntactic and semantic contribution to phrasal formation can be already differentiated at a very basic level, with each of these two processes comprising non-overlapping areas on the cerebral cortex. Specifically, they confirm the role of the ventral IFG for the construction of syntactically legal linguistic constructions, and the prominence of the more anterior IFG and the AG for conceptual semantics.

ABSTRACT: The core capacity of human language is described as the faculty to combine words into hierarchical structures. This review aims to isolate the fundamental computation behind the language faculty together with its neural implementation. First, we present our central hypothesis by confronting recent linguistic theory with evolutionary arguments: linguistic humaniqueness is reflected in the labeling of word combinations forming asymmetric hierarchical structures. Second, we review the neurolinguistic literature, especially focusing on dual-stream connectivity models. We put forward that the dorsal pathway, especially the arcuate fascicle, is responsible for the rule-based combinatorial system, implementing labeling and giving rise to hierarchical structures. Conversely, the ventral stream is rather responsible for semantic associative operations. We further present evolutionary neuroanatomical evidence grounding our hypothesis. We conclude by suggesting further avenues of research as well as open questions to be addressed. With the aim to expand our knowledge on the neurobiology of language, we hope to provide a testable hypothesis for the origin of language syntax bringing together evidence from different fields.

The neurobiological nature of syntactic hierarchies. 

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 81 (B), 205 - 212 (2017)

ABSTRACT: The review focuses on the neurobiological literature concerning the specific human ability to process linguistic hierarchies. First, we will discuss current ethological studies dedicated to the comparison between human and non-human animals for the processing of different grammar types. We will inspect the functional neuroanatomical structures of human and non-human primates more closely, including human developmental data, thereby suggesting interesting phylogenetic and ontogenetic differences. We then examine the neural reality of the Merge computation, being the most fundamental mechanism regulating natural language syntax, and offer new evidence for a possible localization of Merge in the most ventral anterior portion of BA 44. We conclude that BA 44, with its strong neural connection to the posterior temporal cortex, provides a recent evolutionary neurobiological basis for the unique human faculty of language.

ABSTRACT: The ability to create structures out of single words is a key aspect of human language. This combinatorial capacity relies on a low-level syntactic mechanism-Merge-assembling words into hierarchies. Neuroscience has explored Merge by comparing syntax to word-lists. Here, we first review potential issues with the word-lists materials. We then perform an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) on the reported foci, to reveal functional convergence for Merge at whole-brain level. Finally, we run probabilistic tractography on an independent population to observe how these convergent activations anatomically connect. Functionally, we found that when confounding activity was removed, consistency for Merge was only observable in the left pars opercularis (BA44) and in the inferior part of the posterior superior temporal sulcus/gyrus (pSTS/STG; BA22). Structurally, we could confirm that the two regions are connected through dorsal fiber bundles. We therefore suggest that the cortical implementation of linguistic Merge consists of a left fronto-temporal interaction between BA44 (syntactic processor) and pSTS/STG (integrative processor), which communicate to each other along dorsal white matter fascicles.

ABSTRACT: Language comes in utterances in which words are bound together according to a simple rule-based syntactic computation (merge), which creates linguistic hierarchies of potentially infinite length—phrases and sentences. In the current functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we compared prepositional phrases and sentences—both involving merge—to word lists—not involving merge—to explore how this process is implemented in the brain. We found that merge activates the pars opercularis of the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG; Brodmann Area [BA] 44) and a smaller region in the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS). Within the IFG, sentences engaged a more anterior portion of the area (pars triangularis, BA 45)—compared with phrases—which showed activity peak in BA 44. As prepositional phrases, in contrast to sentences, do not contain verbs, activity in BA 44 may reflect structure-building syntactic processing, while the involvement of BA 45 may reflect the encoding of propositional meaning initiated by the verb. The pSTS appears to work together with the IFG during thematic role assignment not only at the sentential level, but also at the phrasal level. The present results suggest that merge, the process of binding words together into syntactic hierarchies, is primarily supported by BA 44 in the IFG.

Language is thought to represent one of the most complex cognitive functions in humans. Here we break down complexity of language to its most basic syntactic computation which hierarchically binds single words together to form larger phrases and sentences. So far, the neural implementation of this basic operation has only been inferred indirectly from studies investigating more complex linguistic phenomena. In the present sub-region based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study we directly assessed the neuroanatomical nature of this process. Our results showed that syntactic phrases—compared to word-list sequences—corresponded to increased neural activity in the ventral-anterior portion of the left pars opercularis (Brodmann Area (BA) 44), whereas the adjacently located deep frontal operculum/anterior insula (FOP/aINS), a phylogenetically older and less specialized region, was found to be equally active for both conditions. Crucially, the functional activity of syntactic binding was confined to one out of five clusters proposed by a recent fine-grained sub-anatomical parcellation for BA 44, with consistency across individuals. Neuroanatomically, the present results call for a redefinition of BA 44 as a region with internal functional specializations. Neurocomputationally, they support the idea of invariance within BA 44 in the location of activation across participants for basic syntactic building processing.

ABSTRACT: Knowledge about the neuroanatomy of the human brain has exponentially grown in the last decades leading to finer-grained sub-regional parcellations. The goal of this functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study was to specify the involvement of the insula during visual word processing using a sub-regional parcellation approach. Specifically, we assessed: (1) the number of active voxels falling in each sub-insular cluster; (2) the signal intensity difference between word and letter strings within clusters; (3) the subject-specific cluster selectivity; (4) the lateralization between left and right clusters. We found that word compared to letter string processing was strongly sub-regional sensitive within the anterior-dorsal cluster only, and was left-lateralized. Interestingly, this sensitivity held at both group level and individual level. This study demonstrates that integrating hemodynamic activity with sub-topographic architecture can generate an enriched understanding of sub-regional functional specializations in the human brain.

ABSTRACT: Syntax determines how words are grouped together to form phrases and sentences. Two frontotemporal syntactic networks, which connect the classical language regions in the left hemisphere, that is, Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, can be described. One network involves the ventral inferior frontal cortex and the anterior temporal cortex connected via ventrally located fiber bundles and appears to support local phrase structure building. The other network involves posterior Broca’s area and the posterior temporal cortex connected via dorsally located fiber bundles and subserves the processing of syntactically complex structures. Thus, syntax is reflected in two neuroanatomical networks with different functional roles.


signed language

Preprints/submitted/in preparation


Peer-reviewed articles

ABSTRACT: Sign language (SL) conveys linguistic information using gestures instead of sounds. Here, we apply a meta‐analytic estimation approach to neuroimaging studies (N = 23; subjects = 316) and ask whether SL comprehension in deaf signers relies on the same primarily left‐hemispheric cortical network implicated in spoken and written language (SWL) comprehension in hearing speakers. We show that: (a) SL recruits bilateral fronto‐temporo‐occipital regions with strong left‐lateralization in the posterior inferior frontal gyrus known as Broca’s area, mirroring functional asymmetries observed for SWL. (b) Within this SL network, Broca’s area constitutes a hub which attributes abstract linguistic information to gestures. (c) SL‐specific voxels in Broca’s area are also crucially involved in SWL, as confirmed by meta‐analytic connectivity modeling using an independent large‐scale neuroimaging database. This strongly suggests that the human brain evolved a lateralized language network with a supramodal hub in Broca’s area which computes linguistic information independent of speech.

ABSTRACT: Sign language offers a unique perspective on the human faculty of language by illustrating that linguistic abilities are not bound to speech and writing. In studies of spoken and written language processing, lexical variables such as, for example, age of acquisition have been found to play an important role, but such information is not as yet available for German Sign Language (Deutsche Gebärdensprache, DGS). Here, we present a set of norms for frequency, age of acquisition, and iconicity for more than 300 lexical DGS signs, derived from subjective ratings by 32 deaf signers. We also provide additional norms for iconicity and transparency for the same set of signs derived from ratings by 30 hearing non-signers. In addition to empirical norming data, the dataset includes machine-readable information about a sign’s correspondence in German and English, as well as annotations of lexico-semantic and phonological properties: one-handed vs. two-handed, place of articulation, most likely lexical class, animacy, verb type, (potential) homonymy, and potential dialectal variation. Finally, we include information about sign onset and offset for all stimulus clips from automated motion-tracking data. All norms, stimulus clips, data, as well as code used for analysis are made available through the Open Science Framework in the hope that they may prove to be useful to other researchers:

ABSTRACT: Researchers in the fields of sign language and gesture studies frequently present their participants with video stimuli showing actors performing linguistic signs or co-speech gestures. Up to now, such video stimuli have been mostly controlled only for some of the technical aspects of the video material (e.g., duration of clips, encoding, framerate, etc.), leaving open the possibility that systematic differences in video stimulus materials may be concealed in the actual motion properties of the actor’s movements. Computer vision methods such as OpenPose enable the fitting of body-pose models to the consecutive frames of a video clip and thereby make it possible to recover the movements performed by the actor in a particular video clip without the use of a point-based or markerless motion-tracking system during recording. The OpenPoseR package provides a straightforward and reproducible way of working with these body-pose model data extracted from video clips using OpenPose, allowing researchers in the fields of sign language and gesture studies to quantify the amount of motion (velocity and acceleration) pertaining only to the movements performed by the actor in a video clip. These quantitative measures can be used for controlling differences in the movements of an actor in stimulus video clips or, for example, between different conditions of an experiment. In addition, the package also provides a set of functions for generating plots for data visualization, as well as an easy-to-use way of automatically extracting metadata (e.g., duration, framerate, etc.) from large sets of video files.


language/motor interface

Preprints/submitted/in preparation

Peer-reviewed articles


The neural correlates of actions: A meta-analytical perspective on motor domains and movement features.
Rovereto Workshop on Concepts, Actions, and Objects: Functional and Neural Perspectives, Rovereto, Italy (2019)


Peer-reviewed articles

ABSTRACT: Semantic composition is the ability to combine single words to form complex meanings and is an essential component for successful communication. Evidence from neuroimaging studies suggests that semantic composition engages a widely distributed left-hemispheric network, including the anterior temporal lobe, the inferior frontal gyrus, and the angular gyrus. To date, the functional relevance of these regions remains unclear. Here we investigate the impact of lesions to key regions in the semantic network on basic semantic composition. We conducted a multivariate lesion-behavior mapping study in thirty-six native German speaking participants with chronic lesions to the language network after left-hemispheric stroke. During the experiment, participants performed a plausibility judgment task on auditorily presented adjective-noun phrases that were either meaningful (“anxious horse”), anomalous (“anxious salad”) or had the noun replaced by a pseudoword (“anxious gufel”), as well as a single-word control condition (“horse”). We observed that reduced accuracy for anomalous phrases is associated with lesions in left anterior inferior frontal gyrus (aIFG), whereas increased reaction times for anomalous phrases correlates with lesions in anterior-to-mid temporal lobe (ATL/MTG). These results indicate that aIFG is relevant for accurate semantic decisions, while ATL/MTG lesions lead to slowing of the decision for anomalous two-word phrases. These differential effects of lesion location support the notion that aIFG affords executive control for decisions on semantic composition while ATL/MTG lesions slow the semantic processing of the individual constituents of the phrase.



Preprints/submitted/in preparation

Peer-reviewed articles


ABSTRACT: The origins of human language remains a major question in evolutionary science. Unique to human language is the capacity to flexibly recombine a limited sound set into words and hierarchical sequences, generating endlessly new sentences. In contrast, sequence production of other animals appears limited, stunting meaning generation potential. However, studies have rarely quantified flexibility and structure of vocal sequence production across the whole repertoire. Here, we used such an approach to examine the structure of vocal sequences in chimpanzees, known to combine calls used singly into longer sequences. Focusing on the structure of vocal sequences, we analysed 4826 recordings of 46 wild adult chimpanzees from Taï National Park. Chimpanzees produced 390 unique vocal sequences. Most vocal units emitted singly were also emitted in two-unit sequences (bigrams), which in turn were embedded into three-unit sequences (trigrams). Bigrams showed positional and transitional regularities within trigrams with certain bigrams predictably occurring in either head or tail positions in trigrams, and predictably co-occurring with specific other units. From a purely structural perspective, the capacity to organize single units into structured sequences offers a versatile system potentially suitable for expansive meaning generation. Further research must show to what extent these structural sequences signal predictable meanings.



Preprints/submitted/in preparation


Breaking down complexity: The neural basis of the syntactic merge mechanism in the human brain.
Dissertation, p. 217, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany (2016)

Master, Università di Siena, Italy (2009)


Towards a causal role for Broca’s area in language processing: A TMS-EEG approach testing syntactic prediction in the left inferior frontal gyrus. 

General Linguistics Colloquium. Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany (2020)

Functional neuroanatomy of sign language in deaf signers: Activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis and meta-analytic connectivity mapping. 

DISPOC Conference on Brain, Learning and Language. University of Siena, Italy (2019)

A meta-analytic perspective on data sharing and reproducibility in cognitive neuroscience of sign language. 

Workshop on Doing Reproducible and Rigorous Science with Deaf Children, Deaf Communities, and Sign Languages: Challenges and Opportunities. Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany (2019)

Neuroanatomy of the merging mechanism in humans: Topographical organization, ontogeny and phylogeny.
Human Language in Evolution: Some Key Perspectives. The 3rd Crete Summer School of Linguistics, Rethymnon, Crete (2019)

Neuroanatomical considerations on the linguistic merging mechanism in humans. 

Cartography of Language meets Cartography of Brain in Autism Spectrum Disorder Study. National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, Tokorozawa, Japan (2019)

Reducing complexity. 

INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit. Neurospin Center Gif-sur-Yvette, Paris, France (2018)

Thoughts on the emergence of categorical abstraction.
Typical and Atypical Language Acquisition Colloquium. Department Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany (2018)

Labeled trees as the computational step bridging animal cognition to the language faculty and its neural grounding. 

Protolang 5,. Barcelona, Spain (2017)

Approaching language from below: Neural basis of minimally complex linguistic expressions.

M&B Alumni Talk Series, Berlin, Germany (2017)

Breaking down complexity. 

UMR Séminaire: Structures Formelles du Langage. Université Paris VIII, Paris, France (2016)

Functional imaging of language hierarchy and recursion. 

Organization for Human Brain Mapping – 1st Alpine Chapter Symposium. Vienna, Austria (2015)

On the cortical implementation of the merging mechanism for language.
Neurocognition of Language (NOLA). Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam, Germany (2015)

Breaking down complexity. 

How to Measure Clausal Complexity? Valletta, Malta (2015)

On the cortical implementation of the merging mechanism for language.
INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit. Neurospin Center, Gif-sur-Yvette, Paris, France (2014)

On the nature of merge. 

Issues in Philosophy and Neuroscience. Berlin School of Mind and Brain & Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences LMU Munich. Venice, Italy (2011)

scientific committee/organized conferences

ad hoc reviewer

Acta Psychologica; Cerebral Cortex; Cognition; Cognition and Neuroscience; European Journal of Neuroscience; Frontiers in Psychology; International Journal of Psychology; Journal of Cognitive Science; Language; Linguistic Analysis; NeuroImage; Neuropsychologia; PLOS Biology; Scientific Reports