My main interests in science are in the neurobiological basis of language and in the treatment of neurological language disorders called aphasias. Over the past 15 years, I developed a model of language processing in the human brain that specifies neural circuits processing words, meaning and syntax. Words are envisaged to be represented in the brain by distributed cell assemblies whose cortical topographies reflect aspects of word meaning. The rules of syntax are proposed to be a product of the interplay between specialized neuronal units, called sequence detectors, and general principles of neuronal dynamics designed to control and regulate activity levels in cortical areas.
|F.Pulvermuller (2003) The Neuroscience of Language. On Brain Circuits of Words and Serial Order, Cambridge University Press.|
In 2000, I moved to Cambridge where my experimental research focuses on studying brain processes of language with multiple imaging techniques, including magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Another focus is on alterations of language processes in the brain brought about by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), focal cortical lesions, and presentation of linguistic information to different parts of the visual field. I am trying to make use of neuroscience knowledge emerging from experimental work in the development of new rehabilitation techniques, especially for the treatment of language deficits after stroke.
If you are interested in a particular paper, please send an e-mail to our librarian, Kevin.Symonds@mrc-cbu.ac.uk. Here is a link to one of them:
Together with my main collaborators Dr. Yury Shtyrov, Dr. Olaf Hauk and Dr. Bettina Mohr, and in collaboration with several researchers at CBU and outside, I am, at present, engaged in numerous projects, some of which are highlighted below:
- Brain activity reflecting word category specific processes: EEG, MEG, and fMRI studies (CBU Speech-Language Project SL4.1),
- The influence of transcranial magnetic stimulation and focal lesions on word category specific processes (SL4.2),
- Language processing outside the focus of attention: The Mismatch Negativity as an index of lexical, semantic and syntactic processes (SL4.3),
- Human cognitive processes reflected by high-frequency oscillations in the gamma band,
- Brain mechanisms of serial order and syntax (SL4.3),
- The role of the right hemisphere and that of interhemispheric interaction in lexical and semantic processing (SL4.4),
- Aphasia therapy and cortical reorganisation of language (SL4.5),
- Brain models of cell assemblies and language.
Most of this research is carried out in the MRC CBU EEG Laboratory, and in the BioMag Laboratory at Helsinki University Central Hospital. Research is, in part, supported by the European Union through the FET Grant Mirrorbot.
|F.Pulvermuller (2002) A brain perspective on language mechanisms: from discrete neuronal ensembles to serial order, Progress in Neurobiology, 67, 85-111.|