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Lecture June 15 – Mapping syntactic structure in the brain

Science at Cal Lecture Series

Mapping syntactic structure in the brain

with Dr. Lydia Majure

Saturday June 15, 2019 at 11:00 AM
100 Genetics and Plant Biology, UC Berkeley

We all remember learning sentence diagrams and part-of-speech in grade school, but are those the underlying representations of syntactic structure in the brain? Neuroimaging allows us to answer this and other questions about language by providing a mechanism to test hypotheses about cognitive processes.

Mapping the Brain

Dr. Lydia Majure

 

Lydia Majure is a cognitive scientist, science policy advocate, and a leader in the academic labor movement.

Her primary research interest is the mechanism of high-level cognitive processes, such as language and complex motor planning. For my graduate work, she studied Electrical Engineering under Prof. Steve Levinson at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her master’s research, she simulated the language differentiation in phonetic perception during infancy. Her doctoral dissertation was on the dynamics of topographic map forming neural networks of spiking neurons and an application to the learning of hand-eye coordination on a humanoid robot.

Lydia did her postdoctoral work in neuroscience at UC Berkeley, working with Prof. Jack Gallant. She used an fMRI voxel-wise modeling approach to study the representation of syntactic features in subjects listening to natural narrative stories. In addition, she is interested in the decoding of imagined speech and possible differences between language production and perception, as well as using brain imaging to test hypotheses from theoretical linguistics.

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