neuro-psycholinguistics


Neuro-Psycholinguistics
is the study of the mental structures and neural bases in the human brain that control the comprehension, production, and acquisition of language. Although we cover a broad spectrum of related topics, our main foci of interests are bilingualism, second/third language acquisition, and cross-linguistic variation.

*A neurolinguistics study on spatial cognition of English spatial prepositions.                                               The communication process containing spatial information often causes some errors. These errors result from various factors of the communication participants-such as the information gap on a certain space, different individual preference on each spatial element, age, gender and many others. However, aside from these factors, communication difficulties can also be caused from difference in language comprehension, as language is used as the major means of communication. The language competence is highly relevant to spatial cognition. By using electrophysiological measures (event-related potentials: ERPs, and eye-tracker) this study aims to find out the relation between second language proficiency and comprehension on spatial language.

*An ERP study on the correlation between second foreign language acquisition and cognitive enhancement in adolescents and adults.                                                                                                                 According to a number of prior studies, bilingualism may influence cognitive control such as conflict resolution, inhibitory control, or task switching, as bilinguals surpass monolinguals in the tasks related to measuring cognitive control. By using electrophysiological measures (event-related potentials: ERPs) we aim to find out whether second foreign language acquisition could also affect cognitive control. Moreover, we would like to discover how age (adults vs. adolescents) and type of L3 (English-familiar language: e.g. German vs. English-unfamiliar language: e.g. Chinese) could influence cognitive changes. In the present study, the subjects are going to learn an English-familiar language or an English-unfamiliar language. Before and after the learning session, we are going to measure the brain wave of each subject with using AX-CPT paradigm, and analyze ERP components to find out the effect of L3 acquisition on cognitive control. In the first year of the present study, we are going to conduct the experiment on adults (college students), and in the second year, we are planning to conduct the same experiment on adolescents (middle-school or high-school students).

* A Morphological Processing of Determiner-Noun Agreement by Korean Learners of English: An ERP Study.
Online processing of agreement is known to be difficult in the field of second language acquisition (Chen et al., 2007; Coughlin & Tremblay, 2013; Jiang, 2004, 2007; Jiang et al., 2011; Keating, 2009, 2010; Meulman et al., 2014; Sabourin & Stowe, 2008; Tanner et al., 2012). Distance between constituents makes morphosyntactic processing even more challenging (Gibson, 1998; Just & Carpenter, 1992). Even in the cases where L2 learners successfully compute inflectional morphemes, Clahsen and Felser (2006) claim that it will be limited to local domains. According to Gibson (1998), a longer distance between constituents causes processing difficulty mainly due to increased demands on cognitive resources, i.e. working memory. As distance enlarges, a parser has to keep in its memory the syntactic information of the former constituent for a longer time as well as integrate new input into already built structures. This study aims to examine the online processing of number agreement in an English determiner phrase (DP) by advanced L2 learners in comparison to English native speakers, using event-related potentials (ERPs). In addition, the extent to which advanced L2 learners are affected by distance in the DP in relation with their working memory capacity is investigated.