The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 2/24 - Enes Avcu (MGH/Harvard)

Speaker: Enes Avcu (MGH/Harvard)
Title: Using Cognitive Neuroscience to Understand Learning Mechanisms: Evidence from Phonological Processing
Time: Monday, February 24th, 5pm – 6:30pm
Location: 32-D831

Abstract: My dissertation work studies different learning mechanisms of phonological processing by conducting behavioral and neurophysiological experiments in the artificial grammar learning paradigm. The main goal is to identify the phonological computations that give rise to the complex combinatorics underlying human languages by providing new knowledge about whether linguistic constraints that are learned in laboratory situations are directly “channeled” into incremental, real-time phonological predictive processing. To this end, my research uses behavioral and neurophysiological measures (EEG/ERPs) to test the predictions of phonological computations. In this talk, I will present the results of some of my experiments designed to investigate non-adjacent dependencies between two phonemes in a word. My results will reveal that systematic consequences of phonological computations can be detected during word processing via EEG/ERPs. I will illustrate that the learning outcome (either behavioral or neural) depends on the specific learning mechanism (domain-specific vs. domain-general) and the computational complexity of the patterns​​.