Lars Meyer

Lars Meyer
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences | CBS · MPRG Language Cycles

PhD, Linguistics

About

46
Publications
8,147
Reads
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1,290
Citations
Introduction
I am a cognitive neuroscientist interested in the electrophysiology of language. Specifically, I investigate the role of periodic activity—so-called neural oscillations—in sentence comprehension. I employ neuroimaging (e.g., M/EEG, f/d/sMRI) on a range of populations (e.g., developmental, healthy, aging, and clinical). More recently, I combine these with corpus analysis and some rudimentary NLP.
Additional affiliations
October 2021 - present
Universitätsklinikum Münster
Position
  • Research Associate
January 2019 - present
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
Position
  • Group Leader

Publications

Publications (46)
Preprint
Full-text available
During daily communication, visual cues such as gestures, body posture, and eye gaze accompany the acoustic speech signal. This multimodality facilitates speech perception and language comprehension. Co-speech gestures have been previously shown to modulate the N400, an electrophysiological response that reflects lexical-semantic prediction and ret...
Article
Full-text available
Infants prefer to be addressed with infant-directed speech (IDS). IDS benefits language acquisition through amplified low-frequency amplitude modulations. It has been reported that this amplification increases electrophysiological tracking of IDS compared to adult-directed speech (ADS). It is still unknown which particular frequency band triggers t...
Article
Full-text available
Speech is transient. To comprehend entire sentences, segments consisting of multiple words need to be memorized for at least a while. However, it has been noted previously that we struggle to memorize segments longer than approximately 2.7 s. We hypothesized that electrophysiological processing cycles within the delta band (<4 Hz) underlie this tim...
Article
Full-text available
Deficits in language production and comprehension are characteristic of schizophrenia. To date, it remains unclear whether these deficits arise from dysfunctional linguistic knowledge, or dysfunctional predictions derived from the linguistic context. Alternatively, the deficits could be a result of dysfunctional neural tracking of auditory informat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Deficits in language production and comprehension are characteristic of schizophrenia. To date, it remains unclear whether these deficits arise from dysfunctional linguistic knowledge, or dysfunctional predictions derived from the linguistic context. Alternatively, the deficits could be a result of dysfunctional neural tracking of auditory informat...
Article
Full-text available
Could meaning be read from acoustics, or from the refraction rate of pyramidal cells innervated by the cochlea, everyone would be an omniglot. Speech does not contain sufficient acoustic cues to identify linguistic units such as morphemes, words, and phrases without prior knowledge. Our target article (Meyer, L., Sun, Y., & Martin, A. E. (2019). Sy...
Poster
Full-text available
At the point of an erroneous chunking decision—about a second before the P600 indicates reanalysis of an ambiguous sentence—a delta-band phase shift occurs. Critically, this happens only when the to-be-chunked word sequence is too long to increase further in verbal working memory. This is a further piece of evidence that delta-band oscillations are...
Poster
Full-text available
Prosody can be entrained to affect subsequent sentence processing, such that the duration of an upcoming sentence appears to be anticipated beforehand! After all, intonation may not only help in the bottom-up segmentation of sentences, but also in the prediction of the duration of upcoming segments.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present the Le Petit Prince Corpus (LPPC), a multilingual resource for research in (computational) psycho-and neurolinguistics. The corpus consists of the children's story The Little Prince in 26 languages. The dataset is in the process of being built using state-of-the-art methods for speech and language processing and electroencephalography (E...
Preprint
Expectation is crucial for our enjoyment of music, yet the underlying generative mechanism remains contested. While sensory–acoustic models derive predictions based on the short-term auditory input alone, cognitive models assume the use of abstract knowledge of music structure acquired over the long-term. To evaluate these two contrasting mechanism...
Article
Full-text available
Research on speech processing is often focused on a phenomenon termed "entrainment", whereby the cortex shadows rhythmic acoustic information with oscillatory activity. Entrainment has been observed to a range of rhythms present in speech; in addition, synchronicity with abstract information (e.g. syntactic structures) has been observed. Entrainmen...
Article
Full-text available
Developmental dyslexia (DD) impairs reading and writing acquisition in 5–10% of children, compromising schooling, academic success, and everyday adult life. DD associates with reduced phonological skills, evident from a reduced auditory Mismatch Negativity (MMN) in the electroencephalogram (EEG). It was argued that such phonological deficits are se...
Article
Listening to music often evokes intense emotions [1, 2]. Recent research suggests that musical pleasure comes from positive reward prediction errors, which arise when what is heard proves to be better than expected [3]. Central to this view is the engagement of the nucleus accumbens-a brain region that processes reward expectations-to pleasurable m...
Article
Full-text available
When sentence processing taxes verbal working memory, comprehension difficulties arise. This is specifically the case when processing resources decline with advancing adult age. Such decline likely affects the encoding of sentences into working memory, which constitutes the basis for successful comprehension. To assess age differences in encoding-r...
Article
Full-text available
Verbal working memory-intensive sentence processing declines with age. This might reflect older adults’ difficulties with reducing the memory load by grouping single words into multiword chunks. Here we used a serial order task emphasizing syntactic and semantic relations. We evaluated the extent to which older compared with younger adults may diff...
Article
Communication is an inferential process. In particular, language comprehension constantly requires top-down efforts, as often multiple interpretations are compatible with a given sentence. To assess top-down processing in the language domain, our experiment employed ambiguous sentences that allow for multiple interpretations (e.g., The client sued...
Article
Sentence comprehension requires the encoding of phrases and their relationships into working memory. To date, despite the importance of neural oscillations in language comprehension, the neural-oscillatory dynamics of sentence encoding are only sparsely understood. Although oscillations in a wide range of frequency bands have been reported both for...
Article
Full-text available
Complex auditory sequences known as music have often been described as hierarchically structured. This permits the existence of non-local dependencies, which relate elements of a sequence beyond their temporal sequential order. Previous studies in music have reported differential activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) when comparing regular a...
Article
In auditory neuroscience, electrophysiological synchronization to low-level acoustic and high-level linguistic features is well established-but its functional purpose for verbal information transmission is unclear. Based on prior evidence for a dependence of auditory task performance on delta-band oscillatory phase, we hypothesized that the synchro...
Article
Full-text available
The cognitive functionality of neural oscillations is still highly debated, as diferent functions have been associated with identical frequency ranges. Theta band oscillations, for instance, were proposed to underlie both language comprehension and domain-general cognitive abilities. Here we show that the ageing brain can provide an answer to the o...
Article
Full-text available
Storage and reordering of words are two core processes required for successful sentence comprehension. Storage is necessary whenever the verb and its arguments (i.e., subject and object) are separated by a long distance, while reordering is necessary whenever the argument order is atypical (e.g., object-first order in German, where subject-first or...
Article
Neural oscillations subserve a broad range of functions in speech processing and language comprehension. On the one hand, speech contains—somewhat—repetitive trains of air pressure bursts that occur at three dominant amplitude modulation frequencies, physically marking the linguistically meaningful progressions of phonemes, syllables, and intonatio...
Article
Sentences are easier to remember than random word sequences, likely because linguistic regularities facilitate chunking of words into meaningful groups. The present electroencephalography study investigated the neural oscillations modulated by this so-called sentence superiority effect during the encoding and maintenance of sentence fragments versu...
Article
Full-text available
The understanding of neuroplasticity following stroke is predominantly based on neuroimaging measures that cannot address the subsecond neurodynamics of impaired language processing. We combined behavioral and electrophysiological measures and structural-connectivity estimates to characterize neuroplasticity underlying successful compensation of la...
Article
Full-text available
Storage and reordering of incoming information are two core processes required for successful sentence comprehension. Storage is necessary whenever the verb and its arguments (i.e., subject and object) are separated over a long distance, while reordering is necessary whenever the argument order is atypical (e.g., object-first order in German, where...
Chapter
The functional neuroanatomy of sentence processing is one of the most classical topics of cognitive neuropsychology of speech and language processing. We first outline the cognitive processes involved in the processing of complex sentences with noncanonical and embedded sentence structures, for which cross-linguistic psycholinguistic research has r...
Article
Language comprehension requires that single words be grouped into syntactic phrases, as words in sentences are too many to memorize individually. In speech, acoustic and syntactic grouping patterns mostly align. However, when ambiguous sentences allow for alternative grouping patterns, comprehenders may form phrases that contradict speech prosody....
Article
Full-text available
Our understanding of neuroplasticity following stroke is predominantly based on neuroimaging measures that cannot address the subsecond neurodynamics of impaired language processing. We combined for the first time behavioral and electrophysiological measures and structural- connectivity estimates to characterize neuroplasticity underlying successfu...
Article
Full-text available
Unlike other aspects of language comprehension, the ability to process complex sentences develops rather late in life. Brain maturation as well as verbal working memory (vWM) expansion have been discussed as possible reasons. To determine the factors contributing to this functional development, we assessed three aspects in different age groups (5–6...
Article
Full-text available
Prior structural imaging studies found initial evidence for the link between structural gray matter changes and the development of language performance in children. However, previous studies generally only focused on sentence comprehension. Therefore, little is known about the relationship between structural properties of brain regions relevant to...
Article
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...
Article
Successful working-memory retrieval requires that items be retained as distinct units. At the neural level, it has been shown that theta-band oscillatory power increases with the number of to-be-distinguished items during working-memory retrieval. Here we hypothesized that during sentence comprehension, verbal-working-memory retrieval demands lead...
Article
The Arcuate Fasciculus/Superior Longitudinal Fasciculus (AF/SLF) is the white-matter bundle that connects posterior superior temporal and inferior frontal cortex. Its causal functional role in sentence processing and verbal working memory is currently under debate. While impairments of sentence processing and verbal working memory often co-occur in...
Article
Full-text available
Research on language comprehension using event-related potentials (ERPs) reported distinct ERP components reliably related to the processing of semantic (N400) and syntactic information (P600). Recent ERP studies have challenged this well-defined distinction by showing P600 effects for semantic and pragmatic anomalies. So far, it is still unresolve...
Article
Auditory categorization is a vital skill involving the attribution of meaning to acoustic events, engaging domain-specific (i.e., auditory) as well as domain-general (e.g., executive) brain networks. A listener's ability to categorize novel acoustic stimuli should therefore depend on both, with the domain-general network being particularly relevant...
Article
Full-text available
In sentence processing, it is still unclear how the neural language network successfully establishes argument-verb dependencies in its spatiotemporal neuronal dynamics. Previous work has suggested that the establishment of subject-verb and object-verb dependencies requires argument retrieval from working memory, and that dependency establishment in...
Article
Full-text available
In sentence processing, storage and ordering of the verb and its arguments (subject and object) are core tasks. Their cortical representation is a matter of ongoing debate, and it is unclear whether prefrontal activations in neuroimaging studies on sentence processing reflect the storage of arguments or their ordering. Moreover, it is unclear how s...
Article
Both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related brain potential (ERP) studies have shown that verbal working memory plays an important role during sentence processing. There is growing evidence from outside of sentence processing that human alpha oscillations (7-13 Hz) play a critical role in working memory. This study aims to l...
Article
Under real-life adverse listening conditions, the interdependence of the brain's analysis of language structure (syntax) and its analysis of the acoustic signal is unclear. In two fMRI experiments, we first tested the functional neural organization when listening to increasingly complex syntax in fMRI. We then tested parametric combinations of synt...

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