In search of syntactic representations in the brain.
How are sentences represented in the brain? In particular, do the
syntactic structures proposed by many linguistics analyses correspond
to actual, neurally encoded, data structures during sentence
comprehension? In the first part of the talk, I will present our
attempts to address this question through a series of functional
magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments relying on a variety of
experimental paradigms (syntactic priming, manipulation of syntactic
coherence, sentence verification, …). I will also describe some
incursions made in the domains of Music and Mathematics where objects
(e.g. melodies on the one hand, arithmetic formulas or number names on
the other hand) arguably possess some syntactic structure. The results
of experiments manipulating syntactic coherence with these types of
stimuli reveal some interesting similarities and discrepancy with
natural language.