On the neurobiological investigation of language understanding in context

Steven L. Small, Howard C. Nusbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


There are two significant problems in using functional neuroimaging methods to study language. Improving the state of functional brain imaging will depend on understanding how the dependent measure of brain imaging differs from behavioral dependent measures (the "dependent measure problem") and how the activation of the motor system may be confounded with non-motor aspects of processing in certain experimental designs (the "motor output problem"). To address these problems, it may be necessary to shift the focus of language research from the study of linguistic competence to the understanding of language use. This will require investigations of language processing in full multi-modal and environmental context, monitoring of natural behaviors, novel experimental design, and network-based analysis. Such a combined naturalistic approach could lead to tremendous new insights into language and the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-311
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and language
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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