Human Capital Multidisciplinary Research Center

5.2.1 Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Communication and Speech

Yury Shtyrov
Project Leader

Andriy Myachykov
Project Leader

Project period


Context of Research Project within a Subject of Human Capital

Decision-making and information dissemination primarily take place in the communicative environment. In this regard, it is important to develop comprehensive theoretical models of the mechanisms of language and communicative function within a multimodal interface between different neurocognitive systems. This requires studying neural networks involved in the acquisition of new word forms, their meaning, as well as the ways of using them in complex sensorimotor and social contexts, studying the role of attention and perception mechanisms in language processes, understanding the mechanisms of bi- and multilingualism, language creativity, individual, variability and age-related dynamics of communicative functions.

The research project is aimed at studying the mechanisms of social communication in the context of modern ‘big challenges’, which will contribute to the development of a comprehensive theoretical model of language acquisition mechanisms, and ultimately to a deeper understanding of the human potential and the mechanisms of its formation

Project Aim

Studying the communicative function as a multimodal interface between different neurocognitive systems

Project Objectives:

  1. Developing methods for testing the impact of multilingualism on cognitive function at different ages and taking into account the individual second-language proficiency level as well as the characteristics of its use by the individual, conducting research on cognitive processes that underlie creative thinking and develop as a result of multilingual practice
  2. Analyzing individual variability of speech function brain lateralization by using functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation taking into account the speakers’ handedness as well as other factors
  3. Developing approaches to measuring the processes of language learning in context of sensorimotor experience, studying the relationships between sensorimotor experience and word processing, clarifying the relationship between attention, sensory perception processes and linguistic behavior, identifying interactions between individual conceptual domains based on the analysis of their general relationship with the processes of attention and sensory perception within the framework of the general theory of embodied cognition
  4. Studying the general mechanisms and individual variability of the dynamics of speech function

Key Findings


A range of behavioral and neurocognitive studies of speech function in different populations, as well as studies of individual variability of the representation of speech function in the brain has been prepared. New methods and approaches to the study of cognitive processes that underlie creative thinking developing as a result of multilingual practice have been developed


Research data have been collected on a wide range of  topics, including sensorimotor mapping of abstract and concrete concepts To this end, the semantic priming paradigm has been used. The first experimental series included 3 experiments. Preliminary data analysis demonstrates a close link between numerical concepts and the letter length of the primed words.

Furthermore, the initial processing of white matter structural data of has been carried out, and the main white matter bundles were reconstructed in the two cerebral hemispheres (frontal-occipital tract, segments of the arcuate fascicle, inferior longitudinal fascicle, etc.), as well as corpus callosum. The main parameters of these tracts were extracted using an innovative hybrid method on structural MRI data using a sample of 50 healthy participants. The statistical analysis of the relationship between the asymmetry of functional brain activation associated with speech activity has been performed. The results indicate that the inferior frontal-occipital tract (but not the arcuate fascicle) is associated with the language lateralization in the brain


The role of general systems of attention, perception and motor control in the processing of abstract concepts of time has been clarified. The data obtained show that the interaction between the sensorimotor system and the activation of time concepts begins already at the early stages of word processing

Отклонения траектории движения курсора при обработке лево- и право- ориентированных слов, связанных с семантикой времени (например, понедельник vs. воскресенье). Окно статистически значимых различий между условиями выделено серым цветом

Educational Programs

Experimental Linguistics Educational Module. Bachelor's Program Fundamental and Computational Linguistics

Integrated track Brain and Cognitive iBrain Sciences

Microdigree Applied Cognitive Neuroscience


  1. Bolgina T. et al. (2022)  Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation modulates action naming over the left but not right inferior frontal gyrus //Brain Structure and Function. – 2022. – Т. 227. – №. 8. – С. 2797-2808. doi
  2. Malyshevskaya A. et al. (2023). Mapping of individual time units in horizontal space //Language and Cognition. – 2023. – Т. 15. – №. 2. – С. 245-265. doi
  3. Shtyrov Y. et al. (2023) Breakdown of category-specific word representations in a brain-constrained neurocomputational model of semantic dementia //Scientific Reports. – 2023. – Т. 13. – №. 1. – С. 19572. doi
  4. Wang Y., Wei L. (2023) Multilingual learning and cognitive restructuring: The role of audiovisual media exposure in Cantonese–English–Japanese multilinguals’ motion event cognition //International Journal of Bilingualism. – 2023. – Т. 27. – №. 3. – С. 331-348. doi
  5. Bermúdez-Margaretto B. et al. (2023) Neural correlates of cross-alphabetic interference and integration in the biliterate brain //Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. – 2023. – С. 1-14. doi


Eighth Summer Neurolinguistic School The Science of Reading: from the Brain to Behavior and Back (Moscow, Russia, June 28-30, 2021)

Ninth Summer Neurolinguistic School Experimental Studies of Ethnic Languages of Russia (Moscow, Russia, June 27-28, 2022)

First International Conference Cross-Cultural Aspects of Bilingualism (Moscow, Russia, September 30, 2022)