Sunday, November 25, 2007

A few more ideas for our Top-10 list

I thought that readers (insofar as there are any left) would contribute some votes/ideas here, but the holiday (Thanksgiving in the US, at least) may have slowed down everyone's cortical metabolism.

To continue this Top-10 list (by the way, Greg, do we have the nerve to do the Top-10 most silly or stupid papers one has come across? I bet Bill Idsardi has the nerve ...), here are articles and books that have influenced how I think about the neural basis of language. Again, an unnecessarily small selection, it should go without saying.

David's End-of-Thanksgiving Approximately Top-10 List:

• Kutas M, Hillyard SA. (1980). Reading senseless sentences: brain potentials reflect semantic incongruity. Science 207(4427):203-5.
The birth of the N400. Hard not to be influenced by that one. In fact, this year we published our own first N400 paper, which was closely related to the original work [Sandeep Prasada, Anna Salajegheh, Anita Bowles, David Poeppel (2007). Characterising kinds and instances of kinds: ERP reflections. Language and Cognitive Processes. DOI: 10.1080/01690960701428292].

• Gallistel, C. R. (1980) The organization of action: A new synthesis. Hillsdale, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. [[Or, I you want a shorter piece, and inspiring about a different set of issues: Gallistel, C.R. (1998) Symbolic processes in the brain: The case of insect navigation. In D. Scarorough & S Sternberg (Eds) Methods, models and conceptual issues. Vol 4 of An invitation to cognitive science. 2nd edition (D. Osherson, General Editor) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.]]
Randy Gallistel's work is not about psycho- or neurolinguistics; but, pound for pound, he is the best damn cognitive scientist out there. Practically every page has an idea worth considering for our own area of research.

• Marr, D. (1982). Vision: A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information," W.H. Freeman and Company, NY.
Marr's book and his way of thinking about problems is immensely useful for neurolinguistics. Everyone should read the first few chapters.

• Chomsky, N. (1986). Knowledge of language: its nature, origins and use, Praeger, New York.
Nooooaaaam ..... Nooooaaaam ..... The E-language/I-language distinction, among other things. Lots of great stuff. I mean, come one, who has had more key ideas??

• McCarthy RA, Warrington EK. (1988). Evidence for modality-specific meaning systems in the brain. Nature 334(6181):428-30.
Just plain cool lesion data.

• Felleman DJ, Van Essen DC. (1991). Distributed hierarchical processing in the primate cerebral cortex. Cereb Cortex 1(1):1-47.
Again, not neuroscience of language but vision -- but which contemporary study of functional anatomy is not deeply influenced by this seminal paper?

• Corina DP, Vaid J, Bellugi U. (1992). The linguistic basis of left hemisphere specialization. Science. 255(5049):1258-60.
An important contribution to our understanding of modality-independent representation.

• Osterhout L, Holcomb PJ, Swinney DA. (1994). Brain potentials elicited by garden-path sentences: evidence of the application of verb information during parsing. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 20(4):786-803.
The birth of the P600, although one must also acknowledge some of the Colin Brown/Peter Hagoort papers on this at about the same time.

• Salmelin R, Hari R, Lounasmaa OV, Sams M. (1994). Dynamics of brain activation during picture naming. Nature 368(6470):463-5.
A tour de force demonstration that one can use MEG to 'follow a signal through the brain,' by determining the cortical activation sequence.

• Friederici AD. (1995). The time course of syntactic activation during language processing: a model based on neuropsychological and neurophysiological data. Brain Lang. 50(3):259-81.
The most clear statement of the model that argues for structure-to-insertion-to-cleanup, a la Frazier, and developing the ELAN/LAN-N400-P600 model sequence.

• Turennout M, Hagoort P, Brown CM. (1998). Brain activity during speaking: from syntax to phonology in 40 milliseconds. Science 280(5363):572-4.
A clever study that begins to show how rapidly processing stages are likely to interact or follow one another.

*****Please comment/add/subtract suggestions. At the very least, if enough of us play this game, we can generate a pretty decent syllabus for a graduate seminar that all of us can use -- that would be a decent public service, no? ******


Greg Hickok said...

Hmmm. All very good papers/books. Seminal electrophys work is definitely worthy of the "Top 10" and Noam is just in a class of his own when it comes to any research on language. Other papers that come to mind are the past tense mavens:

Rumelhart & McClelland, 1986. On the learning the past tense of English verbs.

Pinker & Prince, 1988. On language and connectionism...

Neither are directly neuroscience related but highly influential in much language research.

And if we are going to expand our boundaries beyond explicitly language work, there's plenty of work in vision that has influenced our conception of dorsal and ventral streams: papers and books by Richard Andersen, Carol Colby, Melvyn Goodale, among others.

Maybe a Top 100 is more feasible than a top 10...

Whitney Anne Postman-Caucheteux said...

Hi guys. Two suggested additions to get you closer to the worthy goal of Top 100 refs on Neuroscience of Language:

1) No neurolinguistic library would be complete without David Caplan's (1992) tome "Language: Structure, Processing, and Disorders"
published by MIT Press. I use it as my citation for his unfortunately unpublished Psycholinguistic Assessment of Language. And I based much of my dissertation work on grammatical processing deficits in aphasia in Indonesian on the sections about his seminal syntactic comprehension studies, with participants with aphasia due to stroke enacting subject- and object-relative sentences (involving, as I recall, large animals doing bad things to each other). These, among there discussions and overviews in the book, are foundational.

2) For a classic case series showing that you need a damage to a lot more than just Broca's area (boundaries yet to be agreed upon, admittedly) to get Broca's aphasia, please add:
Mohr JP, Pessin MS, Finkelstein S, Funkenstein HH, Duncan GW, Davis KR. (1978). "Broca aphasia: pathologic and clinical." Neurology 28:311-24.
Another reason for including a ref by JP Mohr (as if he needs one): He was Jeff Binder's mentor.

That's all for now. Hope to have a moment sometime soon to suggest some possibly underrated papers that I'd love to champion. At the very least, they deserve honorable mention.

Yours in Neurolinguistic Hit Parade solidarity,