Systems Neurobiology

Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Verbal Communication

Verbal communication, in particular speech comprehension, relies on a combination of general auditory and speech-specific mechanisms, as well as on their interactions with multimodal and wide-spread neural networks that support other cognitive functions (e.g., attention and decision making). We study the cognitive and neural mechanisms that support language comprehension and verbal communication, in monolingual and bilingual individuals.


We use multiple electrophysiological methodologies, including whole-brain recordings using MEG and EEG, as well as intracranial electrophysiology in clinical settings (iEEG). This combination provides us with the unique opportunity to study human communication across neuronal scales: whole-brain neural dynamics in MEG, and submillimeter spatial resolution of intracranial recordings. Experimentally, we combine the analysis of continuous naturalistic stimuli with targeted hypothesis-driven task and stimulus designs.

Open positions

We are looking for motivated students at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD levels to start in November 2021 or later. If you are interested in joining, please get in touch! For funded PhD positions, see more details here.

Selected Publications

  • Hamilton, L. S., Oganian, Y., Hall, J., & Chang, E. F. (2021). Parallel and distributed encoding of speech across human auditory cortex. Cell.
  • Kojima K.*, Oganian, Y.*, Cheng C., Findlay A., Chang E.F & Nagarajan S. (2020) Low-frequency neural tracking of speech envelope reflects evoked responses to acoustic edges, not oscillatory entrainment BioRxiv preprint doi:
  • Oganian, Y. & Chang, E.F. (2019) A speech envelope landmark for syllable encoding in human superior temporal gyrus. Science Advances, 5, eaay6279.
  • Oganian, Y., Conrad, M., Aryani, A., Heekeren, H. R., & Spalek, K. (2016) Interplay of bigram frequency and orthographic neighborhood statistics in language membership decision. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19(3), 1–19.
  • Oganian, Y.*, Korn, C. W. *, & Heekeren, H. R. (2016) Language switching-but not foreign language use per se-reduces the framing effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(1), 140–8.

Group Leader and Further Information

Dr. Yulia Oganian
Human Verbal Communication Lab
Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
Otfried-Mueller-Str. 25
72076 Tübingen

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