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Desai Lab

Language, Concepts, and the Brain


We investigate brain bases of language and especially meaning or semantics. We study how concepts are represented and processed in the brain. One of the questions that is a current focus of research is: Is the conceptual (thinking) system of the brain completely separate from the perception-action (seeing, hearing, acting) systems of the brain? We can further ask questions such as: To what extent does language about time and space use neural resources used for perceiving time and space? What is the effect of pathology of the sensory-motor systems on conceptual processing?

Some Current Projects

Effects of perspective on concept embodiment
Action and abstract semantics in Parkinson’s
Lesion-symptom mapping in stroke patients
Representation of temporal and spatial language
Embodiment of metaphors and idioms
Knowledge of people and places


Functional MRI
Lesion-symptom mapping
Transcranial direct current stimulation
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Computational modeling
Behavioral studies
Multi-voxel analyses



Supported by NIDCD/NIH.
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