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Metaphors in the Brain: Towards a Neuropragmatic Unification

Speaker: Dr Valentina Bambini, IUSS Centre for Neurocognition and Theoretical Syntax, Pavia





How do brains represent beliefs, knowledge and components of context in order to infer speaker’s meanings and to engage in successful communication? Neuropragmatics is an emerging interdisciplinary field devoted to the answer this question, by describing the neural basis of the so-called pragmatic abilities (Bambini 2010; Bambini & Bara 2012). The talk will explore the possibility of identifying the neurofunctional basis and the temporal signature of pragmatic processing by focusing on the phenomenon of metaphor. Imaging and electrophysiological data on how the brain fills the gap between the literal meaning and the metaphorical meaning will be presented and discussed, highlighting the different cognitive and processing components involved in context-dependent linguistic usages.




Valentina Bambini is Senior Researcher at the IUSS Center for Neurocognition and Theoretical Syntax (NeTS) in Pavia from January 2012. She was educated at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, where in 2007 she received her PhD in Linguistics with a dissertation investigating the neural basis of metaphor comprehension. Her main research interests concern the neurocognitive basis of communicative abilities, in the recent fields of experimental pragmatics and neuropragmatics, and the assessment of communicative competence in patients.

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