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Contract number
Time span of the project

As of 01.11.2022

Number of staff members
scientific publications
Objects of intellectual property
General information

Name of the project: Cognitive neuroscience of learning and language comprehension 

Goals and objectives

Research directions: Psychology

Project objective: Conducting a series of complex experiments using a combination of methods of modern neuroscience to study brain substrate of language acquisition in real time and non-invasive registration of neuroplastic changes in brain cortex during process of language acquisition and perception

The practical value of the study

Scientific results:

  • We have developed cross-disciplinary experimental paradigms for the behavioral and neurophysiological study of the mechanisms responsible for mastering new words and the formation of a cortical representation of new language material;
  • The Laboratory has conducted electrophysiological experiments that demonstrated the existence of two types of language acquisiton that are equally efficient at the behavioral level but differing at the neurobiological level – implicit and explicit, as well as described the differences in the brain mechanisms underlying them;
  • We have conducted experiments to study the neurophysiological processes underlying the acquisition of abstract and concrete  speech information;
  • Our researchers have described the features of the brain mechanisms responsible for learning in pre-school children;
  • We have developed of minimally-invasive stimulating impact on the brain for the modification (acceleration or deceleration) of processes of language acquisition;
  • We are further refining methods of optimization of processes of learning using f• 1 postgraduate thesis. minimally invasive neurostimulation. 

Implemented results of research:

The Laboratory has developed experimental paradigms aimed at the research of the processes underlying the acquisition of abstract and concrete speech information, as well as at the study of explicit and implicit methods of speech learning.

We have created the topical issue «Brain-Behavior Interfaces in Linguistic Communication» of the international peer-reviewed journal «Frontiers in Human Neuroscience» (Impact-factor (Web of Science) = 3.964, Q2).

The Laboratory has patented the program «A software complex for the analysis of parameters of pre-stimulus activity in EEG recordings and subsequent compartison of these parameters with post-stimulus activity» (PREPOST) (certificate of registration No. 2019661690, Date of registration: 5 September 2019). Yevgeniy D. Blagoveshchenskiy, Yuriy Yu. Shtyrov, Yekaterina I. Perikova, Olga V. Shcherbakova, Alexandr S. Kirsanov.

We have published the monograph written by the employees of the Laboratory «From the word to representation: neurocognitive foundations of verbal learning» edited by Olga V. Shcherbakova (eLIBRARY ID: 48731579). 

Education and career development:

We are working on methods for the optimization of the processes of learning using non-invasive neurostimulation.

The Laboratory has developed the following courses and implemented them into the competence-oriented study plans of Saint Petersburg State University: «Cognitive Neurobiology of Language and Speech», «Human Neuroscience».

Over the course of the implementation of the project, the members of the academic team have prepared and defended the following works under the supervision of senior colleagues:

  • 2 bachelor’s degree diplomas;
  • 5 master’s degree diplomas;
  • 1 certificate of completion of postgraduate school program.

Five employees of the Laboratory have beeb admitted to the postgraduate school and  are working on their Candidate of Sciences dissertations using the created infrastructure under the supervision of senior colleagues. 

Organizational and structural changes:

For the first time at Saint Petersburg State University, we have created modern infrastructure that combines capabilities for multi-modal non-invasive experiments aimed at the research of the functioning of the human brain. It features the capability of writing multi-channel high-density EEG under conditions of electromagnetic and acoustic isolation, using neurostimulation methods of transcranial electric and magnetic stimulation, collecting behavioral data, writing video-oculography data, combining these methods as well as modern software and hardware for the analysis of data of various types. This infrastructure is available for employees of various departments and faculties of the university and cooperating organizations. 


HSE University (Russia), Sirius Educational Center (Russia): internships of employees, experience exchange, performing research using new equipment at the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurodynamics.

Almazov National Medical Research Center (Russia): joint research.

University of Helsinki (Finland), Cambridge University (United Kingdom), Lund University (Sweden), Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Jyväskyla (Finland), New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria), University of California, San Francisco (USA), Northumbria University (United Kingdom): joint research and publications. 

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Shtyrov Y., Filippova M., Blagovechtchenski E., Kirsanov A., Nikiforova E., Shcherbakova O.
Electrophysiological evidence of dissociation between explicit encoding and fast mapping of novel spoken words // Frontiers in Psychology. 2021, 12(571673). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.571673
Kurmakaeva D., Blagovechtchenski E., Gnedykh Daria., Mkrtychian N., Kostromina S., Shtyrov Y.
Acquisition of concrete and abstract words is modulated by tDCS of Wernicke’s area // Scientific Reports. 2021, 11, № 1508. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-79967-8
Aleksandrov A. A., Memetova K. S., Stankevich L. N., Knyazeva V. M., Shtyrov Y.
Lexical Frequency Predicts Mismatch Negativity Responses to New Words Following Semantic Training // Journal of psycholinguistic research, 2020, 49(2), pp. 187–198. DOI: 10.1007/s10936-019-09678-3
Shtyrov Y., Kirsanov A., Shcherbakova O.
Explicitly Slow, Implicitly Fast, or the Other Way Around? Brain Mechanisms for Word Acquisition // Frontiers in human neuroscience, 2019, Vol. 13(116). DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00116
Blagovechtchenski E., Gnedykh D., Kurmakaeva D., Mkrtychian N., Kostromina S., Shtyrov Y.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) of Wernicke’s and Broca’s Areas in Studies of Language Learning and Word Acquisition // Journal of visualized experiments, 2019, ISSUE 149. DOI: 10.3791/59159
Mkrtychian N., Blagovechtchenski E., Kurmakaeva D., Gnedykh D., Kostromina S. and Shtyrov Y.
Concrete vs. abstract semantics: From mental representations to functional brain mapping // Frontiers in human neuroscience. 2019, Vol.13(267). DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00267
Vasilyeva M.J., Knyazeva V.M., Aleksandrov A.A., Shtyrov Y.Y.
Neurophysiological correlates of fast mapping of novel words in the adult brain // Frontiers in human neuroscience. 2019, Vol.13(304). DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00304
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