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Contract number
Time span of the project

As of 15.02.2021

Number of staff members
scientific publications
Objects of intellectual property
General information
Name of the project: Cognitive neuroscience of learning and language comprehension 

Strategy for Scientific and Technological Development Priority Level: ж

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

  • Cross-disciplinary experimental paradigms for the behavioural and neurophysiological research of the mechanisms responsible for the acquisition of new words and the formation of the cortical representations of new language material;
  • Our researchers have conducted electrophysical experiments that confirmed the existence of two types of language information comprehension that are equally efficient at the behavioural level but differ at the neurobiological level – implicit and explicit. as well as described the differences in the underlying brain mechanisms;
  • Our researchers have conducted experiments to study the neurophysiological processes underpinning the comprehension of abstract and concrete verbal information;
  • The features of brain mechanisms responsible for instant language acquisition in preschool-aged children have been described;
  • We have developed methods of minimally invasive stimulating impact on the brain for the modification (acceleration or deceleration) of the process of the acquisition of language material;
  • We are further refining methods of optimisation of language acquisition using minimally invasive neurostimulation.

Implemented results of research:

We have developed experimental paradigms aimed at the study of the processes underlying the comprehension of abstract and concrete verbal information as well as at the investigation of the implicit and the explicit method of language acquisition.

We have the thematic edition «Brain-Behavior Interfaces in Linguistic Communication» for the international peer-reviewed academic journal «Frontiers in Human Neuroscience» (impact-factor according to Web of Science = 3.964, Q2).

We have patented a computer programme called «A software complex for the analysis of the parameters of the pre-stimulus activity in EEG recordings and subsequent comparison of these parameters with the post-stimulus activity (PREPOST)» (registration number 2019661690, registered on 05 September2019). Evgeniy D. Blagoveshchenskiy, Yuriy Yu. Shtyrov, Yekaterina I. Perikova, Olga V. Shcherbakova, Alexandr S. Kirsanov.

Education and career development:

Our researchers are working on methods for the optimisation of language acquisition using non-invasive neurostimulation.

We have developed the courses «Cognitive Neurobiology of Language and Speech» and «Human Neuroscience». and implemented them into the competency-oriented learning programmes of the Saint Petersburg State University:

During the implementation of the project, members of the academic staff have prepared and defended theses under the supervision of senior colleagues:

  • 2 bachelor's degree theses;
  • 5 master's degree theses;
  • 1 postgraduate degree diploma.

Five members of the academic team have entered graduate schools and are preparing Candidate of Science dissertations on the basis of the Laboratory's infrastructure under the supervision of senior colleagues.

Organizational and structural changes:

For the first time within the Saint Petersburg Sate University, a modern infrastructure has been created that combines capabilities for conducting non-invasive experiments aimed at the study of the work of the human brain. We can record multi-channel high--density EEG with electromagnetic and acoustic isolation, apply neurostimulation methods of transcranial electrical and magnetic stimulation, the accumulation of behavioural data, the recording of videooculography data, the combination of these methods. The Laboratory also has software & hardware tools for the analysis of data of various types. This infrastructure is available to employees of different departments and faculties of the university and our partner organisations.


  • Higher School of Economics (Russia), «Sirius» Educational Centre (Russia): internships of employees, experiments exchange, implementation of research involving new equipment at the Laboratory of Behavioural Neurodynamics.

  • V. A. Almazov National Medical Research Centre (Russia): joint research.

  • University of Helsinki (Finland), University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), Lund University (Sweden), Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Jyväskylä (Finland), New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria), University of California, San Francisco (USA), Northumbria University (United Kingdom): preparation of 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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