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Karsten Steinhauer

Associate Professor

karsten [dot] steinhauer [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)

Neurocognition of Language Lab



MSc & PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) Neurobiology/Cognitive Neuroscience, Free University of Berlin and Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Leipzig (Germany)


Research interests

Research interests lie primarily in the areas of psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience. Current projects focus on the neural organization and temporal online dynamics of processes underlying language perception, particularly using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and other brain imaging techniques. This includes interactions among syntactic, semantic, morphological and (overt or covert) prosodic information in listeners and readers, as well as links between speech and music processing. In addition, Dr. Steinhauer's work addresses issues of bilingualism and second language acquisition in adults, investigating both natural languages and a highly controlled artificial language. A more recent research program investigates the brain mechanisms underlying formal as compared to conceptual semantics, combining ERP and fMRI techniques.

Recent publications

Steinhauer, K. (2014). Event-related potentials (ERPs) in second language research: A brief introduction to the technique, a selected review, and an invitation to reconsider critical periods in L2. Applied Linguistics 35 (4), 393-417.

Molnar, M., Polka, L., Baum, S., & Steinhauer, K. (2014). Learning two languages from birth shapes the pre-attentive process of speech perception: Electrophysiological correlates of vowel discrimination in monolingual and simultaneous bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17, 526-541. [BLC-12-RA—0090]

Nickels, S., Opitz, B. & Steinhauer, K. (2013). ERPs show that classroom-instructed late second language learners rely on the same prosodic cues in syntactic parsing as native speakers. Neuroscience Letters, 577, 107-111.

Bowden, H.W., Steinhauer, K., Sanz, C. & Ullman, M.T. (2013). Native-like brain processing of syntax can be attained by university foreign language learners. Neuropsychologia, 51, 2492-2511. (NSY-D-12-00237)

Royle, P., Drury, J.E., Steinhauer, K. (2013). ERPs and Task Effects in the Auditory Processing of Gender Agreement and Semantics in French. The Mental Lexicon, 8(2) 216-244, Special issue on ‘The neural correlates of lexical processing’.

Courteau E, Royle P, Gascon A, Marquis A, Drury JE, Steinhauer K. (2013) Gender concord and semantic processing in French children: An auditory ERP study. In S Baiz, N, Goldman & R Hawkes (Éds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. (Vol. 1, pp. 87-99). Boston: Cascadilla. Abstract

White, E.J., Genesee, F., & Steinhauer, K. (2012). Brain Responses Before and After Intensive Second Language Learning: Proficiency Based Changes and First Language Background Effects in Adult Learners. PLoS ONE, 7(12), e52318. [PONE-D-12-22453] Abstract

Royle, P., Drury, J.E., Bourguignon, N., & Steinhauer, K. (2012). The temporal dynamics of inflected word recognition: A masked ERP priming study of French verbs. Neuropsychologia, 50, 3542–3553. Doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.09.007, Pre-published at Science Direct

Klepousniotou, E., Pike, B., Steinhauer, K. & Gracco, V. (2012). Not all ambiguous words are created equal: An ERP investigation of homonymy and polysemy. Brain and Language, 123 (1), 11-21. [BRLN-11-153] Abstract

Bourguignon, N., Drury, J.E., Valois, D., & Steinhauer, K. (2012). Decomposing animacy reversals between Agents and Experiencers: An ERP study. Brain and Language, 122, 179-189. Abstract

Morgan-Short, K., Steinhauer, K., Sanz, C., & Ullman, M.T. (2012). Explicit and implicit second language training differentially affect the achievement of native-language brain patterns. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24 (4), 933-947. Abstract

Steinhauer, K. & Drury, J.E. (2012). On the early left-anterior negativity (ELAN) in syntax studies. Brain and Language. 120 (2), 135-162. Abstract

Hwang, H. & Steinhauer, K. (2011). Phrase length matters: The interplay between implicit prosody and syntax in Korean ‘garden path’ sentences. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23 (11), 3555-3575. Abstract

Pauker, E., Itzhak, I., Baum, S.R., Steinhauer, K. (2011). Effects of cooperating and conflicting prosody in spoken English garden path sentences: ERP evidence for the boundary deletion hypothesis. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23 (10), 2731-2751. Abstract

Dwivedi, V.D., Drury, J.E., Molnar, M., Phillips, N.A., Baum, S.R., Steinhauer, K. (2010). ERPs reveal sensitivity to hypothetical contexts in spoken discourse. Neuroreport 21, 791-795 Abstract

Steinhauer, K., Drury, J.E., Portner, P., Walenski, M., & Ullman, M.T. (2010). Syntax, concepts, and logic in the temporal dynamics of language comprehension: Evidence from event-related potentials. Neuropsychologia, 48 (6), 1525-1542. Abstract

Steinhauer, K., Abada, S.H., Pauker, E., Itzhak, I., & Baum, S.R. (2010). Prosody-syntax interactions in aging: Event-related potentials reveal dissociations between on-line and off-line measures. Neuroscience Letters, 472 (2), 133-138. Abstract

Morgan-Short, K., Sanz, C., Steinhauer, K., & Ullman, M.T. (2010). Second language acquisition of gender agreement in explicit and implicit training conditions: An event-related potential study. Language Learning, 60, 154-193. Abstract

Itzhak, I., Pauker, E., Drury, J.E., Baum, S.R., & Steinhauer, K. (2010). Event-related potentials show online influence of lexical biases on prosodic processing. NeuroReport, 21, 8-13. Abstract

Steinhauer, K., White, E. & Drury, J.E. (2009). Temporal dynamics of late second language acquisition: Evidence from event-related brain potentials. Second Language Research, 25 (1), 13-41. Abstract

Meyer, M., Steinhauer, K., Alter, K., Friederici, A.D., von Cramon, D.Y.. (2004) Brain activity varies with modulation of dynamic pitch variance in sentence melody. Brain and Language, 89, (2), 277-289. Abstract

Steinhauer, K. (2003). Electrophysiological correlates of prosody and punctuation. Brain and Language, 86 (1), 142-164. Abstract

Friederici, A.D., Steinhauer, K. & Pfeifer, E. (2002). Brain signatures of artificial language processing: Evidence challenging the critical period hypothesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 99, 529-534. Abstract Paper selected for FREE Full text access at PNAS

Steinhauer, K. & Ullman, M.T. (2002). Consecutive ERP effects of morpho-phonology and morpho-syntax. Brain and Language, 83, 62-65.

Ullman, M.T., Estabrooke, I., Steinhauer, K., Brovetto, C., Pancheva, R., Ozawa, K., Mordecai, K., & Maki, P. (2002). Sex differences in the neurocognition of language. Brain and Language, 83, 141-143.

Steinhauer, K. & Friederici, A.D. (2001). Prosodic boundaries, comma rules, and brain responses: The Closure Positive Shift in ERPs as a universal marker for prosodic phrasing in listeners and readers. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. 30 (3) 267-295. Abstract

Steinhauer, K., Pancheva, R., Newman, A.J., Gennari, S. & Ullman, M.T. (2001). How the mass counts: An electrophysiological approach to the processing of lexical features. Neuroreport, 12 (5), 999-1005. Abstract

Friederici, A.D., Mecklinger, A., Spencer, K., M., Steinhauer, K., & Donchin, E. (2001). Syntactic parsing preferences and their on-line revisions: A spatio-temporal analysis of event-related brain potentials. Cognitive Brain Research, 11, 305-323. Abstract

Steinhauer, K. (2001). Himphysiologische Korrelate prosodischer Satzverarbeitung bei gesprochener und geschriebener Sprache. [Neurophysiological correlates of prosodic sentence processing in spoken and written language.] MPI Series in Cognitive Neuroscience 18. Dresden: Saechsisches Digitaldruck Zentrum.

Steinhauer, K., Alter, K., & Friederici, A.D. (1999). Brain responses indicate immediate use of prosodic cues in natural speech processing. Nature Neuroscience, 2, 191-196. Abstract

Mecklinger, A., Schriefers, H., Steinhauer, K., & Friederici, A.D. (1995). Processing relative clauses varying on syntactic and semantic dimensions: An analysis with event-related potentials. Memory and Cognition, 23, 477-494. Abstract