Jonathan R. Brennan

Associate Professor of Linguistics & Psychology

University of Michigan

I study the mental structures and computations used to understand words and sentences, with a focus on how these processes are implemented in the brain. My research uses formal, computationally grounded models of language comprehension to probe neural signals collected with electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

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I have a particular interest in experimental methods that are as natural as possible, such as having participants read or listen to a story. Naturalistic techniques are especially suitable with populations for which standard experimental tasks may be inappropriate, such as with children with developmental disorders.

I am the director of the Computational Neurolinguistics Lab in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Michigan.


  • Cognitive neuroscience of language
  • Syntax and semantics
  • Naturalistic experimental methods


  • PhD in Linguistics, 2010

    New York University

  • BA in Cognitive Science & Classics, 2003

    Vassar College