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Neal Pearlmutter

Program Director for Linguistics and Associate Professor

Mailing Address:

125 NI (Nightingale Hall), Boston, MA 02115

Office Address:

431 NI (Nightingale Hall), Boston, MA 02115


  • Computational Linguistics, Neurolinguistics, Psycholinguistics

Prof. Pearlmutter is interested in sentence comprehension and sentence generation processes, including ambiguity resolution; the use of grammatical constraints; and the interaction and timing of use of constraints derived from working memory, real-world knowledge, grammatical knowledge, and frequency information. The goal is to understand both how the meanings of individual words are combined by comprehenders to create the meanings of whole sentences (sentence comprehension), and how sentences are created given a meaning that a speaker has in mind to convey (sentence generation). Prof. Pearlmutter uses various methodologies including word-by-word reading, eyetracking, functional neuroimaging (event-related potential recording and event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging), computational modeling, and examination of large text corpora. Some of his current research examines whether comprehenders can consider multiple possible interpretations of a sentence simultaneously, how individual differences in working memory impact sentence understanding, the relationship between the different meanings of a word and its different grammatical possibilities, and the degree to which the intended meaning of different phrases determines the nature of sentence planning processes.