David Kemmerer

Research Interests / Training Areas:

  • Neural organization of linguistic meaning and its relationships with grammar, perception, and action
  • Embodied cognition
  • Linguistic typology


I earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from SUNY Buffalo in 1996, was a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Iowa from 1997 to 2000, and since then have maintained a 50/50 joint appointment in SLHS and Psychological Sciences (Cognitive Area) here at Purdue University.  I routinely teach both undergraduate and graduate courses on the neural substrates of language and on the broad field of cognitive neuroscience, and sometimes I direct seminars on more specialized topics.  My empirical and theoretical work focuses mainly on how different conceptual domains are mediated by different cortical systems.  I am especially interested in the relationships between semantics, grammar, perception, and action, and in cross-linguistic similarities and differences in conceptual representation.  I have published over 60 articles and chapters, and also wrote an introductory textbook called Cognitive neuroscience of language.  In addition, a new book, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, is tentatively called Concepts in the brain: The relevance of cross-linguistic diversity.

Google Scholar page:  https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=IiSVYm8AAAAJ.

Recent Publications:

Kemmerer, D. (2017). Categories of object concepts across languages and brains: The relevance of nominal classification systems to cognitive neuroscience. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, 32, 401-424. (Target article for peer commentary.)

Spunt, R.P., Kemmerer, D., & Adolphs, R. (2016). The neural basis of conceptualizing the same action at different levels of abstraction. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 11, 1141-1151.

Kemmerer, D. (2015). Are the motor features of verb meanings represented in the precentral motor cortices? Yes, but within the context of a flexible, multilevel architecture for conceptual knowledge. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 22, 1068-1075.

Kemmerer, D. (2014). Word classes in the brain: Implications of linguistic typology for cognitive neuroscience. Cortex, 58, 27-51.

Kemmerer, D., Miller, L., MacPherson, M.K., Huber, J., & Tranel, D. (2013). An investigation of semantic similarity judgments about action and non-action verbs in Parkinson's disease: Implications for the Embodied Cognition Framework. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, Article 146.

Kemmerer, D., Rudrauf, D., Manzel, K., & Tranel, D. (2012). Behavioral patterns and lesion sites associated with impaired processing of lexical and conceptual knowledge of actions. Cortex, 48, 826-848.

Kemmerer, D. (2012). The cross-linguistic prevalence of SOV and SVO word orders reflects the sequential and hierarchical representation of action in Broca's area. Language and Linguistics Compass, 6, 50-66.

David Kemmerer
Lyles-Porter Hall, Room 3140
Phone: 765-494-3826

Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences, Lyles-Porter Hall, 715 Clinic Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2122, PH: (765) 494-3789

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