About the Group
The Group of Developmental Psychophysiology was founded in January 2000 by Valéria Csépe, the current head of the group is Ferenc Honbolygó. The primary focus of our research is developmental cognitive psychophysiology, i.e. the study of the neural developmental processes with the help of investigation of physiological characteristics. A determinative method used in our research is the measurement of the brain’s synchronized, event-related activity, the event-related brain potentials (ERPs). With the help of ERPs we investigate the neural correlates of auditory events, the processing of speech and language, reading, calculation and attentional processes in infant, child and adult groups. In all this, we combine the methods of cognitive psychophysiology, experimental and cognitive psychology as well as cognitive neuropsychology. Furthermore, clinically oriented research topics built on the above research fields are examined as well, for example the investigation of neurocognitive characteristics of aphasia, aphasia acquired in childhood, dyslexia, dyscalculia, specific language impairment and attention deficit disorder.
We have obtained internationally recognised results on the field of psychophysiological research investigating linguistic and non-linguistic processing differences characteristic of dyslexic reading disorder. We were able to map out ERP differences characteristic to developmental dyslexia in case of speech perception as well as word reading. We have found that the detection of critical contrasts in speech sounds was atypical in developmental dyslexia, and the phonological processes were often impaired. This was also accompanied by the slight impairment of the phonological subsystem of the working memory, and this, added to the impairment of linguistic representations was found to be determinative in reading problems.
According to our ERP results the representation of numbers is independent of modality, but it is activated at different scales by the different inputs. As our research involving blind participants showed, the representation develops even in the absence of input, and the processes suggest the functioning of partly similar neural networks to participants without visual impairments.
We have been one of the firsts to discover, with the help of Mismatch Negativity (MMN) that the suprasegmental (word-stress) features of speech in Hungarian were characterised by a pattern related processing, and this was not influenced by the lexical status of the words. The processing of word-stress is presumably based on speech-specific, prelexical representations.
In a national cooperation investigating sentence-level processing, we were able to demonstrate that the quasi-free word order of Hungarian language requires exceptional flexibility in the processing of grammatical structure. The interaction of processing levels (syntax, morphology, semantics) functions according to the principle of cost-effectiveness.We also found that prosodic and syntactic characteristics play an equal part in the assignment of linguistic structure, and that the violation of prosodic structure starts re-evaluation processes.