Esti Blanco-Elorrieta
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About Me

Me

Esti Blanco-Elorrieta

I am a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard University, working in the Cognitive Neuropsychology lab under Alfonso Caramazza's supervision. In my research, I combine insights from monolingual and multilingual individuals, who process language through speech or sign, to inform an inclusive and comprehensive neurobiology of language. My research combines data from neuroimaging, computational and behavioral methods with theoretical insights from linguistics, psychology and neuroscience. Further, I take the most naturalistic approach possible to inform a theory that can not only account for laboratory based experiments but rather aims to capture the multifaceted and socially influenced experience of what it means to communicate in the real world.

I obtained my PhD from New York University, where I worked at the Neuroscience of Language lab under Liina Pylkkänen's supervision. In 2019, I was recognized as a Forbes 30 under 30 scientist.

mail: blancoelorrieta@fas.harvard.edu
twitter: @blancoelorrieta

Publications

19. Zhu, J., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Sun, Y., Szakay, A, & Sowman, P. (under review). Natural vs forced language switching: free selection and consistent choices eliminate significant performance costs and cognitive demands in the brain.

18. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Hauptman, M., & Pylkkänen, L. (in press). Inflection across categories: Tracking abstract morphological processingin language production with MEG. Cerebral Cortex

17. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Caramazza, A., (2021). On the need of theoretically guided approaches to possible bilingual advantages: an evaluation of the potential loci in the language and executive control systems. Neurobiology of language , 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1162/nol_a_00041

16. Honari-Jahromi, M., Chouinard, B., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Pylkkänen, L., & Fyshe, A., (2021). Neural representation of words within phrases: Temporal evolution of color-adjectives and object-nouns during simple composition. Plos One , 16.3 (2021): e0242754. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242754 [pdf]

15. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Caramazza, A. (2021). A common selection mechanism at each linguistic level in bilingual and monolingual language production.Cognition 104625. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104625 [pdf]

14. Blanco-Elorrieta, E.*, Gwilliams, L.*, Marantz, A., & Pylkkänen, L. (2020). Adaptation to mis-pronounced speech: evidence for a prefrontal-cortex repair mechanism. Nature Scientific Reports, 11, 97(2011) doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79640-0 [pdf]

13. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Ding, N., Pylkkänen, L., & Poeppel, D. (2020). Understanding requires tracking: Noise and knowledge interact in bilingual language comprehension.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 32(10), 1975-1983 doi/abs/10.1162/jocn_a_01610 [pdf]

12. Liu, H., Zhang, Y., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Hea, Y., Chen, B. (2019). Role of proactive control on subcomponents of language control: Evidence from trilinguals. Cognition 194, 104055 doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104055 [pdf]

11. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Pylkkänen, L. (2018). Ecological validity in bilingualism research and the bilingual advantage. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 22(12), 1117-1126 doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2018.10.001 [pdf]

10. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2018). Language switching decomposed through MEG and evidence from bimodal bilinguals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115.39 (2018): 9708-9713 doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1809779115 [pdf]

9. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Kastner, I., Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2018). A shared neurobiology for building phrases in signed and spoken language. Scientific Reports 8, 5492 doi:10.1038/s41598-018-23915-0 [pdf]

8. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Ferreira, S.V., Del Prato, P., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). The priming of Basic Combinatory Responses in MEG.
Cognition 70, 49-63 doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.09.010 [pdf]

7. Fyshe, A., Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). The neural representation of concepts during composition. Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (CCN) [pdf]

6. Blanco-Elorrieta, E. Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). Decoding Language Switching in the Bilingual Brain: evidence from simultaneous speech and sign production. Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (CCN) [pdf]

5. Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). Bilingual language switching in the lab vs. in the wild: The spatio-temporal dynamics of adaptive language control. The Journal of Neuroscience, 37(37), 9022-9036 doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0553-17.2017 [pdf]

4. Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). Bilingual language control in perception vs. action:
MEG reveals comprehension control mechanisms in anterior cingulate cortex and domain-general production control in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience 36(2): 290-301 doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2597-15.2016 [pdf]

3. Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Composition of complex numbers: Delineating the computational role of the left anterior temporal lobe. NeuroImage 124(Pt A):194-203doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.08.049 [pdf]

2. Blanco Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Brain bases of language selection: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilingual language production. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9:27 doi:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00027 [pdf]

1. Pylkkänen, L., Bemis, D.K., & Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2014). Building phrases in language production: An MEG study of simple composition. Cognition , 133, 371-384 doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.07.001 [pdf]

Invited talks

2021

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2021). Bilingualism and Cognitive Reserve and Resilience. NIH National Institute on Aging's Virtual Workshop, NIH Institutes, DC, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2021). Towards an ecologically valid neurobiology of bilingualism. Department of Language Science Colloquium, University of California Irvine, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2021). Towards an ecologically valid neurobiology of bilingualism. Plenary speaker: Young Scholar Speaker Series, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

2020

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2020). Bilingualism, language and cognition. Meet the author series, Linguistics Department, NYU, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2020). Bilingualism: questions, answers, and future directions. Darmouth University, New Hampshire, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2020). Towards an ecologically valid neurobiology of bilingualism. Fedorenko Lab, MIT, Cambridge, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2020). The true advantage of multilingualism. TEDx Talk Tarragona, Spain.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2020). The challenges of bilingual speech comprehension. Mesgarani lab, Columbia University, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2020). Growth in times of crisis. Entre cuatro paredes. Expatriados & Co., New York, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2020). The Neurobiology of Multilingualism. Linguistics Colloquium. Cornell University, USA.

2019

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2019). The challenges of comprehending bilingual speech in noise. British Academy of Cognitive Neuroscience meeting, Cambridge, UK.

2018

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2018). The neurobiology of bilingualism: Insight from MEG. The bilingual mind seminars. University of the Basque Country.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2018). The neurobiology of bilingualism: Insight from MEG. Language and Cognition Colloquium. Harvard University, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2018). The neurobiology of bilingualism: Insight from MEG. Cognitive Psychology Brown Bag. University of California San Diego, USA.

2017

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. The neurocognition of bilingualism. Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), New York, USA.

2016

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2016). Brain bases of bilingual language selection and switching: Evidence from production and comprehension. Psycholinguistics Supper. Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, USA.

Conference talks

2018

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2018). Task switching decomposed: MEG evidence from bimodal language switching. Talk presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) Annual Conference, Boston, USA.

2017

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). Turning a language “off” is cognitively effortful, but turning a language “on” is not: MEG evidence from bimodal language switching. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2017, Baltimore, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. (2017). Bilingual language switching in the lab vs. in the wild: The spatio-temporal dynamics of adaptive language control. Summer school on Bilingualism and Multilingualism. Barcelona, Spain.

2016

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). While language-switching in the lab localizes in anterior cingulate cortex, comprehending code-switches in the wild engages the auditory cortex: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilinguals. Amlap Conference 2016, Bilbao, Basque Country.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. , Ferreira, V., Del Prato, P. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). The Priming of Basic Combinatory Responses in MEG.
CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Gainesville, Florida, USA.

2015

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Switch mechanisms revealed by MEG: What is special about language switching?
Neuroscience of Language Workshop 2015, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Bilingual language control: domain general in production but not comprehension? Evidence from MEG. 5th Linguistics in the Gulf Conference 2015, Doha, Qatar.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Brain bases of language selection: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilingual language production.
NYUAD Annual Research Conference 2015, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Poster presentations

2020

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Hauptman, M., Pylkkänen, L. (2020). Planning production: Morphological, semantic, and syntactic representations. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference, Virtual edition.

Lang, B., Gwilliams, L., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., and Marantz, A. (2020). Do bilinguals better discriminate novel vowel contrasts? Neural correlates of perceptual assimilation using MEG decoding. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference, Virtual edition

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Hauptman, M., Pylkkänen, L. (2020). Planning production: Morphological, semantic, and syntactic representations. Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) Conference, Boston, USA.

2019

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Gwilliams, L., Pylkkänen, L., & Maranz, A. (2019). Prefrontal cortex aids adaptation to accented speech. Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) Conference, San Francisco, USA.

Honari-Jahromi, Chouinard, Blanco-Elorrieta, Pylkkänen, & Fyshe (2019). Predictability of semantic representations during pre-utterance planning. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2019, Helsinki, Finland.

2018

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Ding, N., Pylkkänen, L., & Poeppel, D. (2018). The impoverished comprehension of non-native speech in noise. Society for Neuroscience Annual Conference 2018, San Diego, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Ding, N., Pylkkänen, L., & Poeppel, D. (2018). The impoverished comprehension of non-native speech in noise. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2018, Quebec City, Canada.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2018). Task switching decomposed: MEG evidence from bimodal language switching. Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) Annual Conference, Boston, USA.

2017

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Emmorey, K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). Decoding Language Switching in the Bilingual Brain: evidence from simultaneous speech and sign production. Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (CCN), New York, USA.

Fyshe, A., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Pylkkänen, L. (2017). The neural representation of concepts during composition. Cognitive Computational Neuroscience (CCN), New York, USA.

2016

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Ferreira, V.S., Del Prato, P., & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). The priming of basic combinatory responses in MEG.
Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2016, London, UK.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). While language-switching in the lab localizes in anterior cingulate cortex, comprehending code-switches in the wild engages the auditory cortex: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilinguals.
Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2016, London, UK

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. , Ferreira, V., Del Prato, P. & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). The Priming of Basic Combinatory Responses in MEG.
Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting, NY, USA.

Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Pylkkänen, L. (2016). Bilingual language control in perception vs. action: MEG reveals comprehension control mechanisms in anterior cingulate cortex and domain-general control of production in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Gainesville, Florida, USA.

2015

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Switching in perception vs. action revealed by MEG: Reactive control in the ACC and proactive control in the dorsolateral PFC. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2015, Chicago, USA. [pdf]

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2015). Composition of Complex Numbers: Delineating the computational role of the left anterior temporal lobe. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2015, Chicago, USA. [pdf]

Oseki Y., Gwilliams, L., Gaston, P., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., Pykkänen, L. & Marantz, A. (2015). Neural dynamics of morphological and phrasal composition. Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference 2015, Chicago, USA.

2014

Blanco-Elorrieta, E. & Pylkkänen, L. (2014). Brain bases of language selection: MEG evidence from Arabic-English bilingual language production.
Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

2013

Martin, C.D., Blanco-Elorrieta, E., & Duñabeitia, J.A. (2013). An alternative explanation to asymmetrical switch-costs in unbalanced bilinguals.
Annual Psychonomics Conference, Toronto, Canada.

Funding and Awards

2021: Cognitive Science Society: Glushko Dissertation award.
2021: NYU-wide Outstanding Dissertation award.
2021: GSAS Outstanding Dissertation award.
2020: Ben Barres Fellowship.
2020: Coons/Leibowitz Graduate Student Teaching Award.
2019: Forbes magazine: 30 under 30 in Science.
2019: Martin Braine Dissertation fellowship in Psychology.
2018: The Dingwall Foundation: Dissertation Fellowship in the Cognitive, Clinical, and Neural Foundations of Language.
2018: New York University: Dean's Student travel award.
2017: Society of the Neurobiology of Language predoctoral fellow merit award.
2017: Woodcock Institute Grant Research Award.
2016: Helmsley Fellowship for cross-disciplinary research.
2016: New York University: Dean's Student Travel Grant.
2015: Neurobiology of Language Conference: Travel Award.
2015: MacCracken Fellowship for Doctoral studies.
2014: La Caixa Foundation: fellowship for Graduate Studies in North America (4% success rate).
2012: Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language: academic merit scholarship.
2011: Basque Government: fellowship for undergraduate research projects.
2010: University of Deusto: grant for undergraduate research projects.
2008: Basque Government: Distinguished Academic scholarship.

Media

Science Outreach and Advocacy

Interview on Spanish TVE for an episode of "The Brain Hunter" (El Cazador de Cerebros): Donde nacen los idiomas? (Where are languages born?)
TEDx Talk on the true advantage of being bilingual

Documentary on the trans & gender non-binary experience.

Coverage of my research and inclusion in the Forbes 30 under 30 list

On El Pais newspaper: Los bilingües se expresan con más sofisticación y tienen mayor facilidad para comunicarse
On Deia newspaper: De profesión, genio de los mil lenguajes
Radio interview in radio COPE on my research on the neurobiology of bilinguism: here beginning on minute 20
Reporting of the research in Onda Cero: from minute 26 onwards.
Interview on Basque public radio 1 hour 9 minute onwards.
Interview on the Spanish public radio here


International coverage of the Scientific reports article on the shared neural bases of sign and speech

On Science Daily: When we sign, we build phrases with similar neural mechanisms as when we speak
On the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) news: When we sign, we build phrases with similar neural mechanisms as when we speak
On the Italian version of web of science When we sign, we build phrases with similar neural mechanisms as when we speak
Australasian Neuroscience society When we sign, we build phrases with similar neural mechanisms as when we speak
Russian N1 news channel's report can be found here

Coverage of the Journal of Neuroscience article on language switching in different conversational scenarios

The press release from NYU can be found here
On Exception magazine: Chatting makes it easy to switch languages
On Science Daily: Is changing languages effortful for bilingual speakers? Depends on the situation
On Lukor magazine: Chatting makes it easier to switch between languages
On Science Codex: Is changing languages effortful for bilingual speakers?
On Health News Digest: Is Changing Languages Effortful for Bilingual Speakers?
On Gears of Biz: Is changing languages effortful for bilingual speakers? Depends on the situation
On Futurity news: Chatting makes it easy to switch languages

Coverage of my paper in the Journal of Neuroscience on language switching in perception vs. action.

The press release from NYUAD can be found here.
An article in the The Gulf Today: Bilingual brains more focused, reveals NYU Abu Dhabi research
An article in Khaleej times: Bilinguals are smarter than you think
An article in The National: Abu Dhabi study sheds new light on benefits of children being bilingual
An article in ZAWYA: NYU Abu Dhabi researchers reveal workings of the bilingual brain
An article in United Arab Emirates News Agency: NYU Abu Dhabi researchers reveal workings of the bilingual brain
An article in MSN News: NYU Abu Dhabi study shows becoming bilingual depends on the brain

Code

Multidimensional Scaling (MDS)

You can download an annotated sample code for an MDS analysis of US cities here

K-means clustering

You can download an annotated sample code for a k-means analysis here

Linear classification analysis

You can download an annotated sample code for a linear classification analysis here
The data is available here
The labels are available here


Last updated 01/04/2021