Ping Li

Ping Li

Chair Professor of Neurolinguistics and Bilingual Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Dean, Faculty of Humanities, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University



Research Interests:

Cognitive neuroscience, psycholinguistics, bilingualism, computational and neural mechanisms of language acquisition

Recent Publications:

Zhou, W., Zhang, L., Shu, H., & Li, P. (2018). Neural mechanisms for the processing of Chinese. In C.-R. Huang, Z. Jing-Schmidt, D. Meisterernst (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of applied Chinese linguistics. New York, NY: Routledge.

Li, P. & Yang, J. (2018). Neurocognitive approaches to Chinese second language learning. In C.R. Ke (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of Chinese second language acquisition. Taylor & Francis: Routledge.


Grant, A., Legault, J., & Li, P. (2017). What do bilingual models tell us about the neurocognition of multiple languages? In R. Heredia & A. Cieslicka (Eds.), The bilingual brain unwrapped. Taylor & Francis: Psychology Press.

Kwok, V., Dan, G., Yakpo, K., Matthews, S., Fox, P., Li, P., & Tan, L. (2017). A meta-analytic study of the neural systems for auditory processing of lexical tones. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Li, P., Schloss, B., & Follmer, J. (2017). Speaking two “languages” in America: A semantic space analysis of how presidential candidates and their supporters represent abstract political concepts differentlyBehavior Research Methods.

Li, Y., Li, P., Yang, Q., Eslinger, P., Sica, C., & Karunanayaka, P. (2017). Lexical semantic search under different covert verbal fluency fMRI tasks. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Wang, S., Allen, R., Fang, S., & Li, P. (2017). Cross-modal working memory binding and L1-L2 word learning. Memory & Cognition.

Cheng, C.-C., Chang, K.-E., Sung, Y.-T., & Li, P. (2017). Chinese language learning sciences. Book series, Singapore: Springer.

Dai, R., Chen, H., Chan, Y.,  Wu, C., Li, P., Zhuo, S., & Hu, J. (2017). To resolve or not to resolve, that is the question: The dual-path model of incongruity resolution and absurd verbal humor by fMRIFrontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science, 8:498. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00498

Hsiao, Y., Lan, Y, Kao, S., & Li, P. (2017). Visualization analytics for second language vocabulary learning in virtual worldsEducation Technology and Society, 20(2), 161-175.

Kwok, V. & Li, P. (2017).  Brain mapping of lexical tone reading. In M. Liu, F-M. Tsao, & P. Li (Eds.), Speech learning, perception, and production: Multidisciplinary approaches in Chinese language research. Singapore: Springer Publishing Co.

Li, P. (2017). Learning a second language remodels our brains. Npj Science of Learning.

Li, P., & Zhao, X. (2017). Computational modeling. In A. de Groot & P. Hagoort (Eds.), Research methods in psycholinguistics and the neurobiology of language: A practical guide. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Li, Y., Zhang, L., Xia, Z., Yang, J., Shu, H., & Li, P. (2017). The relationship between intrinsic couplings of the visual word form area with spoken language network and reading ability in children and adultsFrontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11:327. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00327

Yu, K., Wang, R., & Li, P. (2017). Processing of acoustic and phonological information of lexical tones in Mandarin Chinese. In M. Liu, F-M. Tsao, & P. Li (Eds.), Speech learning, perception, and production: Multidisciplinary approaches in Chinese language research. Singapore: Springer.

Yu, K., Zhou, Y., Li, L., Su, J., Wang, R., & Li, P. (2017). The interaction between phonological information and pitch type at pre-attentive stage: An ERP study of lexical tones. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience. doi: 10.1080/23273798.2017.1310909.


Fang, S., Zinszer, B., Malt, B., & Li, P. (2016). Bilingual object naming: A connectionist modelFrontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science, 7, Article 644. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00644

Karuza, E., Li, P., Weiss, D., Bulgarelli, F., Zinszer, B., & Aslin, D. (2016). Sampling over non-uniform distributions: A neural efficiency account of the primacy effect in statistical learningJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28, 1484-1500. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00990

Li, P., & Grant, A. (2016). Second language learning success revealed by brain networksBilingualism: Language and Cognition19, 657-664doi: 10.1017/S1366728915000280

Schloss, B., & Li, P. (2016). Disentangling narrow and coarse semantic networks in the brain: The role of computational models of word meaning. Behavior Research Methods, 1-15. doi: 10.3758/s13428-016-0807-0

Wu, C., Zhong, S., Chan, Y., Chen, H., Gong, G., He, Y., & Li, P. (2016). White-matter structural connectivity underlying human laughter-related traits processingFrontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science, 7: 1637. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01637

Yang, J., Li, P., Fang, X., Shu, H., Liu, Y., & Chen, L. (2016). Hemispheric involvement in the processing of Chinese idioms: An fMRI studyNeuropsychologia, 87, 12-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.04.029

Zhang, L., Li, Y., Wu, H., Li, X., Shu, H. Zhang, Y., & Li, P. (2016). Effects of semantic context and fundamental frequency contours on Mandarin speech recognition by second language learnersFrontiers in Psychology: Cognitive Science, 7, Article 908. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00908

Zhou, W., Wang, X., Xia, Z., Bi, Y., Li, P., & Shu, H. (2016). Neural mechanisms of dorsal and ventral visual regions during text readingFrontiers in Psychology: Cognition, 7, Article 1399. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01399


Dong, Y., & Li, P. (2015). The cognitive science of bilingualismLanguage and Linguistics Compass, 9, 1-13. (Wiley Online Library:

Fang, S., Zinszer, B., Malt, B., & Li, P. (2015). A computational model of bilingual semantic convergence. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Grant, A, Fang, S., & Li, P. (2015). Second language lexical development and cognitive control: A longitudinal fMRI study. Brain and Language, 144, 35-47. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2015.03.010

Grant, A., & Li, P. (2015). Brain mapping of lexico-semantic functions in bilinguals. Journal of Cognitive Science, 16, 1-15. doi: 10.17791/jcs.2015.16.1.1

Hao, M., Liu, Y., Shu, H., Xing, A., Jiang, Y., & Li, P. (2015). Developmental changes in early child lexicon in Mandarin Chinese.Journal of Child Language, 42, 505-537. doi: 10.1017/S030500091400018X

Lan, Y, Fang, S., Legault, J., & Li, P. (2015). Second language acquisition of Mandarin Chinese vocabulary: Context of learning effects. Education Technology Research and Development, 63, 671-690. DOI 10.1007/s11423-015-9380-y

Lan, Y., Chen, N., Li, P., & Grant, S. (2015). Embodied cognition and language learning in virtual environments. A special issue of Education Technology and Research Development, 63(5), 639-807.

Li, P. (2015). Bilingualism as a dynamic process. In B. MacWhinney & W. O’Grady (Eds.), Handbook of language emergence (pp. 511-536). Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Li, P. (2015). Neuro-computational approaches to Chinese. In C.F. Sun, W. S-Y Wang, & Y. Tsai (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Chinese Linguistics (pp. 676-687). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Li, P. & Zhao, X. (2015). Computational modeling of bilingual language acquisition and processing: Conceptual and methodological considerations. In J. W. Schwieter (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of bilingual processing (pp. 85-107). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Li, P. & Grant, A. (2015). Identifying the causal link: Two approaches toward understanding the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive controlCortex73, 358-360. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.07.013

Li, P., Chaby, L., Legault, J., & Braithwaite, V. (2015). Brain3M – A new approach to learning about brain, behavior, and cognition. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2015), 323-326.

Malt, B., Jobe, R., Pavlenko, A., & Li, P. (2015). What constrains simultaneous mastery of first and second language word use?International Journal of Bilingualism, 20, 684-699. doi: 10.1177/1367006915583565.

Malt, B., Li, P., Pavlenko, A., Zhu, H., & Ameel, E. (2015). Bidirectional lexical interaction in late immersed Mandarin-English bilingualsJournal of Memory and Language, 82, 86-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jml.2015.03.001

Tan, L.H., & Li, P. (2015). Editorial: Towards an integrative understanding of the neuroanatomical and genetic bases of language: The Chinese contextJournal of Neurolinguistics, 33, 1-2.

Tan, L.H., & Li, P. (2015). Language, brain, and gene: The Chinese context. A special issue of Journal of Neurolinguistics, 33, 1-186.

Tan, L.H., & Li, P. (2015). Towards an integrative understanding of the neuroanatomical and genetic bases of language: The Chinese context. A special issue of Journal of Neurolinguistics, 33, 1-2.

Yang, J., Gates, K., Molenaar, P., & Li, P. (2015). Neural changes underlying successful second language word learning: An fMRI study. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 33, 29-49. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2014.09.004

Zhang, L., Yue, Q., Zhang, Y., Shu, H., & Li, P. (2015). Task-dependent modulation of regions in the left temporal cortex during auditory sentence comprehensionNeuroscience Letters, 584, 351-355. (Corrigendum to article published in Neuroscience Letters, 591, 35). doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.10.054

Zinszer, B. D., Chen, P.Y., Wu, H., Shu, H., & Li, P. (2015). Second language experience modulates neural specialization for first language lexical tonesJournal of Neurolinguistics, 33, 50-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2014.09.005


Grant, A., Dennis, N., & Li, P. (2014). Cognitive control, cognitive reserve, and memory in the aging bilingual brainFrontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences, 5, Article 1401. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01401

Li, P. & Zhao, X. (2014). Connectionist bilingual representation. In R.R. Heredia & J. Altarriba (Eds.), Foundations of bilingual memory (pp. 63-84). New York: Springer.

Li, P., & Costa, A. (2014). Editorial: Enhancing JNL’s impact with collective strengthJournal of Neurolinguistics, 29, iii-iv.

Li, P., & Zhao, X. (2014). Connectionist models of language development. In P. Brooks & V. Kempe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language development (pp. 101-106). Sage Publications.

Li, P., Legault, J., & Litcofsky, K.A. (2014). Neuroplasticity as a function of second language learning: Anatomical changes in the human brainCortex, 58, 301-324. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2014.05.001

Li, P., Zhang, F., Tsai, E., & Puls, B. (2014). Language History Questionnaire (LHQ 2.0): A new dynamic web-based research toolBilingualism: Language and Cognition17(3), 673-680. doi:10.1017/S1366728913000606 (Nov. 13, 2014). How learning a new language changes your brain – at any age. (Nov. 12, 2014). Learning languages is a workout for brains, both young and old.

Shu, H., & Li, P. (2014). Language development and reading acquisition in preschool children (学前儿童语言与阅读的发展及其促进)Studies in Early Childhood Education (学前教育研究), 10(238), 3-10. (in Chinese).

Yu, K., Wang, R., Li, L., & Li, P. (2014). Processing of acoustic and phonological information of lexical tones in Mandarin Chinese revealed by mismatch negativityFrontiers in Human Neuroscience8, 729. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00729

Zinszer, B. D., Malt, B. C., Ameel, E., & Li, P. (2014). Native-likeness in second language lexical categorization reflects individual language history and linguistic community norms. Frontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences, 5, Article 1203. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01203


Grosjean, F. & Li, P. (2013). The psycholinguistics of bilingualism. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Li, P. (2013). Computational modeling of bilingualism: How can models tell us more about the bilingual mind? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 1-6.

Li, P. (2013). Computational modeling of bilingualism. A special issue of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition16(2), 241-366.

Li, P. (2013). The cross-cultural bilingual brain: Comment on “The bilingual brain: Flexibility and control in the human cortex” by Buchweitz and Prat. Physics of Life Reviews10, 446-447. doi: 10.1016/j.plrev.2013.09.002

Li, P. & . Marrongelle, K. (2013). Having success with NSF: A practical guide. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Li, P. & MacWhinney, B. (2013). Competition model. In C.A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Wiley Online Library: doi: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0168).

Li, P. & Zhao, X. (2013). Connectionism. In C.A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Wiley Online Library: doi: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0186).

Li, P., & Zhao, X. (2013). Connectionist bilingual representation. In R.R. Heredia & J. Altarriba (Eds.), Foundations of bilingual memory: Theory and application. Springer Science Publishers.

Li, P. & Zhao, X. (2013). Connectionist models of second language acquisition. In M.P. Garcia Mayo, M. Junkal, G. Mangado, & M. Adrian (Eds.), Contemporary approaches to second language acquisition (pp. 177-198). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Li, P. & Zhao, X. (2013). Self-organizing map models of language acquisitionFrontiers in Psychology, 4, Article 828. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.0082

Li, P., Shu, H., & Liu, Y. (2013). Neurocognitive approaches to the processing of Chinese. In J. Huang, A. Li, & A. Simpson (Eds.), The Handbook of Chinese Linguistics (pp. 511-533). Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Li, P., Shu, H., & Liu, Y. (2013). 语言与大脑:语言学、认知科学和神经科学的交汇点 (Language and the brain: Interfaces between linguistics, cognitive science, and neuroscience). In J. Wang & D. Chen (eds.), Frontiers of humanities and social sciences in the west: Linguistics (pp. 549-584). Beijing, China: Renmin University Press. (in Chinese)

Li, Y., Yang, J., Scherf, S., & Li, P. (2013). Two faces, two languages: an fMRI study of bilingual picture namingBrain and Language3, 452–462. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2013.09.005

Malt, B. C., Li, P., Ameel, E., & Zhu, J. (2013). Language dominance modulates cross-language lexical interaction. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, and I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Xu, G., Zhang, L., Shu, H., Wang, X., & Li, P. (2013). Access to lexical meaning in pitch-flattened Chinese sentences: An fMRI studyNeuropsychologia51, 550-556. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.12.006

Yue, Q., Zhang, L., Xu, G., Shu, H., & Li, P. (2013). Task-modulated activation and functional connectivity of the temporal-frontal areas during speech comprehensionNeuroscience, 237, 87-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.12.067

Zhang, Y., Li, P., Piao, Q., Liu, Y., Huang, Y., & Shu, H. (2013). Syntax does not necessarily precede semantics in sentence processing: ERP evidence from ChineseBrain and Language, 126, 8-19. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2013.04.001

Zhao, X. & Li, P. (2013). Simulating cross-language priming with a dynamic computational model of the lexiconBilingualism: Language and Cognition,16, 288-303. doi: 10.1017/S1366728912000624


Li, P., & Tokowicz, N. (2012). The psycholinguistics of second language acquisition. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Routledge encyclopedia of second language acquisition. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

Li, P., & Zhao, X. (2012). Connectionism. In M. Aronoff (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies online (Linguistics). Oxford University Press. (

Yang, J. & Li, P. (2012). Brain networks of explicit and implicit learning. PLoS One7, e42993. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042993

Zhang, L., Xi, J., Wu, H., Shu, H., & Li, P. (2012). Electrophysiological evidence of categorical perception of Chinese lexical tones in attentive conditionNeuroReport, 23, 35-39.

Zhang, Y., Zhang, L., Shu, H., Xi, J., Wu, H., Zhang, Y., & Li, P. (2012). Universality of categorical perception deficit in developmental dyslexia: An investigation of Mandarin Chinese tonesJournal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology53, 874-882. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02528.x


He, H., Li, P., & Wang, H. (2011). Advances in knowledge discovery and data analysis for artificial intelligence. A special issue of Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, 23, 1-136.

He, H.B., Li, P., & Wang, H.W. (2011). Advances in knowledge discovery and data analysis for artificial intelligence. A special issue of the Journal of Experimental and Artificial Intelligence, 23(1), 1-136.

Liu, Y., Hao, M., Li, P., & Shu, H. (2011). Timed picture naming norms for Mandarin ChinesePLoS One, 6, e16505. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016505.

Yang, J., Tan, L., & Li, P. (2011). Lexical representation of nouns and verbs in the late bilingual brainJournal of Neurolinguistics, 24, 674-682. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2011.07.002

Zhang, L., Xi, J., Xu, G., Shu, H., Wang, X., & Li, P. (2011). Cortical dynamics of acoustic and phonological processing in speech processingPLoS One, e20963. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020963.

Zhao, X., Li, P., & Kohonen, T. (2011). Contextual self-organizing map: Software for constructing semantic representationBehavior Research Methods, 43, 77-88.

Current Grants:
2015-2018 PI, National Science Foundation (#BCS-1533625): ($1,094,878) 
“NCS-FO (part of the BRAIN Initiative program): Integrative Neural Approaches to Understanding Science Text Comprehension” (Co-PI: Roy Clariana; Bonnie Meyer, Penn State University)
2014-2017 Co-PI, National Science Foundation (#BCS-1349110): ($494,595)
“Lexical and sentence processing in novice L2 learners: Psycholinguistic and neurocognitive investigations” (PI: Janet van Hell, Pennsylvania State University)
Ping Li