Perception, Cognition and Language
Cognition is a multimedia activity: sensory information from vision, hearing and touch enters the head; then somehow the brain manages to sort it into categories, like the colours of the rainbow, to which we can then attach names, which serve as symbols that we can then combine together into sentences defining and describing further categories.
The cognitive science laboratory investigates this chain of events, from its sensorimotor beginnings to its symbolic ends. Category learning is tested in humans and modelled in machines using neural nets and other learning tools. The origins and foundations of symbolic language are studied as the “symbol grounding problem,” combining resources from Vision, Audition, Speech and Robotics with those from Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life.
Language was born out of the interactive use of symbols. The Web has now made possible symbolic interactions at an unprecedented scale and pace whose implications for scientific publication, research and education are explored and exploited in our lab.