Previous research in behavioural and cognitive neuroscience demonstrates a close link between the brain systems for language, action and perception. These parallel developments in behavioural and computational neuroscience, as well as in cognitive robotics and in neuromorphic engineering constitute a timely opportunity to synergistically integrate the interdisciplinary methods and approaches from these fields with the aim of furthering the scientific and technological progress in language processing in natural and artificial cognitive systems. The project proposes the interdisciplinary integration of new brain imaging experiments, of neuro-anatomical computational and neuromorphic studies, and of humanoid robotics experiments in order to characterise the brain mechanisms supporting language learning in an embodied and pragmatic (situated) context, and to design and test novel brain-inspired neural technologies for action and language learning experiments with interactive intelligent systems such as humanoid robots. This integrative approach is supported by the establishment of a highly interdisciplinary project team with an international track record in behavioural neuroscience of language (Pulvermüller), computational neuroscience (Wennekers, Garagnani), neuromorphic engineering (Furber) and cognitive and neuro-robotics (Cangelosi).
Wennekers, T., Garagnani, M., & Pulvermüller, F. 2006. Language models based on Hebbian cell assemblies. Journal of Physiol, Paris, 100, 16-30.
Garagnani, M., Wennekers, T., & Pulvermüller, F. 2008. A neuroanatomically-grounded Hebbian learning model of attention-language interactions in the human brain. European Journal of Neuroscience, 27(2), 492-513.
Pulvermüller, F., & Fadiga, L. 2010. Active perception: Sensorimotor circuits as a cortical basis for language. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11(5), 351-360.
Kiefer, M., & Pulvermüller, F. 2012. Conceptual representations in mind and brain: Theoretical developments, current evidence and future directions. Cortex, 48(7), 805-825.