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New paper: Influence of language on perception and concept formation in a brain-constrained deep neural network model

Malte Henningsen-Schomers, Max Garagnani and Friedemann Pulvermüller have used a brain-constrained neural network model to investigate the influence of language on concept formation. The model acquired several distinct concrete and abstract concepts with or without an associated linguistic label. The resulting neural representations were evaluated on two properties: whether instances of a concept were similar to each other, and whether instances of distinctly different concepts were dissimilar. They have found that supplying a label referring to the different concepts improved both within-concept similarity and between-concept dissimilarity. This effect was particularly striking for abstract concepts: without a label, abstract concepts scored low on both properties. These results offer a neurobiological explanation for causal effects of language strcuture both on concept formation and perceptuo-motor processing of acquired concepts. Furthermore, they offer a novel prediction: such "Whorfian" effects of language on perception should be modulated by the concreteness and abstractness of the acquired concept, with a stronger effect on abstract concepts. You can read the full paper published in  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B   here , and explore the data with an interactive data visualization here .

Dec 30, 2022 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

Master thesis defense: "Language effects on concrete and abstract concepts: The temporal dynamics of semantic processing in a brain-constrained neural network model"

Fynn Dobler, a student assistant in the MatCo project, has successfully defended his master thesis on the temporal dynamics of semantic processing in the Potsdam Embodied Cognition Group (PECoG) . The first supervisor was Prof Dr Dr Friedemann Pulvermüller, the second supervisor was Prof Dr Martin Fischer. The talk was recorded and is available online here .

Nov 23, 2022 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

Talk, science slam and poster session at CoNSoLER conference

Three team members will present novel research results at the CoNSoLER conference in Poznan. On Friday, 07.10., Maxime Carrière will present his research on the impact of different network architectures - either resembling the cortex of an ape or a human - on object and action word learning in a Science Slam session. He will present the results in more detail during his poster session on Sunday, 09.10. On Sunday, 09.10., Friedemann Pulvermüller will give a keynote on brain-constrained neural network modelling and its usage in neurolinguistic and cognitive research. Fynn Dobler will hold a talk about the impact of learning words on semantic processing of concrete and abstract concepts in the model.

Oct 01, 2022 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

Paper available as Open Access

The paper "Biological constraints on neural network models of cognitive function" is now available as an open access manuscript on Europe PMC .

Mar 05, 2022 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

Talk: Neural mechanisms of form meaning assemblage in construction learning at 9th International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association

Prof. Dr. Dr. Friedemann Pulvermüller is giving a talk at the 9 th International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, detailing the neural basis for research in MatCo. You can read the abstract here.

Mar 03, 2022 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New administrator hired

A new administrator, Margarita Wiese, has just joined the team. Welcome!

Feb 01, 2022 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

Interactive data visualization for modelling concrete and abstract concepts

We published a new interactive visualization of the data in Henningsen-Schomers & Pulvermüller (2021) on our website .

Nov 15, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New Publication: Modelling concrete and abstract concepts using brain-constrained deep neural networks

Malte Henningsen-Schomers and Friedemann Pulvermüllers new paper  Modelling concrete and abstract concepts using brain-constrained deep neural networks has just been published in Psychological Research.

Nov 11, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

Guest Talk by Prof. Dr. Günther Palm: How to compute with cell assemblies and phase sequences

One of our external collaborators, Prof. Dr. Günther Palm, held a guest talk on the topic "How to compute with cell assemblies and phase sequences". Please find more details here .

Nov 03, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

'Tagesspiegel' reports on brain-constrained neural network models

The German newspaper "Tagesspiegel" has reported on our recent publication "Biological constraints on neural network models of cognitive function" (Pulvermüller et al., 2021). You can read the full article here . Additionally, you can find the English version of our press release here .

Oct 25, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New PhD student hired

A new PhD student, Maxime Carrière , has just joined the team. Welcome!

Oct 01, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

Press Release: Biological constraints on neural network models of cognitive function

To highlight important aspects of MatCo research, we have written a press release on our newest paper on brain-constrained neural network modelling, which was published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. You have find the press release here .

Jul 12, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New PhD student hired

A new PhD student, Sepehr Mahmoudian , has just joined the team. Welcome!

Jul 01, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New Publication: Biological constraints on neural network models of cognitive function

A new review by MatCo in collaboration with Thomas Wennekers of the University of Plymouth discussing biological constraints on neural network models of cognitive function has just been published in  Nature Reviews Neuroscience . You can find the paper here .

Jun 28, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New student assistant hired

A new student assistant, Anna Sadlon , has just joined the team. Welcome!

Jun 01, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New student assistant hired

A new student assistant, Fynn Dobler , has just joined the team. Welcome!

Jun 01, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New student assistant hired

A new student assistant, Johanna Knechtges , has just joined the team. Welcome!

Jun 01, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

New administrator hired

A new administrator, Katja Günther, has just joined the team. Welcome!

May 01, 2021 | ERC Advanced Grant 883811, MatCo: Material Constraints Enabling Human Cognition

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