We use neuroanatomically and neurophysiologically inspired network models to address questions about language and cognition. These networks mimic the structure and connectivity of the language areas and sensorimotor systems of the human cortex to model language learning and breakdown due to lesions. The networks help explain established knowledge about specific neurocognitive and –linguistic brain activations and offer new experimental predictions to be addressed in neuroimaging experiments or patient studies.
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 pro-cessing 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 project was founded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK
Tomasello, R., Garagnani, M., Wennekers, T., Pulvermüller, F., 2017. Brain connections of words, perceptions and actions: A neurobiological model of spatio-temporal semantic activation in the human cortex. Neuropsychologia 98, 111–129, doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.07.004
Garagnani, M., Lucchese, G., Tomasello, R., Wennekers, T., Pulvermüller, F., 2017. A Spiking Neurocomputational Model of High-Frequency Oscillatory Brain Responses to Words and Pseudowords. Front. Comput. Neurosci. 10, doi: 10.3389/fncom.2016.00145