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Institute of Advanced Study

From Neuron to Language International Symposium

3 & 4 October 2008

Pemberton Building, Room 21, Palace Green

Methodological innovations provide a wealth of data and insight into the living brain. The uniquely human faculty of language is now subject to investigation at molecular, anatomical, developmental, and behavioural levels in a radically shifting research landscape. The brain's path in computing the meaning of a heard utterance can now be mapped millisecond per millisecond, and a picture emerges on which subcomponents of language enter into this process, in which order, and where they are localized in the brain. The findings question many philosophical preconceptions of language and human nature. In particular, it is now clear that substantive parts of the human anatomy, genetics, and neural circuitry underlying language processing in the brain are not unique to humans and have evolutionary histories reaching far beyond the primate lineage. At the same time, linguistic knowledge encompassing abstract systems of representations such as syntax and semantics still remains elusive, as does the exact involvement of memory in the linguistic process, and in fact the connection between brain matter and mind at large.

In this context the symposium provides an inroad into path-breaking current research in the brain-language interface, opening up foundational discussions on the significance, scope, and limits of the neurocognitive enterprise in all of its dimensions. Speakers and discussants are looking beyond the boundaries of their current research paradigms, forging interconnections with others, reflecting on foundational issues, and speculating on the future. The intended audience is a broad one and includes everyone with an interest in the essence of what we know about mind, language, and the brain today.

Speakers include: Lorraine Tyler (Cambridge); Gary F Marcus (New York); David Poeppel (Maryland); Angela Friederici (Max Plank Institute Leipzig); Faraneh Vargha-Khadem (UCL); Richard Wise (Imperial); Wolfram Hinzen (Durham) and Colin Blakemore (Medical Research Council).

View the videos of the speakers below


Video of Professor Wolfram Hinzen's Lecture

Video of Professor David Poeppel's Lecture

Video of Professor Harald Clahsen's Lecture

Video of Professor Lorraine Tyler's Lecture

Video of Professor Angela Friederici's Lecture

Video of Professor Gary Marcus's Lecture

Video of Professor Faraneh Varga-Khadem's Lecture

Video of Professor Richard Wise's Lecture