NSF Workshop: May 23-24, 2013

The workshop is motivated by the assumption that the study of language and its neural foundations will play a pivotal role in making progress in the investigation of complex brain function. Language research builds on a rich theoretical basis; moreover, the neurobiological tools to study language are of increasingly high resolution and analytic sophistication. However, the computational basis of how the brain operates with linguistic representations remains underspecified and poorly understood. This small and focused workshop, held at NSF, examines how to investigate the relation between brain and cognition, and in particular brain and language, with an emphasis on computational linking hypotheses. The goal is to identify new directions in the ‘computational neurobiology of language.’

The workshop draws on the expertise of a very diverse group of scholars, all of whom think hard about the relationship between cognition and neuroscience. A frank and open-minded interdisciplinary discussion will form the basis of this two-day workshop. An important question to consider - both before and after the workshop - is raised by one of our participants (P.S.):

One thing that stands out to me as extremely informative is knowing what questions each participant (i) dreams of having the answer to but (ii) is impeded in answering by shortcomings in their discipline which they suspect someone from another discipline could be in a position to help overcome. It's sobering to see just how different those questions are across disciplines.