In the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Cornell
University, we aim to produce a comprehensive account of
the evolution, acquisition and processing of language. Our research
is conducted within a unified framework for
understanding language across multiple time-scales: the
time-scale of thousands of years, over which languages
themselves evolve; the time-scale of years, over which children
acquire the language of their community; and the time-scale of
seconds, in which particular utterances are spoken and
understood. We approach language using a variety of
methods, including neuroimaging, eye-tracking, statistical learning
experiments, psycholinguistic studies, corpus analyses,
and computational modeling as well as with different subject
populations, ranging from infants to adults with and without
language impairments. A comprehensive account
of the CNL research can be found in the book
Creating language: Integrating evolution,
acquisition, and processing by Christiansen & Chater (2016).
Congrats to grad student Erin Isbilen won a best poster prize (3rd place)
for "Testing Implicit Statistical Learning Implicitly", presented at the Fifth
Implicit Learning Seminar, Lancaster University, U.K.
The Cornell Chronicle published a piece on Dr. Christiansen's recent paper in
Behavioral & Brain Sciences:
'Now-or-Never bottleneck' explains language acquisition on June 7, 2016.
Dr. Christiansen's new book,
Creating language: Integrating evolution,
acquisition, and processing, is now out (April 1, 2016). Click here for a brief write-up on phys.org
Dr. Christiansen will be a keynote speaker at a conference on Parental
Involvement in Language Development from 0-6, organized by the Danish Ministry
for Children, Education and Gender Equality, Nyborg, Denmark, November 30,
Dr. Christiansen will be a keynote speaker at the First vs. Second Language
Learning: From Neurobiology to Cognition conference, Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, Israel, September 26-28, 2016.
Dr. Christiansen has become Professor of Child Language at the
Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University, Denmark, September 2015.
Dr. Christiansen is editing a special issue of Philosophical Transactions
of the Royal Society B on "New Frontiers for Statistical Learning in the
Cognitive Sciences” (with Blair Armstrong and Ram Frost).
Dr. Christiansen is editing a special issue of Topics in Cognitive
Science on “More than Words: The Role of Multiword Sequences in Language
Learning and Use” (with Inbal Arnon).
Dr. Christiansen was a keynote speaker at the
Fifth Implicit Learning Seminar at Lancaster University, U.K., June 23-25
Dr. Christiansen delivered a public lecture, "Darwin's Insight: The
Cultural Evolution of Language", in the Alabama Lectures on Life's Evolution series,
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL. Write-up in the UA News.
M.H. Christiansen (2016, August). Language Evolution as Cultural Evolution. Talk to be presented in the symposium on "The Cultural Evolution of Cognition" at the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Philadelphia, PA.
R. Dale, R. Fusaroli, K. Tylén, J. Rzaszek-Leonardi & M.H. Christiansen (2016, August). Exploring Mechanisms for Interaction in a Connectionist Framework. Poster to be presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Philadelphia, PA.
R.L.A. Frost, P. Monaghan & M.H. Christiansen (2016, August). Using Statistics to Learn Words and Grammatical Categories: How High Frequency Words Assist Language Acquisition. Poster to be presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Philadelphia, PA.
E. Jost, N.P. Brennan, K.K. Peck, A.I. Holodny & M.H. Christiansen (2016, August). Making it Right: Can the Right-Hemisphere Compensate for Language Function in Patients with Left-Frontal Brain Tumors? Poster to be presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Philadelphia, PA.
Arnon, I., McCauley, S.M. & Christiansen, M.H. (in press).
Digging up the building blocks of language: Age-of-acquisition effects for
multiword phrases. Journal of Memory and Language.
Christiansen, M.H. & Monaghan, P. (in press).
Division of labor in vocabulary structure: Insights from corpus analyses.
Topics in Cognitive Science.
Farmer, T.A., Fine, A.B., Misyak, J.B. & Christiansen, M.H. (in press). The inter-relationship between reading span task performance, linguistic
experience, and the processing of unexpected syntactic events.
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Fitneva, S.A. & Christiansen, M.H. (in press). Developmental changes in cross-situational word learning: The inverse effect
of initial accuracy. Cognitive Science.
Siegelman, N., Bogaerts, L., Christiansen, M.H. & Frost, R. (in press). Towards a theory of individual
differences in statistical learning. Philosophical Transactions of the
Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Chater, N. & Christiansen, M.H. (2016).
Squeezing through the Now-or-Never bottleneck: Reconnecting language
processing, acquisition, change and structure.
Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 39, e62 [response to commentaries]
Chater, N., McCauley, S.M. & Christiansen, M.H. (2016).
Language as skill: Intertwining comprehension and production.
Journal of Memory and Language, 89, 244-254.
Christiansen, M.H. & Chater, N. (2016).
The Now-or-Never bottleneck: A fundamental constraint on language.
Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 39, e62 [target article]
Dediu, D. & Christiansen, M.H. (2016).
Language evolution: Constraints and opportunities from modern genetics.
Topics in Cognitive Science, 8, 361–370.
Mueller, K.L., Murray, J.C., Michaelson, J.J., Christiansen, M.H., Reilly, S.
& Tomblin, J.B. (2016).
Common genetic variants in FOXP2 are not associated with individual
differences in language development. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0152576.
Vuong, L.C., Meyer, A.S. & Christiansen, M.H. (2016).
Concurrent learning of adjacent and nonadjacent dependencies. Language
Learning, 66, 8-30.
Weber, K., Christiansen, M.H., Petersson, K., Indefrey, P. & Hagoort, P.
syntactic and lexical repetition effects reveal the initial stages of learning
a new language. Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 6872-6880.
Christiansen, M.H. & Chater, N. (2015). The language faculty that
wasn’t: A usage-based account of natural language recursion. Frontiers
in Psychology, 6, 1182. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01182.
Dingemanse, M., Blasi, D., Lupyan, G., Christiansen, M.H. & Monaghan, P.
(2015). Arbitrariness, iconicity
and systematicity in language.Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19,