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, molecular
genetics, eye-tracking, behavioral experiments, corpus analyses,
and computational modeling as well as with different subject
populations, ranging from infants to adults with and without
Dr. Christiansen will be a plenary speaker at the
International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Amsterdam, the
Netherlands, July, 14-18, 2014.
Dr. Christiansen will an invited speaker at
CoNLL-2014: the 18th Conference on Computational Natural Language
Learning, Baltimore, MD, June 26-27, 2014.
Dr. Christiansen has become an External Professor in the
Department of Language and Communication at the
University of Southern Denmark, January 2014.
Dr. Christiansen has a new edited volume published on Cultural
Evolution (with Pete Richerson), November 2013.
Dr. Christiansen has become affiliated with the
Haskins Labs as a Senior
Scientist, July 2013.
The paper "The arbitrariness of the sign: Learning advantages from the
structure of the vocabulary", Journal of Experimental Psychology:
General, 2011, by Monaghan, Christiansen & Fitneva was selected for the
2013 Cognitive Psychology Section Award from the British Psychological
Dr. Christiansen was a keynote speaker at the
2013 European Conference on Complex Systems(ECCS’13), Barcelona, Spain, September 16-20, 2013.
M.H. Christiansen: Darwin’s Insight: The Cultural Evolution of
Language. Invited public lecture delivered at the Institute of
Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, May 27,
Dr. Christiansen delivered a public lecture at the National Central
University, Taiwan, May 10, 2013.
The American Scholar published a piece reporting Dr. Christiansen's 2012 paper in PLoS ONE:
The biological origin of linguistic diversity March, 2013.
D. Blasi, M.H. Christiansen, S. Wichmann, H. Hammarström & P. Stadler:
Sound Symbolism and the Origins of Language.
Paper to be presented at the 10th International Conference on the Evolution of
Language, Vienna, Austria, April 14-17, 2014.
F. Reali, N. Chater & M.H. Christiansen: The Paradox of
Linguistic Complexity and Community Size. Paper to be presented at
the 10th International Conference on the Evolution of Language, Vienna,
Austria, April 14-17, 2014.
Monaghan, P., Shillcock, R.C., Christiansen, M.H. & Kirby, S. (in press).
How arbitrary is language? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal
Society B: Biological Sciences.
Hsu, H.J., Tomblin, J.B. & Christiansen, M.H. (2014).
Impaired statistical learning of non-adjacent dependencies in adolescents with
specific language impairment. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:175. doi:
Baronchelli, A., Ferrer i Cancho,, R., Pastor-Satorras, R., Chater, N. &
Christiansen, M.H. (2013). Networks in cognitive
science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17, 348-360.
McCauley, S.M. & Christiansen, M.H. (2013).
Towards a unified account of comprehension and production in language
development. Behavioral and Brain Sciences [commentary].