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, behavioral
experiments, corpus analyses,
and computational modeling as well as with different subject
populations, ranging from infants to adults with and without
Dr. Christiansen was a plenary speaker at the
International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Amsterdam, the
Netherlands, July, 14-18, 2014. Click here to see a streaming
version of the talk.
Dr. Christiansen was a keynote 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. Click here for
a brief write-up in the Cornell Chronicle.
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.
S.M. McCauley & M.H. Christiansen (2014, September). On-line
Distributional Learning in Language Development: A Computational Model of
Children's Early Comprehension and Production. Talk to be presented at the
workshop on Modelling the Mechanisms: Challenges and Aims for Usage-based
Computational Models of Grammatical Development at the 8th International
Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG8), University of Osnabrück, Germany.
H. Jolsvai, S.M. McCauley & M.H. Christiansen (2014, November). Evidence
against Separate Processing of Idiomatic and Compositional Phrases. Talk
to be presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Long
Christiansen, M.H. & Monaghan, P. (in press).
Division of labor in vocabulary structure: Insights from corpus analyses.
Topics in Cognitive Science.
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.
McCauley, S.M. & Christiansen, M.H. (2014).
Prospects for usage-based computational models of grammatical development:
Argument structure and semantic roles Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews:
Cognitive Science, 5, 489-499.
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:
Mitchel, A.D., Christiansen, M.H. & Weiss, D.J. (2014).
Multimodal integration in statistical learning: Evidence from the McGurk
illusion. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 407. doi: