International Chair 2022 - Evelina Fedorenko



We are pleased to welcome Professor Evelina Fedorenko (MIT) for a series of four seminars on the theme "Human Language within the Broader Architecture of the Mind and Brain".


The seminars will take place from September 19 to October 10, at the Université Paris Cité, Bâtiment Sophie Germain, Place Aurélie de Nemoirs 75013 Paris - Amphi Turing.


Professor Fedorenko's seminars will be associated with the seminars of Professor Ted Gibson (MIT).



Abstract :

This course will provide an overview of the state of the art in our understanding of the cognitive and neural architecture of language. Across four lectures, I will discuss both a) the relationship between language and the rest of the human mind and brain, and b) the internal architecture of language. With respect to the former, I will address questions like: Do we have any cognitive machinery that is solely used to process linguistic information? Do domain-general working memory and cognitive control resources contribute to language comprehension or production? How does language fit in the broader architecture of social cognition? How do linguistic meanings relate to abstract conceptual representations? And with respect to the latter, I will address questions like: Do the same mechanisms process word meanings and syntactic structure? How is linguistic prediction implemented in our mind and brain? And: How do our language processing mechanisms cope with noisy linguistic input? I will spend some time during the last lecture outlining key open questions in the field.

NB: Although the readings below focus on work from my group, I will frame the discussion with respect to the broader linguistic, psycholinguistic, and neurolinguistic literature, and will provide a longer list of suggested readings for each topic I cover.


Programme :

  • 19 septembre 2022

14h-16h Ted Gibson (MIT) : 1. Information processing and cross-linguistic universals in words: Colors, numbers 16h-18h Ev Fedorenko (MIT) : 1. Perceptual and motor foundations of language. Introduction to the high-level language network.


Suggested readings: Fedorenko et al. (2010, J Neurophys); Fedorenko et al. (2011, PNAS); Fedorenko & Varley (2016, AnnNYAS)

  • 28 septembre 2022

14h-16h Ted Gibson (MIT) : 2. Information processing and cross-linguistic universals in syntax: Dependency length minimization 16h-18h Ev Fedorenko (MIT) : 2. Language vs. thought. The role of executive control in language processing.

Suggested readings: Blank et al. (2014, J Neurophys); Blank & Fedorenko (2017, J Neurosci); Woolgar et al. (2018, Nat Hum Beh); Wehbe et al. (2019, bioRxiv)

Suggested readings: Paunov et al. (2019, J Neurophys); Jouravlev et al. (In press,

Neuropsychologia)

  • 3 octobre 2022

14h-16h Ted Gibson (MIT) : 3. Language processing over a noisy channel

16h-18h Ev Fedorenko (MIT) : 3. A deeper dive inside the language network.

Suggested readings: Blank et al. (2016, NeuroImage); Fedorenko et al. (2018, bioRxiv); Shain et al. (2019, bioRxiv)

  • 10 octobre 2022

14h-16h Ted Gibson (MIT) : 4. Discourse and processing approaches to syntactic “island” effects 16h-18h Ev Fedorenko (MIT) : 4. Language development and language disorders. (Time permitting: Language and social cognition).

Suggested readings: Pallier et al. (2010, PNAS); Fedorenko et al. (2016, PNAS); Pereira et al. (2018, Nat Comms)