International opportunities for students

Presentation

Communication via language and other modalities is a fundamental component of human activity. It is therefore not at all surprising that the technologies originated from the scientific study of these activities are having a major impact on modern society. It is sufficient to think about the role played by Google in everyday life, or the crucial importance of interface design in the success of technologies such as the iPhone.

The Language and Multimodal Interaction track provides students with the interdisciplinary training  necessary to operate in this area, whether in an academic environment or in an industrial setting.

The two-year Master's course combines a solid foundation in scientific and cognitive methods - modules  in mathematics, language science, neuroscience, and psychology, including an introduction to advanced methods such as eye tracking, EEG, and fMRI - with an extensive training in computational methods for the statistical analysis of large amounts of language and perceptual data, and in interface design. Theoretical knowledge will be supplemented by the experience acquired in substantial practical projects carried out in research and industry labs. For the second year an extensive internship and a research project leading to the Master's dissertation are scheduled.

The following courses are for the a.y. 2016-2017. Some of them are subject to change for the a.y. 2017-2018.

Teaching

Mandatory courses

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is the study of the mental processes underlying our ability to perceive, pay attention, think, categorize, use language and remember. Historically, cognitive psychology began with the information processing approach but we will also explore recent research on topics such as emotions and numerical cognition, and will include insights from neuropsychology, neuroimaging and lifespan development. The teaching methods will include demonstrations, class discussion and lectures and will emphasize the critical link between theory and experimentation.

Computational Linguistics

The course introduces the basics of linguistic/semantic text processing, focusing in particular on the creation and exploitation of large scale text databases (corpora), the automated annotation of corpora with various forms of linguistic information and computational/statistical methods to extract semantic information from text. The second part of the course gives an overview of lexicalized formal grammars and of the syntax-semantics-interface.

Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience

This course will examine the neural basis of higher mental functions, including brain systems supporting perception, object recognition, attention, memory, spatial functions, language, and decision making. We will explore the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological basis of cognitive functions, considering evidence form functional neuroimaging and clinical studies. Cognitive neuroscience approaches to disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease will also be explored. The teaching methods will include lectures, demonstrations, patient videos, class discussion and practical sessions in different neuroimaging labs. This first part of the course will concentrate on language, memory, perception and attentional mechanisms.

Research Design

This course will cover some fundamentals of algebra, probability theory, and statistics. Furthermore the course will cover all aspects of a research project, such as sample sizes, measures, and type of experimental designs. Students will present and comment on their own research projects in progress.

Independent Studies

The independent studies course is a short research internship. The goal is for students to gain first-hand experience with experimental research. The course includes the writing of a report of the performed activities.

Computational Skills in Cognitive Science

The course introduces computer programming, focusing on those aspects that are most relevant to behavioral and neuroimaging studies in cognitive neuroscience.

Advanced Topics in Language/Cognition

This course is designed for students who already have a strong background in the study of language. This advanced course provides an opportunity for an in-depth study of a particular area of language science.

Elective courses

Logical Structures in Natural Language

A general introduction to the study of meaning in natural language using the tools of formal semantics. Topics include the relation of predicate logic with natural language operators; lexical semantics,  compositional semantics, nominal and verbal quantifications; modification; event semantics; genericity, and the semantics of grammatical features.

The Neuro-Cognitive Basis of Negation

This course will cover what it means to understand negation, drawing on work in computational and neurobiological models of psychology, social cognition, and linguistics.  Its aim is to expose students to a body of highly interesting and provocative work on negation. We will discuss major lines of thought on the topic beginning with pioneering work in the 1960s and continuing to present day.  We will discuss behavioral studies, as well as those using tools of neuroscience such as EEG, MEG and fMRI.

Free choice courses

Current Debates in Cognitive Neuroscience

This advanced course provides an opportunity for an in-depth study of a current issues and debates in the area of cognitive neuroscience.

Advanced Topics in Perception and Attention

This course is designed for students who already have a background in the study of perception and attention. This advanced course provides an opportunity for an in-depth study of current work in perception and attention, through seminars, readings and discussions.

Scientific Communication