- Suomeksi -
The Linguistic Association of Finland
Suomen kielitieteellinen yhdistys


Dear Participants,

Due to some unfortunate events, the workshop "Consequences of
informational complexity for human language processing" has been
CANCELLED by the organizers of the workshop. We sincerely apologize for
any inconveniences this might cause to our conference participants.

The cancellation of the workshop has no consequences to the rest of the
conference programme, the updated version is now available on
our website.

If you have any questions, please use the address of the organizing
committee, as before. Looking forward to seeing you in Helsinki next week!

The organizers



Consequences of informational complexity for human language processing

ORGANIZER: Dr. Fermin Moscoso del Prado Martin, Medical Research Council - Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit Cambridge, United Kingdom

DURATION: Approximately 4 hours (each speaker has 30 minutes + 15 minutes of discussion)


Prof. Sergey AVRUTIN (Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Utrecht)
Prof. Patrick JUOLA (Dept. of Mathematics, Duquesne Univ. Pittsburg)
Prof. Jeff ELMAN (Dept. of Cognitive Science, Univ. of California, San Diego)
Prof. Aleksandar KOSTIC (Lab. for Experimental Psychology, Univ. of Belgrade)
Dr. Ramon FERRER i CANCHO (Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Rome)
Dr. Stephan BANDELOW (Centre for Speech and Language, Dept. of Experimental Psychology, Univ. of Cambridge)

In recent years, researchers investigating different areas of language processing from psycholinguistic perspectives have adopted different techniques. All of these underline the key relevance of the information-theoretical complexity of human language for the study of its processing in the human mind. Prof. Juola has successfully applied techniques from Komogorov complexity theory in order to disentangle the different levels of complexity in different levels of language processing, including morphology, syntax, stylistics, and aspects such as regularity which have been a cornerstone of the psycholinguistic debate in the last decades. Simultaneusly, Dr. Ferrer i Cancho, has built on the classical work of Zipf to study the universal properties of human languages in terms of overall complexity, drawing implications for the properties of the cognitive system.

During the last decade, Prof. Kostic has investigated how the informational load provided by linguistic and experimental context shapes human responses in psycholinguistic experiments. Together with Dr. Moscoso del Prado, he has also developed detailed techniques to characterize the informational load of morphological paradigms, and how these predict human lexical decision latencies. On a convergent line, from his early involvement in the development of connectionist theories, Prof. Elman has shown how a complex multidimensional system can be employed to describe (and predict) the patterns observed in human language acquisition. Also dealing with language acquisition, Prof. Avrutin's research shows that many of the phenomena that are common to infants acquiring language and dyslexic patients, can be viewed as consequences of a limitation in the processing capacity, in information-theoretical terms.

Finally, in a recent development, Dr. Bandelow is investigating how information theory can be employed to describe the relationships between the different semantic features associated with the meaning of a word, and in particular how the interaction between the informational properties of different features can predict patterns of behaviour and neuropsychological deficits. The present workshop draws on the multidisciplinary backgronds of the participants on linguistics, computer science, experimental psychology, mathematics, develomental science, and cognitive neuroscience, in order to search for a common ground on the invesitgation of the following questions:

  • Can a uniform approach succesfully describe the informational complexity of human language(s)?
  • Can linguistic performance be described in terms of these measures?
  • What are the cognitive/neurobioogical structures that gives rise to these properties of the cognitive system?

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