Skip navigation

Cognition and Language Development

  • Page 4 of 8
Essays in Honor of Jacques Mehler
Edited by Emmanuel Dupoux

In the early 1960s, the bold project of the emerging field of cognition was to put the human mind under the scrutiny of rational inquiry, through the conjoined efforts of philosophy, linguistics, computer science, psychology, and neuroscience. Forty years later, cognitive science is a flourishing academic field. The contributions to this collection, written in honor of Jacques Mehler, a founder of the field of psycholinguistics, assess the progress of cognitive science. The questions addressed include: What have we learned or not learned about language, brain, and cognition?

Since the 1970s the cognitive sciences have offered multidisciplinary ways of understanding the mind and cognition. The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (MITECS) is a landmark, comprehensive reference work that represents the methodological and theoretical diversity of this changing field.

From Birth to Two Years

That children learn to speak so skillfully at a young age has long fascinated adults. Most children virtually master their native tongue even before learning to tie their shoelaces. The ability to acquire language has historically been regarded as a "gift"—a view given scientific foundation only in the present century by Noam Chomsky's theory of "universal grammar," which posits an innate knowledge of the principles that structure all languages.

Volume 1: Concept Structuring Systems and Volume 2: Typology and Process in Concept Structuring

In this two-volume set Leonard Talmy defines the field of cognitive semantics. He approaches the question of how language organizes conceptual material both at a general level and by analyzing a crucial set of particular conceptual domains: space and time, motion and location, causation and force interaction, and attention and viewpoint. Talmy maintains that these are among the most fundamental parameters by which language structures conception.

Typology and Process in Concept Structuring

In this two-volume set Leonard Talmy defines the field of cognitive semantics. He approaches the question of how language organizes conceptual material both at a general level and by analyzing a crucial set of particular conceptual domains: space and time, motion and location, causation and force interaction, and attention and viewpoint. Talmy maintains that these are among the most fundamental parameters by which language structures conception.

The Development of Spatial Representation and Reasoning

Spatial competence is a central aspect of human adaptation. To understand human cognitive functioning, we must understand how people code the locations of things, how they navigate in the world, and how they represent and mentally manipulate spatial information. Until recently three approaches have dominated thinking about spatial development. Followers of Piaget claim that infants are born without knowledge of space or a conception of permanent objects that occupy space. They develop such knowledge through experience and manipulation of their environment.

Essays in Honor of Henry and Lila Gleitman

These original empirical research essays in the psychology of perception, cognition, and language were written in honor of Henry and Lila Gleitman, two of the most prominent psychologists of our time. The essays range across fields foundational to cognitive science, including perception, attention, memory, and language, using formal, experimental, and neuroscientific approaches to issues of representation and learning. An introduction provides a historical perspective on the development of the field from the 1960s onward.

Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the Human Brain

A machine for language? Certainly, say the neurophysiologists, busy studying the language specializations of the human brain and trying to identify their evolutionary antecedents. Linguists such as Noam Chomsky talk about machinelike "modules" in the brain for syntax, arguing that language is more an instinct (a complex behavior triggered by simple environmental stimuli) than an acquired skill like riding a bicycle.

Approximately five percent of all children are born with the disorder known as specific language impairment (SLI). These children show a significant deficit in spoken language ability with no obvious accompanying condition such as mental retardation, neurological damage, or hearing impairment. Children with Specific Language Impairment covers all aspects of SLI, including its history, possible genetic and neurobiological origins, and clinical and educational practice.

In this book José Luis Bermúdez addresses two fundamental problems in the philosophy and psychology of self-consciousness: (1) Can we provide a noncircular account of full-fledged self-conscious thought and language in terms of more fundamental capacities? (2) Can we explain how full-fledged self-conscious thought and language can arise in the normal course of human development? Bermúdez argues that a paradox (the paradox of self-consciousness) arises from the apparent strict interdependence between self-conscious thought and linguistic self-reference.

  • Page 4 of 8