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This is now an inactive research group it's members have moved on. You can find them at their new research groups:

ECS Intranet:
Perception, Cognition and Language

Cognition is a multimedia activity: sensory information from vision, hearing and touch enters the head; then somehow the brain manages to sort it into categories, like the colours of the rainbow, to which we can then attach names, which serve as symbols that we can then combine together into sentences defining and describing further categories.

The cognitive science laboratory investigates this chain of events, from its sensorimotor beginnings to its symbolic ends. Category learning is tested in humans and modelled in machines using neural nets and other learning tools. The origins and foundations of symbolic language are studied as the “symbol grounding problem,” combining resources from Vision, Audition, Speech and Robotics with those from Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life.

Language was born out of the interactive use of symbols. The Web has now made possible symbolic interactions at an unprecedented scale and pace whose implications for scientific publication, research and education are explored and exploited in our lab.

Research Areas

Perceptual Learning and Categorisation

How does our brain learn to sort the “blooming, buzzing confusion” of its inputs into the orderly world of things we see?

Symbol Grounding and Language

How do we progress from learning categories the hard, sensorimotor way (trial/error learning, with corrective feedback) to the easy, symbolic way (having the sorting rule told to us in words)?

Skywriting and Electronic Publishing

Electronic journals (Psycoloquy), Eprint Archives (BBSprints, CogPrints), Archive-creating software (Eprints) now used by institutions the world over, citation linking (OpCit), scientometric search engines (citebase). Our Group has made Southampton a leader in the open-access movement.