L2C2: from situated to nonsituated cognition through language and neural networks
In the past few years, L2C2 has been interested mainly in language evolution and in the distinction between code and inference in linguistic communication. Without entirely forsaking these themes, the research in the years to come will be reoriented toward the passage from situated or embodied cognition (unplanned action, perception, behavior reading, etc.) to nonsituated or abstract cognition (planned action, conceptualization, mindreading, etc.). Though the distinction between situated and nonsituated cognition is often formulated as an exclusive characterization of cognition as a whole, the approach chosen here is based on an empirical distinction between the two types of processes. Thus, the question is how nonsituated or abstract processes can arise from situated or embodied processes. One important hypothesis is that part of the answer is to be found in language and in the creation of long-distance neural networks in development and learning. A further hypothesis is to the effect that human reasoning shares structures, both formal (syntax) and physiological (brain areas) with language.
The laboratory also develops a new interest, in social cognition. Here two main strands are investigated: coordination in face to face interaction (neurophysiological investigation of brain waves synchronization); and the development of abilities for the detection and management of social hierarchies in young children (behavioral investigation).
The interdisciplinary composition of L2C2 which gathers researchers from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, genetics, philosophy and computer modeling as well as neuro-pediatricians and child-psychiatrists, makes it the appropriate place to approach such a question.