Imagine that you step outside your door and you find an alien in underpants. Sure, it is unlikely. Still, just few words can get you to imagine an alien in underpants outside your front door! How can words do that?
Our research focuses on the cognitive and neurobiological basis of human communication and how through communication humans can learn about new objects and ideas – including imaginary worlds. More specifically we are interested in how we learn and process language in real-word settings, how our semantic knowledge interfaces with perception, action and emotion and how these systems are recruited during language learning.
We use tools from psychology, cognitive neuroscience and computational modelling. We seek converging evidence from different languages and different populations: adults, children, deaf individuals using British Sign Language, as well as individuals who have developed aphasia or apraxia after brain damage.
New paper: Murgiano, M., Motamedi, Y., Vigliocco, G. (in press). Language is far less arbitrary than one think: indexicality and iconicity in real-world learning and processing. Journal of Cognition
New paper: Ponari, M., Norbury, C.F. & Vigliocco, G. (in press). The role of emotion in learning novel abstract concepts. Developmental Psychology.
Check out the Leverhulme Doctoral Training Programme for the Ecological Study of the Brain