The phenomenon of recursion has been considered to be a unique characteristic of human language. However, increasing evidence in Neuroscience points to the fact that a fundamental syntactic mechanism is shared between language and action, both of which have a hieararchical and compositional organisation; Broca’s area has been suggested as the neural locus of this mechanism. In this talk, we will present the first formal specification of action with biological bases, the Minimalist Grammar of Action. The grammar allows the development of generative computational models for action in the motor and visuomotor space. Through the grammar, we present examples of recursion in the action space and how a generative action perception/execution system may account for the phenomenon. Furthemore, we go a step further, arguing that recursion is not a phenomenon that arises in the language or action space only; it is a phenomenon that lies in any ‘syntactic’ activity, in any space that comprises ‘merging’ of elements into more and more complex units. We present recursion in the Semantic Association space (Semantic Memory), through the PRAXICON, the first ever recursive and referential semantic network. We will demonstrate the importance of the network in generalisation and reasoning for a number of applications and discuss the interdisciplinary implications of our argument on recursion.
Cognitive Systems Research Institute: http://csri.gr/
Κaterina Pastra is the Director of the Cognitive Systems Research Institute, a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Language and Speech Processing, ATHENA Research Center and a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Plymouth, U.K. She has coordinated a number of European and national research and development projects, including POETICON++ (FP7-ICT), its predecessor POETICON (FP7-ICT) and a distinguishing Latsis Foundation award for research on “Image-Language Dialectics”. Her research is focused on the computational integration of language, perception and action based on experimental findings from neuroscience. Katerina has organised international workshops on image-language association with sponsorships from GOOGLE, the EU-Cognition Network and other international foundations. She is the author of a number of publications on the above topics, one of which has won a distinction by the British Computer Society. She is a Senior IEEE Member, the vice-chair of the European Network on Vision and Language Integration, and co-editor of the Language and Cognition Research Topic in Frontiers in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
About the speakerhttp://csri.gr/researchers/katerina-pastra