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Workshop: Computational approaches in language and music cognition research

August 30th and 31st, 2019, University of Cologne, Germany

Alter Seminarraum, Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln (Map)


Investigating language and music in the field of cognitive science means studying them as (computational) neurocognitive systems, i.e., information processing systems in the mind/brain.

Thus, language and music cognition research deals with the following questions:

  • What is computed in the mind/brain and why?
  • How is a particular computation realized in terms of algorithms or neural implementation?

Formal-mathematical theory of language and music mainly contributed to the former question, while computer simulations of cognitive and neural processes rather tackled the latter question. The current workshop discusses different computational approaches and aims at clarifying the role of computational modelling to advance mechanistic explanations to language and music cognition.

The topics of the workshop are:

  • Computational and conceptual neurocognitive models of language and music processing
  • Models of interaction and situated music and language cognition
  • Computational music theory and computational linguistics

Overall, this workshop also aims at fostering computational thinking as a core competence enabling interdisciplinary communication and welcomes students and  researchers interested in modelling cognition of music and language.

Invited speakers:

Carlos Zednik (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
Alexander Clark (King's College London, UK)
Richard Cooper (Birkbeck University of London, UK)
Peter Ford Dominey (INSERM U846 Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute & Université de Lyon, France)
Jônatas Manzolli (University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil)
David Temperley (Eastman School of Music, USA)

Invited discussants:

Klaus Frieler (University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar, Germany)
Daniel Harasim (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland)
Hendrik Purwins (Accenture, Germany)
Panagiotis Sakagiannis (University of Cologne, Germany)

Special thanks to SPECS Lab, Barcelona, Spain, for helping us with organizing the current workshop!

Organizers: Rie Asano, Sebastian Klaßmann, and Uwe Seifert


Workshop program

Friday, August 30th, 09:00-18:30

Saturday, August 31st, 09:30-16:30

+++Vergangene Veranstaltungen (Past events)+++

Using music to study information seeking and the experience of beauty

Diana Omigie
Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

July 12th, 2019 from 1 pm to 3 pm

Systematischer Arbeitsraum, Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln

Studies of music cognition and music-induced affect not only provide insights into music as a primary object of interest, but also into the mechanisms that music listening shares with a host of other human capacities. In this talk I will present two separate lines of research in which I am using musical stimuli to study information seeking on the one hand and the aesthetic experience on the other. In the first part of my talk, I will describe how music listening entails expectancy violation and curiosity and present first studies examining the associated behavioural and neural correlates. In the second part of my talk, I will focus on how we can use music to study the aesthetic experience: for instance, how music can be used to reveal the subtypes that beauty experiences can have and the extent to which aesthetic liking may be measurable from physiological signals. Finally, I will end with a discussion of how studying music in a number different ways can provide a richer understanding both of music’s hold over us and of the cognitive and neural resources we bring to bear when listening to it.

Die Spiegelsytemhypothese der Sprachevolution und die Erforschung der menschlichen Music-Readiness

Uwe Seifert
Systematic Musicology, University of Cologne, Germany

July 9th, 18:00-20:00

Raum 4.011 (Hauptgebäude)

For more information, please visit the webpage:

Guest Lecture 2019

Tinbergen matters for comparative cognition

Cedric Boeckx
ICREA / Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

July 4th, 2019 from 4 pm to 5:30 pm

Alter Seminarraum, Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln (Map)

There is a lot of exciting work on language, music and other cognitive systems, trying to bridge the gap between genotype and phenotype, as well as the 'species' gap. Many levels of analyses are often mentioned as important, but closer scrutiny reveals that some levels are implicitly taken to be more important than others. I will illustrate this by taking a look at examples that bear directly on topics we are working on in my group, and will suggest alternative approaches that we are currently exploring.

Contact: Rie Asano (

Evolinguistics Workshop 2019

Hierarchy, intention sharing, and language evolution: Beyond interdisciplinary conceptual barriers

May 25th and 26th, 2019, Tokyo, Japan


University of Tokyo, Komaba I Campus, KOMCEE EAST K211 & K212 (Map)

  • May 25th from 13:00 to 17:40 (Reception 18:00 - 20:00)

  • May 26th from 09:30 to 17:30

Download program and abstracts

This event is funded by Evolinguistics project (, but organized in cooperation with the Language and Music in Cognition (as a part of digital learning)!

Evolinguistics is a new interdisciplinary research field focusing on co-creative language evolution, with hierarchy and intention sharing as two core concepts. Integrating theoretical, empirical-experimental, modelling and other approaches, it tackles hard challenges including the mind/brain interface problems (Poeppel and Embick 2005; Embick and Poeppel 2015) and broad cross-species comparative studies of cognition (De Waal and Ferrari 2010).

This workshop on evolinguistics aims to promote interdisciplinary communication between researchers and students of a variety of relevant fields, including but not limited to linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, biology, anthropology, archaeology and computer modeling, in the hope of integrating research methods and findings from these different disciplines.

Among major topics to be discussed will be:
-    Origins and evolution of human language
-    Hierarchy in language and other domains of human and/or non-human cognition
-    Intention sharing in humans and/or non-human animals
-    Hierarchy, intention sharing, and recursion

Of particular interest is:
-    Understanding hierarchy and intention sharing from an integrative perspective

Structure of the workshop

Invited talks:
Cedric Boeckx (ICREA/U Barcelona)
John Du Bois (UC Santa Barbara)
Sabrina Engesser (U Zurich)
Erin Hecht (Harvard)
Julia Udden (Stockholm U)

Oral presentations of original works by participants

Discussions to work out some basic concepts of hierarchy and intention sharing for language evolution research on the basis of the presentations

Call for proposals – Oral presentation (Closed)
You can still submit online presentation!

The workshop provides two formats for the oral presentation:
-    Short talks: 20 min (e.g., 15 min talk + 5 min discussion)
-    Long talks: 40 min (e.g., 30 min talk + 10 min discussion)

Please submit an abstract (no more than 300 words) by using the template by April 26th, 2019 (23:59, UTC+1, Central European Time). We may stop receiving submissions even before the deadline if there are already ample abstracts accepted.

Please use this template for your abstract
Please apply here <>

Note 1: Please submit your abstract in English.
Note 2: The oral presentation can be given in English or Japanese. (Please make your slides in English regardless of your oral presentation language.)
Note 3: The word limit refers to the main text body. It does not apply to the title, author information, and references.
Note 4: Please use the file name “FirstName_FamilyName.pdf” (ex. John_Smith.pdf).
Note 5: Please include the author information in the abstract.

If you cannot make it for coming to Japan, but would like to contribute to this workshop via online materials (e.g., short video talks or posters with audio guide), please submit your abstract and indicate this in the submission form.

All abstracts will be peer reviewed. You will get the notification of acceptance as soon as we got the reviewers’ comments.

If you have any question regarding the abstract submission, please contact Rie Asano (!

This workshop is funded by Evolinguistics: Integrative Studies of Language Evolution for Co-creative Communication, and organized by Koji Fujita (Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan) and Rie Asano (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

Contact: Koji Fujita (

Workshop: Neuroscientific methods in language and music cognition research

November 22nd, 2018, 12-18h

Alter Seminarraum, Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln (Map)


This workshop introduces to different methods of cognitive neuroscience used in language and music cognition research for investigating language and music as neurocognitive systems, i.e., information processing systems in the mind/brain. The workshop serves as platform facilitating communication between researchers and students from the arts, the humanities, and the sciences. It strives for an integrative approach in language and music cognition research, i.e., how to integrate empirical findings from different disciplines and how to foster cross-disciplinary theoretical understanding. Topics of discussion are methodological questions concerning the relation of empirical neurocognitive research to clinical applications as well as to theoretical perspectives, and concerning ways how neurocognitive processes might be examined in future research.

Invited Speakers

  • Andrea E. Martin (MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen)

  • Jan Niklas Petry-Schmelzer (Department of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne)

  • Michael Schwartze (Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Maastricht University)

  • Edna Cieslik (Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine – Brain Behaviour, Research Centre Jülich)


12:00    Registration
12:15    Introduction
12:30    Jan Niklas Petry-Schmelzer
"An introduction to the anatomy of the brain"
13:30    Edna Cieslik
"How to perform a neuroimaging meta-analysis"
14:30    Coffee break
15:00    Michael Schwartze
"Predictive adaptation to change in audition: principles, event-related-potentials, lesion-symptom mapping"
16:00    Andrea E. Martin
"How artificial and cortical neural networks can learn and compute hierarchy from time (in a compositional way)"
17:00    Short break
17:15    Discussions
17:45    Closing remarks


Rie Asano ( and Doris Mücke (


Poster entworfen von Michelle Kühn (Poster designed by Michelle Kühn)

Brain mechanisms for hierarchical structure building in language and mathematics

Michiru Makuuchi
Neuropsychology, National Rehabilitation Center
for Persons with Disabilities, Japan

July 5th, 2018
Alter Seminarraum
Musikwissenschaftliches Institut,
Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln

The room of the talk is still subject to change.

Registration: Rie Asano (


The hallmark of language is hierarchical structure, which organizes words into phrases and phrases into clauses to determine the meaning of the sentence. Compared to rather simple animal sound communication, human language has more complex structure, e.g., centre embedding structure. Uniquely human centre embedding structure is generated by context-free grammar which is theoretically more complex than regular grammar that both humans and animals have. fMRI studies revealed that centre embedding structures, in symbol sequence and in natural language, are processed in Broca’s area, suggesting the language centre in the brain may serve as a processor for hierarchical structures in a broader range. These results naturally led us to conjecture that hierarchical structures in other cognitive domains such as mathematics and music may be treated in Broca’s area in the same vein. Using fMRI, we demonstrated that Broca’s area is involved in hierarchical structure building in mathematics as well as in language.

Workshop on Evolutionary Simulation using NetLogo

This workshop introduces neophytes to evolutionary simulation and computation using NetLogo 6.0.2. NetLogo is a programming and simulation environment for multi-agent based modeling and allows us to simulate natural or social phenomena interactively. Evolutionary simulation uses algorithms inspired by biological dynamics that evolve adaptively to an environment. Research questions are conceived of as optimization problems. This approach to problem solving is used to search for (quasi-)optimal solutions according to a fitness function.

Requirements: This course is for beginners. No experience in programming, agent-based modeling, or evolutionary simulation is required.

Workshop language: English
Lecturer: Genta Toya (Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Japan)

Date: November 3–4, 2017 / 10:00-17:00
Room: Systematischer Arbeitsraum, Institute of Musicology, University of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Köln

Workshop plan:

Day 1 10:00-16:30
10:00-11:30: Introduction to Evolutionary Simulation and Genetic Algorithms (1.5 hour)
12:00-13:30: Tutorial: NetLogo (1.5 hour)
15:00-16:30: "Predatory & Prey" using Evolutionary Simulation (1.5 hour)

Day 2 10:00-16:30
10:00-11:30: Programming Agent’s Behavior (1.5 hour)
12:00-13:30: Programming Evolutionary Simulation (1.5 hour)
15:00-16:30: Modification (1.5 hour)

Please include full name + Matrikelnummer


Installing Netlogo

Download link:

1. We use the newest version of NetLogo, i.e. NetLogo 6.0.2.
2. After providing you name, organization and E-Mail, you can proceed to download NetLogo for your respective operating system (Win 64/32-Bit, Linux, Mac OSX).
3. Run the downloaded installer and install NetLogo in the desired folder/directory.

An introduction to NetLogo will be given by Marvin Heimerich during the workshop.