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Spring School 2019

Language and Music in Cognition: Integrated Approaches to Cognitive Systems

Location: University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Date: From February 2nd to 8th, 2019

  • February 2nd, 2019: Registration for participants and workshops
  • February 3rd, 2019: Excursion and free day
  • February 4th – 8th, 2019: Lectures and discussions
Application deadline: November 30th, 2018 (UTC+1, Central European Time) (Guidelines)
General description

This spring school is part of our interdisciplinary education program in language and music cognition research called Language and Music in Cognition ( In this project, we aim at clarifying the relation of the complex cognitive systems music and language to other cognitive systems such as motor and social cognition.

Language and music cognition research involves a wide range of disciplines including musicology, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, and biology, and thus requires close collaboration among different research fields. Although language and music cognition research has gained attention recently, there is still little opportunity for students and young researchers to acquire a wide range of interdisciplinary knowledge. Therefore, the current spring school aims at acting as a platform for knowledge transfer and exchange in this relatively new interdisciplinary research area.

This year’s spring school aims at integrated approaches to cognitive systems language and music from mechanistic, developmental, and evolutionary perspectives by exploring research questions and challenges generated by our previous spring school

  • Integration of intrapersonal perspective focusing on “structure” (e.g., syntax) and the interpersonal perspective focusing on “function” (e.g., communication);
  • Intertwined investigation of ontogeny (development) and phylogeny (evolution);
  • Clarification of the link between computation and neurobiology.

Especially, we will tackle those challenges by discussing cognitive, computational, and neural mechanisms underlying language and music in light of the following topics:

  • Marr’s three levels and Tinbergen’s four questions;
  • Syntax, prosody, and dance;
  • Human neurogenetics and comparative genomics;
  • Evo-devo and niche construction;
  • Action and social cognition;
  • Computational neurocognitive modeling.

This time, in contrast to the previous spring school, we won’t have clearly separated thematic sessions. Rather, all lectures will highlight and discuss the abovementioned challenges and topics from different perspectives. In discussion sessions, we will explore how those perspectives could be integrated to advance comparative language-music research.

Confirmed lecturers

Michael A. Arbib, Cedric Boeckx, Steven Brown, Simon E. Fisher, Sascha Frühholz, Etienne Koechlin, David Poeppel, Sonja C. Vernes, Kai Vogeley, Kate E. Watkins

Target groups

Bachelor students
Master students
PhD students
Post-doc researchers

We will accept around 50 participants according to the quality of their application.

Special thanks to: