May 2020  


All SNL memberships expired on December 31st. The Society for the Neurobiology of Language supports studies of the anatomic and physiologic basis for language. Currently, SNL has close to 1000 members, representing a wide range of language research areas. 50% of our members come from outside the United States, representing more than 25 countries.
 
Being an SNL member has many benefits, including voting privileges in Society elections, substantially reduced registration rates to the Annual Meeting as well as reduced article processing charges for submissions to the Neurobiology of Language, and the ability to post job and conference listings in the SNL Newsletter. Please consider renewing today.
 
To renew your membership, log in to your SNL Account. From your account home page, click "Renew My Membership." For more information about becoming an SNL member, go to Membership.

 

SNL 2020

 October 21-23, 2020    

Philadelphia, USA  

 


In This Issue

 
 


Upcoming Dates

May 23
Deadline to Submit Symposium Proposals

Opening Soon
Abstract Submissions Open
Early Registration Opens


Job Postings & Announcements
  
 If you have a job posting, general announcement, conference or workshop posting that you would like to include in the SNL Newsletter, please send it to

   

JobPostingJob Postings and Announcements
University of Birmingham
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
 
Applications are invited for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Fellow position (start date Oct 1st 2020) to work at the Centre for Human Brain Health, University of Birmingham. The successful candidate will work on a 3-year project, funded by the Research Council of Norway, aimed at studying the benefits of regular physical exercise for language, cognition and brain health in ageing. This will be done under direct supervision of Dr. Katrien Segaert (PI) and Dr. Sam Lucas (co-I), and in collaboration with researchers at the University of Agder (Norway). 

The aim of the project is to investigate language function and brain health in ageing. Regular physical exercise has previously been shown to ameliorate non-linguistic cognitive decline in ageing. However, despite its importance in daily life, language function has received little attention. In this project, we will use a randomized-controlled exercise intervention to investigate how exercise can support language function. Using fMRI, we will investigate the underlying changes in brain structure and function. 

The candidate will make use of the new state-of-the-art facilities (including 3T MRI) in the Centre for Human Brain Health at the University of Birmingham. The exercise intervention will be supported by the newly opened University of Birmingham Sport and Fitness centre. 

The candidate will be involved in all stages of designing and conducting experiments, as well as analysing behavioural, questionnaire, aerobic fitness, and (f)MRI data. The candidate will be expected to prepare the results for and contribute to high quality academic publications, to present at national and international academic conferences, and engage in public engagement activities.  The expectation is that the postdoctoral researcher will be the first author on several publications. Furthermore, the candidate will take part in supervision of research assistants and students, and be an active member of the Centre for Human Brain Health, the School of Psychology and the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham.

We will conduct the research on young and older English monolingual participants. In addition to providing an independently interesting dataset, the monolinguals will also serve as a control group for a study on Norwegian-English bilinguals tested in Norway, allowing our collaborators to answer questions on the relative benefits of language learning versus regular physical exercise to combat age-related decline in language.

This post is ideal for a researcher with a PhD degree in area of cognitive neuroscience, psychology, or human biology/physiology, with excellent expertise in (f)MRI data acquisition and f(MRI) analysis, with good programming skills (ideally in Matlab), with high level analytical capability and strong academic writing and presentation skills. Furthermore, the candidate ideally also has experience with statistical analysis of behavioural data (including mixed effects models in R), an ability to communicate complex information clearly, and an ability to contribute to public engagement activities. We are looking for someone with strong organisation and time-management skills, who is cooperative in nature with strong teamwork skills and a willingness to work as part of a large, international and multi-disciplinary team. The candidate should have a keen interest in language and cognitive changes due to healthy ageing. Supervision experience (BA, masters, research assistants) is desirable. 

This is a fixed-term, full-time position for 3 years. To apply, please upload a cover letter and CV.

We will interview in two stages. Stage 1: Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via Skype (expected beginning June 2020). Stage 2: If successful in stage 1, candidates will be invited for a formal interview in person where possible (expected end of June / beginning July 2020).

Further information-Dr. Katrien Segaert: [email protected]
Closing date: 20th May 2020
To apply visit:
https://tinyurl.com/PostdocJob-LanguageAgeingFMRI
   
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Inria Bordeaux Sud-Ouest center and the Institute of Neurodegenerative Disease 
PhD position  
 
A PhD position is available at the Inria Bordeaux Sud-Ouest center and the Institute of Neurodegenerative Disease in Bordeaux, France.
 
What: PhD position in computational neuroscience and robotics
Where: Inria, Bordeaux, France
When: October 2020 (3 years duration)
Who:   Xavier Hinaut & Frédéric Alexandre
Application deadline: May 22th (22/05/2020) How to apply: https://jobs.inria.fr/public/classic/en/offres/2020-02637  
 
Title of the PhD topic
=================
NewSpeak: Neuro-computational models of language comprehension and production grounded in robots.
 
Keywords
=================
Recurrent Neural Network (RNN), Reservoir Computing, Developmental Language Learning, Neuro-Robotics, Multimodal Language Grounding, Computational Neuroscience, Reinforcement Learning
Candidate profile.
=================
-              Good background in maths and computer science;
-              A strong interest for neuroscience and the physiological processes underlying
learning;
-              Python programming with experience in scientific libraries Numpy/Scipy (or
similar coding language: matlab, etc.);
-              Experience in machine learning or data mining is a preferred;
-              Independence and ability to manage a project;
-              Good English reading/speaking skills.
 
Proposed research
=================
We target to embody models into robots that will developmentally ground language.
The grounding of semantics should come from the robot experiencing the world through its interactions with humans and the physical world. The goals are (1) to test hypotheses with biologically plausible language learning models with the Nao robot, (2) to extend the current model with unsupervised training and by reinforcement learning, and (3) to propose a new kind of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) for developmental language learning conditioned by grounded modalities such as vision.
In order to model how a sentence can be processed, word by word (Hinaut & Dominey 2013) or even phoneme by phoneme (Hinaut 2018), the use of recurrent (artificial) neural networks, such as Reservoir Computing, offers interesting advantages. In particular the possibility to compare the dynamics of the model with data from neuroscience experiments (EEG, fMRI, ...). This paradigm allows to learn with few learning examples, and offers negligible runtime for human-robot interactions.
The use of linguistic models with robots is not only useful to validate the models in real conditions, it also allows to test other hypotheses, notably on the anchoring of the language or the emergence of symbols. This involves finding out how a learning agent can link and categorise physical stimuli (vision, hearing, proprioception, etc.) to make the correspondence with symbols (Harnard 1990), or even to make these symbols emerge from stimuli coming from sensors (Taniguchi et al. 2016).
We aim that a robot could process language from morphemes to sentences, similarly as a child, in order to better model how children acquire language.
One aim is to obtain symbolic representations that are a composition of multimodal grounded representations. We will experiment how the newly developed language model will be able to learn to understand utterances by exploring which meanings the morphemes, words, ... can have based on other modalities of the robot (e.g. vision, proprioception). Starting from preliminary results (Juven & Hinaut 2020), we will first consider merging the representations from vision with a pre-trained CNN (Convolutional Neural Network). Then, reinforcement learning experiments will explore how the robot can learn the meaning of sentences: first by doing random actions for any user utterance, and then bootstrap from the user's feedback. We will use a concrete corpus of sentences based on actions a robot can do (Hinaut & Twiefel 2019). We will implement several variants of language models: (1) extension of the reservoir computing model linked with grounded CNN, (2) adapt such model to the GAN paradigm in order to couple language comprehension and production in a self-learning generative mechanism (thus creating more biologically plausible GANs), (3) explore unsupervised (cross-situational learning) and reinforcement learning with these models. In parallel, we will adapt models features and behaviours to the ones observed in language acquisition experiments in psychology, and neural evidences in neuro-linguistic studies. In particular, we will explore how the models could shed light on language developmental impairments. We will run models in simulated humanoid robots and in a Nao robot.
 
More information
============
More information is available on the application web page:
Questions can be asked by email to Xavier Hinaut ([email protected]).
________________  
 
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Postdoctoral Fellow
 
Two postdoctoral fellow positions are available to work on the Project of Strategic Importance Scheme funded by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) titled 'The neurocognition of typical and atypical language development: Towards developing early biomarkers'. These are two-year positions with the starting date of 1 September 2020.
 
The research project is an international collaboration between PolyU and Georgetown University. The aim is to identify key neurocognitive substrates of typical and atypical speech, language and reading development, including developmental stuttering, developmental language disorder (DLD) and developmental dyslexia, in Chinese children through cognitive and MRI measures. Headed by Dr. Caicai Zhang, the research team includes several speech language pathologists and cognitive neuroscientists at PolyU (Dr. Angel Chan, Dr. Dustin Lau, Dr. Mehdi Bakhtiar, Dr. Min Ney Wong, Dr. Man Tak Leung and Dr. William Shi Yuan Wang), and an international collaborator Dr. Michael Ullman.
 
The project is linked to CoBra (Conversational Brains), a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme.
 
Responsibilities
The successful candidates will be based at the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies at PolyU and work with the entire research team. Job duties include behavioral and MRI data collection and analysis, paper writing and publishing.
 
Qualifications
(i)Applicants should have a PhD in linguistics, psychology, cognitive neuroscience or related disciplines;
(ii)Applicants should have research experience in developmental neuroscience or any of the three aforementioned developmental disorders: developmental stuttering, DLD, and developmental dyslexia, with possible qualification/experience for diagnosing any of the three disorders;
(iii)Experience with MRI data collection and analysis is preferred;
(iv)  It is desirable if the applicant is familiar with Chinese (Cantonese).
 
Application
Please refer to the post specification here, and send the following materials to Dr. Caicai Zhang at [email protected].
(i)   CV;
(ii)  Completed application form for Research/Project posts (HR Form 7A);
(iii)Two references.
 
Applicants will be considered until the position is filled.
 
PolyU is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, without discrimination against national origin, gender, religion will receive equal considerations for employment.
 
________________  
Conferences, Meetings, Programs
Academy of Aphasia 58th Annual Meeting  
October 18-20, 2020   
Philadelphia: The Notary Hotel (previously Courtyard Marriot)
ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE: MAY 1st, 2020
The 58th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Aphasia will be held at The Notary Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Academy of Aphasia welcomes submissions of original experimental, clinical, theoretical, and historical research from any field that contributes to the study of aphasia, including Speech-Language Pathology, Psychology, Neurology, Neuroscience, Linguistics, History, and Computational Modeling.  
Our keynote speaker is Dr. Elissa Newport of Georgetown UniversityDr. Newport is a Professor of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center, where she directs the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery. Dr. Newport runs the Learning and Development Lab, which studies the acquisition of language, the relationship between language acquisition and language structure, and the Pediatric Stroke Research Project, which studies the recovery of language after damage to the brain early in life.She has been recognized by a number of organizations for the impact of her theoretical and empirical contributions to the field of language acquisition. She has been elected as a fellow in the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Cognitive Science Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the McDonnell Foundation, and the Packard Foundation. In 2015 she received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.
Now in its third year, the NIDCD-funded Academy of Aphasia conference grant (R13 DC017375-01) will sponsor student fellows for focused mentoring and training, and includes a of state-of-the-art New Frontiers in Aphasia Research seminar. This year's topic will focus on transcranial direct current stimulation, and the speaker will be Dr. Marom Bikson of The City College of New York. Dr. Bikson is the Shames Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering where he directs the Neural Engineering Group. His work studies the effects of electricity on the human body and applies this knowledge toward the development of medical devices and electrical safety guidelines, including transcranial direct current stimulation. Both U.S. and international students are eligible to apply. Please contact Swathi Kiran ([email protected]) with inquiries.
Submission types and details
Presentation types.  The annual meeting includes both platform and poster sessions.
Platform sessions include:
  • Scientific papers-consisting of original research that has not yet been published.
  • Symposia-consisting of a number of papers focusing on a common theme from researchers representing different laboratories.  These papers may report on previously published research.
  • Mini-Workshops-methodologically oriented sessions consisting of a number of papers reporting a unique approach to a timely topic.  The authors of these papers may be from a single research group.
Poster sessions include: 
  • Scientific papers that can be presented primarily in a visual format. 
The Academy considers poster sessions to be as scientifically meritorious as platform sessions. Poster sessions will not conflict with platform sessions.
Guidelines for abstract content.  The submitted abstract should provide a concise statement of the problem or hypothesis, procedures and analyses conducted, results obtained, and final conclusion(s) drawn. Abstracts may include a maximum of 500 words (excluding references) as well as one camera-ready figure or one table.  
Symposia and Mini-Workshops.  In the case of symposia and mini-workshops, the organizer should submit an abstract summarizing the topic, including the names and affiliations of all the participants, and the titles of the other abstracts. In addition, an abstract should be submitted for each of the individual presentations. Abstracts for those individual presentations will need to indicate the symposium they are affiliated with as part of the submissions process, in the Acknowledgments (see Submission Procedures below for details).  To help in the planning of the program, it is recommended that organizers of symposia and mini-workshops contact the chair of the Program Committee by e-mail ([email protected]) about their plans to receive feedback on proposed content and organizational issues. 
Authorship of submissions.  More than one abstract may be submitted by an individual, but an individual can be listed as first author on only one submission.  Both members and non-members of the Academy are encouraged to submit proposals for scientific papers, symposia and mini-workshops. Student papers must be co-authored by a member of the Academy.  (Note: Membership in the Academy of Aphasia is now open to all.) All submissions will be given equal consideration on the basis of their scientific merit and fitness for the Academy.
Conference participation.  The meeting is open to anyone interested in attending. However, meeting space is limited, and Academy of Aphasia members, authors of accepted papers, and the first authors of rejected papers will have preference if space limitations restrict the number of registrants.
Submission procedures.  This year, we are switching to EasyChair as a new conference management portal. Abstracts must be submitted through EasyChair.
To make a submission, follow the following link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=aoa2020  
 
If you have previously submitted to a conference using EasyChair, you can simply log in at this point. If you have not previously submitted to a conference using EasyChair, you will need to follow the link to create a new account. EasyChair provides instructions at this link: https://easychair.org/help/account_creation 
Once you have logged in, you will be given the option to log in as an author to make a submission. After clicking on the "enter as an author" link, you will be brought the submission window. We are providing a submission template this year, in an effort to standardize the formatting of different abstracts. You can download it by clicking on the "Submission Template" link in the upper right corner of the screen. Read the submission instructions, fill out information about the authors, title, and keywords, as well as other information we are requesting, and then upload your abstract as a Microsoft Word file at the bottom of the page.
Student Award.  
This award is given to the student presenting the most scientifically meritorious paper (either platform or poster presentation). Submissions are judged by the Program Committee on the basis of the abstract submission and the conference presentation itself. All full-time graduate students are eligible for the student award, although priority is typically given to students focusing on research. Student applicants for this award must:
  • be enrolled full time and be in good standing in a graduate program at the time of submission
  • be the first author and presenter of the paper submitted
  • not have received a student award from the Academy in the past
Students wishing to be considered must indicate this during the submission process
Selection criteria for the meeting program.  The Program Committee will review the abstracts anonymously.  Selection of papers will be based on scientific merit, innovation, appropriateness for the Academy of Aphasia, and on the representation of topics in the program. 
Notification regarding acceptance: You will be notified by email of the decision by the Program Committee by NO LATER THAN June 30, 2019.
Program availability.  A PDF eBook with formatted abstracts will be distributed at the conference. 
Program Committee:
Simon Fischer-Baum(Chair)
Dirk den Ouden (Asst. Chair)
Erica Middleton
Bonnie Nozari
Susan Duncan
22-24 June 2020  
 
Dear Colleagues,

Center for Language and Brain is happy to invite you to join us for the Seventh Annual Summer Neurolinguistics School, to be held on 22-24 June 2020. Due to the current situation, we have made the decision to hold the School fully online. We are sorry that we will not be able to personally welcome you in Moscow but on a brighter note, we hope that more people will be able to join.

This year's topic is Child Language Development. The school will be devoted to the cognitive and neural mechanisms of language acquisition, from infancy to adolescence, and to experimental and corpus approaches to their study. 
 
Our confirmed invited lecturers are:
Barbara Höhle, University of Potsdam,
Sophia Malamud, Brandeis University,
Irina Sekerina, College of Staten Island - The City University of New York / National Research University Higher School of Economics,
Twila Tardif, University of Michigan.
 
The School will also feature solicited poster and short oral presentations. Submissions focusing on this year's topic are particularly encouraged but we also welcome submissions on a broader range of neuro- and psycholinguistic topics. 
 
Registration deadline: 15 June 2020. Registration form.
Abstract submission deadline: extended to 20 May 2020. Abstract submission form. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 1 June 2020.  
 
For more information, please see our website: https://www.hse.ru/neuroling/summer_school_2020/ , or e-mail us at [email protected].
 
 
________________
3rd International Symposium on Bilingual and L2 Processing in Adults and Children (ISBPAC 2020)    
May 28-29 2020  
 
ISBPAC 2020 will take place in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, on May 28-29, 2020. It will be held at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, which is located on the Radboud University campus. There will be a pre-conference workshop on Teaching L2 Listening on May 27, 2020.
 
We encourage you to submit 250 word abstracts that address topics in bilingual child, adult, and heritage-speaker processing, including but not limited to the following:
  • Phonetic, phonological, lexical, morphological and syntactic processing
  • Crosslinguistic influence in bilingual speech production and comprehension
  • Code-switching
  • Cognitive consequences of multilingualism
  • Language processing in attrition
  • Implications of multilingual language processing for teaching
  • Neuroscientific studies of bilingual processing
  • Multimodal language and communication
ISBPAC started in 2016 at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany, initiated by Shanley Allen and colleagues. The second edition took place in 2018 at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany, organized by Holger Hopp and colleagues.  
 
When the ISBPAC symposium started out in 2016, it had the explicit aim to include research on children as well as adults. ISBPAC 2018 added "L2" to the title, to include all types of bilingualism ranging from fluent bilinguals to beginning L2 learners. At ISBPAC 2020, while we do not wish to add any more words to the symposium's name, we emphasize multi- and interdisciplinarity: we aim to bring together researchers who investigate bilingual and L2 processing from various disciplines, including linguistics, cognitive science, neuroscience, multimodal communication, and language pedagogy, and all domains of language. Our fantastic keynote speakers illustrate ISBPAC's aims.
 
Keynote Speakers
Ann Bradlow, Northwestern University
Ton Dijkstra, Radboud University
Ludovica Serratrice, University of Reading
 
Pre-Conference Workshop "Teaching L2 Listening"
This one-day workshop aims to bring together educational practitioners and researchers interested in L2 listening.
Keynote speech by John Field, University of Bedfordshire
 
Important Dates
Notification of Acceptance
Early March, 2020
Registration
March 1st, 2020 - April 10th, 2020 (Early Bird)
April 11th, 2020 - May 15th, 2020 (Regular)
Pre-Conference Workshop
May 27th, 2020
Conference
May 28th, 2020 - May 29th, 2020
 
The ISBPAC 2020 organizing committee:
Mirjam Broersma (chair), [email protected]
Evan Kidd
Kristin Lemhöfer
James McQueen
Asli Özyürek
Sharon Unsworth

The Society for the Neurobiology of Language