In this chapter we argue that modern syntactic theories are well-suited to provide a cognitive theory of the structure-building computations that neural systems must perform to process language. Therefore, a plausible research program for cognitive neuroscience would be to search for a theory of: (i) how (populations of) neurons could perform these computations and (ii) which (populations of) neurons are performing these computations during any given language processing event. As syntacticians, this strikes us as the natural evolution of the goals of the cognitive revolution of the 1950s in general, and as the goals of generative syntax in particular. However, we are also aware that this is not how many cognitive neuroscientists would describe current syntactic theory. As such, we provide two concrete examples of the cognitive structure-building computations proposed (from two distinct syntactic theories) and discuss the prospects and challenges of using these theories as a roadmap for a large-scale collaboration between syntacticians and neuroscientists in the search for neuronal instantiations of these computations.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Neurobiology of Language|
|Number of pages||10|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2015|
- Cognitive neuroscience
- Neuronal computation
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