The following research groups investigate different areas of cognitive sciences, and are either wholly affiliated with, or closely related to, the Center for Cognitive Science.
In the Discourse and Narrative Research Group, different disciplinary perspectives converge to ascertain the organizing properties of various discourse genres, especially narrative. Composed of some ten Center faculty members and a like number of students representing seven disciplines, the group applies the methods of linguistics to analyze the determining effects of the lexicon and of grammar on the organization of discourse;the methods of psychology to track the cognitive processing involved as a discourse progresses;the methods of computer science to model the properties of discourse structure as well as the representation and updating of the "story world" in an unfolding narrative; and the methods of the field of communicative disorders to ascertain the discourse characteristics of autistic or other communication- impaired individuals and what this reveals about the structure of standard discourse.
The Spoken Language Research Group includes some twelve Center faculty members and a comparable number of students, representing mainly the fields of communicative disorders, linguistics, neurology, and psychology, and it encompasses the operation of seven different campus laboratories as well as one research facility in a teaching hospital.The group coordinates and integrates research centered on the cognitive processes involved in the physical production and reception of spoken language in both children and adults and in both impaired and unimpaired functioning. The group has recently been awarded a major training grant that will support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the development of their skills in spoken language research.
The SNePS Research Group consists of three faculty members of the Department of Computer Science and about 15 computer science graduate students. Its long-term goal is the design and construction of a natural-language-using computerized cognitive agent, and the research in artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, and cognitive science necessary for that endeavor. The three-part focus of the group is on knowledge representation, reasoning, and natural-language understanding and generation. The group is widely known for its development of the SNePS knowledg representation/reasoning system, and Cassie, its computerized cognitive agent.
The Cross-Linguistic Slips of the Tongue Group is a study group which involves faculty and students interested in speech production planning and linguistic representation. It is affiliated with the Cognitive Science Center, and open to participants from any department. Individual students in the group are working on doctoral dissertations, MA theses, qualifying papers, and papers for publication based on the collection and analysis of speech errors. We currently have members collecting data in English, Thai, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean and Spanish; we have also looked at Finnish, Hungarian, Turkish and Hindi. Other members are looking at bilingual slips, slips of the pen and keyboard, and perceptual slips.
The Vision Group included three Center faculty members and seven additional faculty members representing the fields of physiology, biophysics, computer science, psychology, anatomy, biochemistry, ophthalmology and engineering. The purpose of the group is to promote interdisciplinary research in the field of vision through seminars and a team-taught graduate course in vision. Activities of the group included the sponsoring of a workshop on vision and the writing of the book "The Science of Vision" (Springer-Verlag).
The Cognitive Neurosciences/Neurolinguistics Research Group includes faculty from Neurology, Linguistics, Psychology, and Communicative Disorders. Graduate students from Linguistics and Psychology also participate in the activities of this group. The research of this group addresses a number of issues surrounding the neuro-psychological and neurophysiological basis of language and cognition. A major research interest is the longitudinal study of the linguistic, cognitive, and neurological development of normal and brain damaged infants. This research involves neuronal plasticity, language development, and the sensitivity of physiological methods in detecting developmental changes in brain organization. The effects of early hormone exposure on brain organization and subsequent cognitive and linguistic abilities are also being studied. The group was founded initially by the collaboration of two programs: the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Neurosciences in the Department of Neurology and the Department of Linguistics.
A newly formed research group will be investigating the common or distinct properties of conceptual structure as this is manifested in different cognitive systems such as those of language, reasoning, memory, perception, and cultural cognition. The University at Buffalo is particularly rich in researchers involved with the more conceptual or qualitative end of the cognition spectrum, and it is anticipated that faculty from anthropology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology will be working together in the new research group on conceptual structure.