The structural complexity of language is greater than anything found in other species and nevertheless mastered early in life. At two years of age, human infants start producing two-word utterances, a developmental process that ends with the capacity to produce and decode complex sentences such as “Neither did my children enjoyed the cookies that I baked nor were they impressed”. While such a grammatical capacity is specific to humans, it is less clear which components of this system are unique to humans, and which are unique to language. The goal of the present project is to provide a detailed picture of the key similarities and differences between human adults, human infants and non-human primates on their perception of world events and their computational capacities, two components that govern respectively the type of linguistic elements found in language and the operations that can be applied on them. The concrete behavioural results generated will contribute to understanding the abstract cognitive foundations of linguistic ability from an evolutionary and developmental perspective, bringing deep theoretical implications about the elementary pieces that constitute the prime system we consider exclusive to humans.
Madame Isabelle Dautriche (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Délégation Provence et Corse_Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
CNRS DR12_LPC Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Délégation Provence et Corse_Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive
Help of the ANR 334,910 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: November 2020 - 48 Months