Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 1: Language and Communication

Language and Computation in Neural Systems (LaCNS)

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The focus of our research group is to understand the computational principles and mechanisms that underlie the representation and processing of human language.  Our aim is to develop a theory about how the brain generates human language that is based on principles from across the language sciences, the cognitive and computational sciences, and neuroscience -- and to do so in a way that stays faithful to the constraints on neural computation, to the formal properties of language, and to human behavior.

The LaCNS Group is embedded at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN) at Radboud University. Our starting point is an interdisciplinary approach that asserts that any theory of how the brain represents and processes language must stay faithful to linguistic, computational, neuroscientific, and behavioral principles. Our focus is on the role of “rhythmic computation” as a mechanism for symbolic representations in brain-like systems. We create theoretical models and computational implementations. Then, neuroscientific experiments are designed to test if the brain solves the problem using similar mechanisms.

Name: Andrea Martin
Telephone: +31 24 3521 585
Fax: +31 24 3521 213
Visiting address: Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Kapittelweg 29 
6525 EN Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
P.O. Box 9101 (204)
6500 HB Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key grants and prizes
  • 2020 Max Planck Independent Research Group: This 5-year program is the main funding to set up the "Language and Computation in Neural Systems" (Max Planck Society; 2020-2024)
  • 2019 Aspasia Research Grant (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO)
  • 2018 VIDI Research Grant (NWO, 2019-2024) “The rhythms of computation: A combinatorial mechanism for language production and comprehension"
Key publications
  • Martin, A. E. (2020). A compositional neural architecture for language. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01552.
  • Martin, A. E., & Baggio, G. (2019). Modeling meaning composition from formalism to mechanism. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 375: 20190298. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0298.
  • Martin, A. E., & Doumas, L. A. A. (2019). Predicate learning in neural systems: Using oscillations to discover latent structure. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 29, 77-83. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.04.008.
  • Meyer, L., Sun, Y., & Martin, A. E. (2019). Synchronous, but not entrained: Exogenous and endogenous cortical rhythms of speech and language processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1693050.
  • Martin, A. E., & Doumas, L. A. A. (2017). A mechanism for the cortical computation of hierarchical linguistic structure. PLoS Biology, 15(3): e2000663. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000663.
  • Martin, A. E. (2016). Language processing as cue integration: Grounding the psychology of language in perception and neurophysiology. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 120. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00120.


Language and Computation in Neural Systems lab

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Theme 1:
Language and Communication

Research Group
Language and Computation in Neural Systems

Principal Investigator
Dr. Andrea E. Martin

Group members

Post docs
Dr. Sanne ten Oever
Dr. Marieke Woensdregt
Dr. Hugo Weissbart
Dr. Iaonna Zioga
Dr. Cas Coopmans

PhD students
Fan Bai
Cas Coopmans
Rong Ding
Sophie Slaats
Filiz Tezcan Semerci

Research Assistants
Karthikeya Kaushik

Junyuan Zhao
Yangyi Shao
Nikolas Vasileiadis

Research Project Coordinator
Ryan Law