Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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Research Program

We are an interdisciplinary research group which combines work in formal semantics and pragmatics, psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, psychology and philosophy. We do theoretical, experimental and modeling work on linguistic meaning and language use. Currently SPA Lab participates in three main projects besides external collaborations:

Emmy Noether project on „Scales in language acquisition and processing“ 
(DFG, GO 3378/1-1)

The Emmy Noether project seeks to shed new light on long-standing debates about the nature of Horn scales and alternatives, by investigating a large number of such expressions in language processing and acquisition. The overarching goal is to develop a new model of scales and implicature, that accounts for variability among such expressions. We will examine (a) the extent to which a single mechanism underlying implicature computation can be retained for different Horn scales and (b) the kinds of alternatives that constitute the basis for implicature computation. A major focus will lie on the interpretation of adjectival Horn scales, which have been well-studied in semantics but remain underexplored in pragmatics. We will employ a variety of psycholinguistic methods as well as probabilistic modeling tools in order to integrate insights from semantic and pragmatic theory and cognitive science. This project represents the first large-scale attempt at testing how various scales are processed and how semantic and pragmatic representations of scales develop in tandem.


DFG collaboration grant: Modeling the role of loopholes in polite communication

Prof. Dr. Nicole Gotzner and Prof. Dr. Gregory Scontras won a grant to establish a collaboration between Osnabrück University and UC Irvine via bilateral workshops and guest visits. Their project will focus on polite communication and combine the existing strength of both centers in experimental pragmatics and computational modeling. The kickoff workshop takes place at Osnabrück University in September 2023.


Research training group „Computational Cognition“

Find out more about the RTG:



Current Findings