[robotics-worldwide] [journals] 3rd Call for Papers Interaction Studies Special Issue on Computational and Robotics Models of Language Development

Michael Spranger micasprang at gmail.com
Sun Apr 5 21:51:14 PDT 2015

Apologies for cross-postings


Interaction Studies Special Issue on Computational and Robotics Models of Language Development


In human infants, symbolic communication starts around the age of 10 months when sensory-motor intelligence (visual perception, body movement, navigation, object manipulation, auditory perception and articulatory control) is already reaching a high level of competence. Then three major transitions can be seen: (1) The discovery of gestural symbols with increasingly auditory elements. These gestures include for example pointing. (2) The vocabulary spurt (18-24 months) during which lexicons rapidly grow. Towards the end of this period words are already strung together in multi-word utterances but without syntax. (3) The development of fully productive grammar (starting around age 2). Grammar continues to complexify until adolescence and both lexicon and grammar continue to expand throughout life. 

The emergence of symbolic communication is still an unsolved problem for developmental robotics. The past decades have seen various efforts to model these processes but we are still lacking unified computational theories and implementations that 1) show the complete development from the emergence of gestures to words and grammar, 2) have proven to be effective in long-term robotic experiments, and 3) link language acquisition processes to the evolution of symbolic communication in populations of robotic agents.

Importantly, there is a deep connection between language acquisition, language evolution and language change. This is obvious for theories of language evolution and change based on arguments from learnability. But it is also true more generally. Models and theories of acquisition always make assumptions and/or predictions on what drives language change and/or evolution and vice versa. This is most apparent when it comes to linguistic productivity. A learner can only be said to be a full member of a linguistic community, if he learns how to actively shape and change the language and become fully productive in the linguistic sense.

A decade after a seminal special issue on language emergence in Connection Science (Cangelosi, 2004), this special issue attempts to review the state of the art in computational and robotic modeling. 

Invited Submissions

The special issue will feature two invited submissions of senior scientists discussing their view on the current state of the art and how to move forward. We are happy to announce that two very distinguished researchers and pioneers in the field have agreed to contribute:
- Luciano Fadiga (IIT, Genoa, Italy) and
- Luc Steels (IBE, Barcelona, Spain)

Key Research Issues

We encourage authors to submit their work on computational and robotic models of language development and emergence. Topics of interest include but are not limited to

- The early emergence of vocalisation and gestures (imitation, ontogenetic ritualisation) 
- The fast acquisition of lexicon and words (vocabulary spurt) 
- The acquisition of phonology, semantics and syntax 
- Language tutoring
- The role of the care-giver or tutor in learning symbolic communication
- Co-acquisition of gestures, speech, syntax and/or semantics
- Models of language productivity and the acquisition of fully productive grammar
- Evolution of gestures, speech, syntax and semantics
- Models of grammaticalization
- Studies unifying sensorimotor representations and representations for symbolic communication (e.g. construction grammar, schema theory)
- Cognitive architectures supporting the learning of sensorimotor skills and language 
- Motivational systems (intrinsic motivation, scaffolding, flow) for the emergence of symbolic communication
- Evo-devo models and experiments (cultural and/or biological evolution)

We also encourage the submission of empirical studies that are in line with the topics of the call and that include aspects of modeling, or have a clear, demonstrable impact on computational modeling. If you have any questions regarding whether your work could fit this special issue call, please do not hesitate to contact us (see information below).

Submission Information

Manuscripts should not exceed 8000 words, formatted in the standard Interaction studies format (APA style). See the Instructions for Authors at the journal’s webpage (https://benjamins.com/#catalog/journals/is/main).

All submissions should be done through the journal’s Editorial Manager submissions webpage (http://www.editorialmanager.com/is/). Please choose Original Article or Research Report as article type. Please also choose “Special Issue: Computational and Robotics Models of Language Development” in “Select Section/Category”.

Journal Information

Interaction Studies is an international, peer-reviewed journal aims to advance knowledge in the growing and strongly interdisciplinary area of Interaction Studies in biological and artificial systems. Understanding social behavior and communication in biological and artificial systems requires knowledge of evolutionary, developmental and neurobiological aspects of social behavior and communication; the embodied nature of interactions; origins and characteristics of social and narrative intelligence; perception, action and communication in the context of dynamic and social environments; social learning, adaptation and imitation; social behavior in human-machine interactions; the nature of empathic understanding, behavior and intention reading; minimal requirements and systems exhibiting social behavior; the role of cultural factors in shaping social behavior and communication in biological or artificial societies.
2013 Impact Factor: 1.564 [5-year: 1.165]

Important Dates

- Submission deadline - 4/30/2015
- Notification - 7/30/2015
- Camera ready - 9/30/2015

Guest Editors

Michael Spranger (Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Tokyo, Japan)
Anthony Morse (University of Plymouth)

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send an email to Michael Spranger michael.spranger at gmail.com (please add “[IS-SI]” to the beginning of the email subject line)

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