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Internationally Renowned Scholars Shared Cutting-Edge Research in the First Annual Meeting of the JRCLHC

Internationally Renowned Scholars Shared Cutting-Edge Research in the First Annual Meeting of the JRCLHC

After the success of the summer school held this past September at National Central University in Taiwan, the Joint Research Center for Language and Human Complexity (JRCLHC) hosted its first annual meeting November 7 and 8, 2014, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and in November 9, 2014, at the University of Macau. JRCLHC was first initiated by academician Ovid J. L. Tzeng of the University System of Taiwan (UST) and academician William S-Y Wang of CUHK, who brought together faculty and researchers from Academia Sinica in Taiwan (AS), UST, CUHK, and Beijing University to form the center. Students and faculty from all the affiliated institutions and collaborators from abroad attended and presented at the first annual meeting in Hong Kong, with a keen focus on language development and acquisition.

These cross-strait collaborative efforts began earlier with the Taiwan Cognitive Neuroscience Summer School (台灣認知神經科學暑期學校)hosted by National Central University in Taiwan in September 2014, where faculty members, undergraduates, and graduate students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China all participated in a week-long intensive course introducing the latest cognitive neuroscience techniques and research findings. Furthermore, early this November before the conference in Hong Kong, a small meeting was held at AS in Taiwan with collaborators abroad focusing on dissecting dyslexia on multiple levels (Dr. Fumiko Hoeft, University of California, San Francisco), findings in statistical learning (Dr. Frost, Hebrew University of Jerusalem), dorsal and ventral networks in reading (Dr. Manuel Carreiras, Basque Center of Brain and Language), and characteristics of language acquisition (Dr. Nandini Chatterjee, National Brain Reserch Centre, India). The conference in Hong Kong, which took place later in the week, featured eminent keynote speakers such as Dr. Ram Frost and Dr. Manuel Carreiras, and also Dr. Ken Pugh (head of Yale’s Haskins Laboratory), Dr. Heikki Lyytinen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Dr. Elena Grigorenko (Yale University) and Dr. Ludo Verhoven (Radbound University Nijmegen, the Netherlands).

One hotly discussed topic was the development and genetic characteristics of dyslexia and other developmental language disorders (DLD), a topic that interests Dr. Pugh, Dr. Grigorenko, etc., wherein we saw the progress of studies on many facets linked to the disorders, and the prominence of individual differences in the data set despite controlled environmental and genetic variations. On the other hand, we also saw from Dr. Lyytinen’s presentation the promises of intervention methods for dyslexic and DLD children in the form of GraphoGame. Dr. Chia-Yin Lee from AS has developed a traditional Chinese version of the GraphoGame not only in a collaborative research effort, but also to improve treatment of dyslexia in Taiwan. Dr. Grigorenko and Dr. Lyytinen have both spent much time and effort not only in researching dyslexia and literacy, but also in social work in the US, Europe and Africa to help bring awareness internationally. Here we saw not only enthusiasm for understanding human cognition, but also the social improvements such understanding can bring.

Another topic of great interest at this meeting was statistical learning (SL) and its controversial attributes. After demonstrating the predictive power of SL in the visual modality for second language acquisition in young adults in 2013, Dr. Frost further found little correlation between SL in auditory and visual modalities. At this meeting, Dr. Frost brought up the possibility of domain specificity in SL, which was first brought up as a domain general skill. However, given the various traits observed by Dr. Frost’s team, further research is warranted for a more truthful understanding of SL, in which individual differences may be the key to discovering aspects that were hidden before.

After two days of scintillating keynote sessions where twelve keynote speakers shared their latest research findings, the post-doctorate researchers also gave short presentations. Graduate students were also able to present their study results in a short poster session, during which students from various institutions had the opportunity to exchange ideas and insights, facilitating learning from the various established research projects presented in the conference as well as conversations and exchanges between the students, successfully bringing the institutions together across multiple levels through a common interest in human cognition.

Updated : 2021-06-19 12:15 GMT+08:00