The research in CCL is inspired by and organized around a set of “core themes”. These should be seen as general working hypotheses or as research programs in the sense of the philosopher Imre Lakatos. Such a program is based on a hard core of general theoretical assumptions and cannot usually be tested in its entirety, but it can serve as the basis of more specific hypotheses and research projects. All the projects currently pursued within CCL can be seen as attempts to explore or test specific aspects of the core themes listed below together with CCL projects that relate to these core themes.

  1. Internal simulation of perception and action is a fundamental mechanism for cognitive function.
  2. Language learning is strongly dependent on other cognitive processes.
  3. Modeling and quantifying semantic development in children is a rich resource for diagnosis and intervention.
  4. The temporal coordination of speech, gaze and gestures plays an important role for interpersonal communication and learning.
  5. The cerebellum is critically involved in temporal aspects of motor and cognitive functions.

The core themes may appear quite disparate and it may seem arbitrary to lump them together as the basis for CCLs research. However, as will be explained below, there are important interrelations between them. To give an example, the ability of the cerebellum to time movements is tested in a conditioning experiment, where a subject learns to associate a tone with a puff of air to the eye. In a recent experiment, subjects were able to learn a conditioned blink while merely imagining (simulating) the air puffs. Thus, core themes 1 and 5 are explored in these experiments. Other experiments are testing the possibility that speech impairments are caused by a cerebellar timing deficiency, thus exploring core themes 4 and 5.