Cognitive Models of Human Language Processing and their Application to Dialogue Systems

Vision and Research Strategy

In general, humans understand language effortlessly, and are much more accurate and robust at processing language than current computer programs. Learning more about how the human brain processes language can help us in two respects: On the one hand, a better understanding of how language comprehension works in humans can enable us to make natural language processing more robust and accurate. On the other hand, a deeper understanding of human cognition will allow us to build more accurate models of language comprehension which can assess for a given sentence how difficult it will be for a human to comprehend. This in turn would enable us to optimize automatically generated text or speech with respect to how easy it is for humans to understand. This is relevant, for example, in human-computer interaction scenarios like dialogue systems, for tutoring systems, summarization systems or readability assessment. Consider a scenario where a user can concentrate on interaction with a dialogue system; the dialogue system should then convey information efficiently and effectively. In a different scenario where the user is driving a car at the same time as interacting with a dialogue system, the cognitive load on the user must be kept low to make sure he still drives safely and is not distracted too much by the dialogue system.

Our research group addresses these issues by conducting psycholinguistic experiments, constructing cognitive models of human language comprehension and applying findings from the experiments and modelling results to improve dialogue systems.

Composition of Group

Our group was founded in October 2010 in the Cluster of Excellence. It currently consists of Prof. Vera Demberg; two postdocs, Judith Köhne and Asad Sayeed; a PhD student, Fatemeh Torabi Asr; and a student assistant, Silas Weinbach.

Research Topics and Achievements

Projects and Collaborations

Prof. Dr. Vera Demberg

Prof. Dr. Vera Demberg

Vera Demberg has been head of the research group Cognitive Models of Human Language Processing and their Application to Dialogue Systems since October 2010.

Fon: +49 681 302 70024