CRL brings together faculty, students and research associates who share an interest in the nature of language, its emergence, its development, its change, the processes by which it is acquired and used, and its mediation by the human brain. Housed in the Cognitive Science Building and the AP&M prime annex (the developmental laboratories), CRL is comprised of an interdisciplinary academic staff of specialists in cognitive science, communication, communication disorders, computer science, developmental psychology, theoretical linguistics and psycholinguistics, neurosciences, sign, gesture, pediatrics, and radiology. Funding for CRL projects comes from a variety of sources, including the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.
Because language is a phenomenon of great interest to scholars in a wide range of traditional disciplines, CRL attempts to provide a common meeting ground where researchers, faculty, and students from these many areas may come together.
CRL serves as an administrative home to research contracts and grants. Its staff assists principle investigators in identifying appropriate sources of extramural funds, in preparing research proposals, and administering successful grants (maintaining financial records, supervising expenditures, and overseeing academic and staff research personnel records).
CRL provides interdisciplinary training to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. All students have free access to the center’s laboratory and computer facilities (hardware and software) and receive training from their own mentors, their peers in shared labs, as well as from the technical support staff at CRL. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows conduct their own research projects and/or collaborate in other research projects. They also have a forum for talking about their ideas and findings (CRL weekly talk series). At these weekly meetings, trainees have the opportunity to practice upcoming talks and receive invaluable multidisciplinary feedback. Graduates and postdoctoral researchers also compete for yearly research fellowships (6 predoctoral and 2 postdoctoral) provided by the CRL training grant funded by NIDCD.
CRL administers the UCSD-SDSU joint doctoral program in Language and Communicative Disorders. This interdisciplinary program applies techniques developed in cognitive science and neuroscience to the study of language and language disorders. Specific research focuses are typical and atypical language acquisition and development, sign languages, bilingualism and the neural bases of language use and language loss. This JDP, started in 1996, has produced 16 Ph.D. graduates.
In addition to the Tuesday talks, in recent years CRL has hosted some special talks or workshops related to language that are of interest to people beyond CRL. These include a workshop on speech recognition taught by Bill Byrne of Google; and two sessions with an Aphasic patient interviewed by Nina Dronkers. These were open to the public. CRL organized a meeting of Linguists, headed by Masha Polinsky, to discuss the comparative grammar of Austronesian languages. The biggest event that CRL hosted was the 2007 CUNY Conference on Sentence Processing, of which approx. 300 people attended.