Giovanni Cassani


I'm a computational psycholinguists at the Computational Linguistics and Psycholinguistics (CLiPS) Research Center of the University of Antwerp, working on the acquisition of lexical categories such as nouns and verbs. By using computational simulations and statistical analysis, I try to understand what information from the environment children use to group words together according to their grammatical function. Once we have hypotheses on the information supporting learning, we can look at what cognitive mechanisms can use it to learn the way children do. 

Before landing in Antwerp, I got a BA in modern Italian literature from the University of Trento, Italy. There I came across computational linguistics and wrote my thesis on semantic representations in congenitally blind people. Then, I got a MSc in cognitive science from the same university, focusing on language and multimodal interactions. I spent one semester at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, delving into computational semantics. I wrote my master thesis with Elia Bruni and Marco Baroni on the acquisition of multimodal semantic representations from language and images. 

My main research interests have always revolved around language, first in its creative and literary forms, then in its neural and cognitive underpinnings. Now I try to understand how children master such a complex system of form and meaning that is natural language.