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Language is one of the complex activities distinguishing human beings from other species. But how much of our language capabilities are due to nature (neuroanatomical structures) and how much to nurture (our cultural environment)? That was the main topic of Jacques Mehler's lecture at the EU Advanced Course in Computational Neuroscience. Mehler is a well-known French cognitive scientist from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, who will join the faculty of Trieste's International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) next February. The course, co-sponsored by the ICTP and the European Union, began on 23 August and will continue until 17 September. Other topics under discussion include cortical anatomy, neuron modeling, visual cortex and synaptic efficacy. Some 40 advanced students in a variety of disciplines--neuroscience, physics, electrical engineering, computer science and psychology--are in attendance.

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