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Cedric Boeckx

Cedric Boeckx

Universitat de Barcelona


Cedric Boeckx is Research Professor at the Catalan Institute for Advanced Studies (ICREA), a member of the Universitat de Barcelona Institute of Complex Systems (UBICS), and a member of the section of General Linguistics at the Universitat de Barcelona. Before joining ICREA, he was Associate Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books, including Islands and Chains (2003), Linguistic Minimalism (2006), Bare Syntax (2008), Language in Cognition (2009), Syntactic Islands (2012), Elementary Syntactic Structures (2014), and the editor of numerous volumes. He serves as Principal Investigator of the "Cognitive Biology of Language" research group.

Research interests

My current research focuses on developing new ways to shed light on the neurobiological foundations of the human language faculty. My graduate training and early career were in theoretical linguistics, but my more recent work has a more explicit biological, and experimental orientation. My current projects are all intended to facilitate integration among disciplines (linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and genetics), and lead to better experimental testing of theoretical hypotheses, as well as to more solid interpretations of experimental findings. I also seek to exploit the full pluralism characteristic of the life sciences to force a rethinking of long-held assumptions in theoretical linguistics and other domains of cognitive science.

Selected publications

– Theofanopoulou, Constantina; Gedman, Gregory; Cahill, James A.; Boeckx, Cedric; Jarvis, Erich D. 2021, ‘Universal nomenclature for oxytocin-vasotocin ligand and receptor families’, Nature, 592, 7856, 747 – +.

– Eusebi, Paulina G.; Sevane, Natalia; O’Rourke, Thomas; Pizarro, Manuel; Boeckx, Cedric; Dunner, Susana 2021, ‘Gene expression profiles underlying aggressive behavior in the prefrontal cortex of cattle’, Bmc Genomics, 22, 1, 245.

– O’Rourke, T., P.T. Martins, R. Asano, R. O. Tachibana, K. Okanoya and C. Boeckx 2021, ‘Capturing the effects of domestication on vocal learning complexity‘, Trends in Cognitive Sciences 25(6):462-474.

Boeckx, C 2021. Reflections on language evolution: From minimalism to pluralism. Berlin: Language Sciences Press,

– Hilton, C., R. Asano, and C. Boeckx. 2021. Why musical hierarchies? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44:e100

– Tobari, Y., C. Theofanopoulou, C. Mori, Y. Sato, M. Marutani, S. Fujioka, N. Konno, K. Suzuki, A. Furutani, S. Hakataya, C.-T. Yao, E.-Y. Yang, C.-R. Tsai, P.-C. Tang, C.-F. Chen, C. Boeckx, E. Jarvis, K. Okanoya. 2021. Oxytocin variation and brain region-specific gene expression in a domesticated avian species. Genes, Brain and Behavior: e12780.

ICREA Memoir 2021