Cristóbal Pagán Cánovas

Co-director, Daedalus Lab

The Murcia Center for Cognition, Communication, and Creativity

Ramón y Cajal Assistant Professor

English Philology, University of Murcia

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow

Quantitative Linguistics, University of Tübingen

Latest publications

Pagán Cánovas, C. Forthcoming. Gilles Fauconnier and the meaning of a sentence. CORELA (Cognition, Représentation, Langage).

Pagán Cánovas, C. Forthcoming. Authors: Cognitive patterns and individual creativity. In P. C. Hogan, L. P. Hogan & B. Irish (eds.) Routledge Companion to Literature and Emotion.

Illán Castillo, R. & Pagán Cánovas, C. Forthcoming. Time moves more often in poetry: a comparative corpus study. D. Alcaraz Carrión, A. Gordejuela & A. Piata (eds.), On the edges of time: Time representations in the perspective of human creativity. John Benjamins: Human Cognitive Processing Series.

Besada, J. L., Barthel-Calvet A-S., Pagán Cánovas, C. 2021. Gearing time towards musical creativity: Conceptual integration and material anchoring in Xenakis’ Psappha. Frontiers in Psychology 11:611316.

Alcaraz Carrión, D., Pagán Cánovas, C. & Valenzuela, J. 2020. Enaction through co-speech gesture: the rhetorical handing of the mental timeline. Zeitschrift fur Anglistik and Amerikanistik 68(4): 411–431.

Valenzuela, J., Pagán Cánovas, C., Olza, I., Alcaraz Carrión, D. 2020. Gesturing in the wild: Spontaneous gestures co-occurring with temporal demarcative expressions provide evidence for a flexible mental timeline. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 18:2. 289-315.

Besada, J. L. & Pagán Cánovas, C. 2020. Timelines in spectral composition: A cognitive approach to musical creativity. Organised Sound 25(2): 142-155.

Pagán Cánovas, C. 2020. Learning formulaic creativity: Chunking in verbal art and speech. In T. Hoffmann (ed.), Construction Grammar and creativity: Evolution, psychology, and cognitive science, special issue of Cognitive Semiotics 13(1).

Pagán Cánovas, C., Valenzuela, J., Alcaraz Carrión, D., Olza, I., Ramscar, M. 2020. Quantifying the speech-gesture relation with massive multimodal datasets: Informativity in time expressions. PLoS ONE 15(6): e0233892.

What does it mean to be human? To contribute to the quest for the human spark, I study our species' unparalleled abilities for integrating disparate knowledge, thoughts, and actions into new wholes with emergent properties.

We merge manifold body movements into speech and gesture that convey rich meanings, or imagine future or counterfactual scenarios from disperse memories and perceptions, or recombine old ideas to create new ones, or manipulate materials and environments to expand our capacities for cognition and action. These integrative abilities allow us to trascend what for other species are unsurpassable boundaries. How does the human mind go from scattered feathers to Daedalus' wings, flying out of the labyrinth rather than merely finding a niche in it?

With the rest of the team at the Daedalus Lab, I combine methods from the humanities and the sciences to study key integrative phenomena of the human mind: How do we build on the basics of perception and action to create complex concepts? How do we structure the multimodal flow of communication? How do we stabilize the flashing patterns of our mind through bodily action and material manipulation? How do we develop all those patterns of integration in cultural diachrony, adapting them to the varying goals and contexts of everyday interactions, aesthetic creation, or cultural tradition?

For more about my research, see the Daedalus Lab projects.

For more on conceptual integration, see the blending site. For more on big-data research on multimodal communication, see the Red Hen Lab. For more on wide learning and the non-deterministic patterns of language, see the Department of Quantitative Linguistics at Tübingen.