Michael A. Arbib is University Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences, and Psychology at the University of Southern California.
His primary research focus is on the coordination of perception and action. This is tackled at two levels: via schema theory, which is applicable both in top-down analyses of brain function and human cognition as well as in studies of machine vision and robotics; and through the detailed analysis of neural networks, working closely with the experimental findings of neuroscientists on humans and monkeys. He is also engaged in research on the evolution of brain mechanisms for human language, pursuing the Mirror System Hypothesis that links language parity (the fact that what the speaker intends is roughly what the hearer understands) to the properties of the mirror system for grasping — neurons active for both the execution and observation of actions — to explain (amongst many other things) why human brains can acquire sign language as readily as speech.
As an Emeritus Professor, he will work in San Diego on two themes: the ABLE Project (linking Action, Brain, Language and Evolution) and exploring the linkage between neuroscience and architecture.