Executive Committee


Farrell Ackerman

Farrell Ackerman


Lexicalism, morphology, lexical semantics, syntax, typology, first language acquisition:

  • the application of Word & Paradigm (inferential-realizational) models of morphology to constraint based lexicalist theories
  • the relevance of paradigms and periphrasis to Realization-based Lexicalism
  • cross-linguistic and typological investigations, especially within the Uralic family

Eric Baković


  • phonological analysis
  • architectural consequences
  • rule and constraint interaction
  • phonological variation
  • Spanish linguistics

Ursula BellugiUrsula Bellugi 


Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Behavioral neurogenetics—multidisciplinary research linking gene, brain, and cognition:

  • consequences of genetic alterations for brain development and the resulting alterations of cognitive capabilities
  • the nature of both normal and genetically-altered cognition
  • networks of brain regions underlying cognitive functions such as language and spatial cognition

Language, modality, and the brain:

  • Structure, acquisition, and processing of American Sign Language
  • Brain bases of sign language compared to spoken language

Benjamin BergenBenjamin Bergen

Cognitive Science

Meaning and the cognitive processes that underlie it:

  • Language comprehension, especially how people use motor and perceptual simulation to understand words and sentences
  • Metaphorical language and thought, taking evidence from corpus and experimental research
  • How people use grammar to encode meaning, and how grammatical structures affect comprehension
  • What the meaningful units are inside words, with special interest in phonaesthemes

Lera BoroditskyLera Boroditsky

Cognitive Science

Relationships between mind, world and language. How we create meaning, imagine, and use knowledge. How the languages we speak shape the ways we think.

Leslie CarverLeslie Carver


Brain changes associated with development in the transition from infancy to the early toddler years:

  • Brain basis of cognitive change, e.g., onset of long-term memory
  • Brain basis of social change,  e.g., formation of long-lasting relationship with caregiver; use of caregiver's facial expression as a guide to interpreting unusual situations

Garrison CottrellGarrison Cottrell

Computer Science

Neural networks as a computational model applied to problems in cognitive science and artificial intelligence, engineering and biology as disparate as:

  • how children acquire words
  • how lobsters chew
  • nonlinear data compression

Seana CoulsonSeana Coulson

Cognitive Science

Co-Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders

The study of meaning construction—how people deploy their cognitive resources in order to understand and interpret objects, activities, events, and natural language utterances—using methods ranging from macro- to micro-levels:

  • consideration of culture, social construction, discourse
  • analysis of production and reaction time data
  • relation to neural computation (ERPs)

Gedeon DeákGedeon Deák

Cognitive Science

Cognitive, linguistic, and social development:

  • children's word learning, cognitive flexibility, logical skill,  metacognition, categorization and generalization
  • flexible cognition and human language
  • embodied learning models of social development
  • infant-parent communication and joint attention

Diana Deutsch Diana Deutsch


Multidisciplinary research investigating language, music, and the relationships between the two:

  • tone languages
  • verbal transformation illusions
  • absolute pitch and its genesis
  • perceptual transformations of speech into song

Karen EmmoreyKaren Emmorey


Language & Communicative Disorders


What sign languages can reveal about the nature of human language, cognition, and the brain.

Sign language:

  • production and comprehension
  • impact on nonlinguistic visual-spatial cognition
  • linguistic functions of eye gaze

Language modality (sign, speech):

  • impact on spatial language
  • bimodal bilingualism (ASL-English)

Neural correlates of language and nonlinguistic cognitive functions:

  • neuroimaging studies (fMRI, PET)
  • unilateral brain damage

Victor Ferreira Victor Ferreira


Assoc. Director, CRL

Language production processes:

  • studied empirically and theoretically using the tools of cognitive psychology
  • further understood by means of simulation or connectionist modeling
  • focus on (a) sentence formation and (b) word production

Eric HalgrenEric Halgren


John HavilandJohn Haviland


Andrew KehlerAndrew Kehler


The interaction between theoretical linguistic, psycholinguistic, and computational linguistic models of discourse interpretation:

  • Coherence, reference, and the theory of grammar
  • Ellipsis and anaphora interpretation
  • Empirically-driven computational models of reference
  • The semantics of coordination and plural prediction

Robert Kluender


  • Neural substrate of language, psycholinguistics,
  • second language acquisition,
  • syntactic theory,
  • Germanic linguistics,
  • cognitive neuroscience,
  • sentence processing

Marta Kutas Marta Kutas

Cognitive Science

Director, CRL

Human cognition and neuropsychology:

  • language comprehension and production
  • how we attend, understand, learn and remember
  • mechanisms of reading, creativity, humor, sleep
  • unconscious processes
  • handedness and cerebral specialization
  • ortical functioning and behavior

Electrophysiological and experimental methods of assessing human information processing in control and patient groups:

  • physiological mechanisms underlying EEG and ERP activity
  • relation between single unit, multiunit and EEG activity
  • clinical applications of ERPs

Roger Levy Roger Levy


Computational Linguistics, Human Sentence Processing, Syntax, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, German

Rachel Mayberry Rachel Mayberry


First-, second- and incomplete language acquisition and sign language processing in children and adults.

Alysson MuotriAlysson Muotri

Cellular & Molecular Medicine

The complexity of the human brain, with thousands of neuronal types, permits the development of sophisticated behavioral repertoires, such as language, tool use, self-awareness, symbolic thought, cultural learning and consciousness. From such dynamic complexity emerged extraordinary technological and artistic masterpieces in a relatively short cultural history. Moreover, brain complexity has a creative purpose. Understanding what produces neuronal diversification during brain development has been a longstanding challenge for neuroscientists and may bring insights on the evolution of human cognition.

The Muotri lab explores mobile elements as generators of diversity during neuronal differentiation. These mobile elements may be part of a conserved genetic core process responsible for evoking facilitated complex non-random phenotypical variation in which selection may act. They use animal models, neural stem cells, human and other primates’ pluripotent cells and several molecular tools to investigate fundamental mechanisms of brain development, evolution and mental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Rafael NúñezRafael Núñez

Cognitive Science

Cognition from the perspective of the embodied mind, with particular interest in high-level cognitive phenomena such as conceptual systems, abstraction, and inference mechanisms, as they manifest themselves naturally through largely unconscious bodily/mental activity (e.g., gesture production co-produced with conceptual metaphors and blends).

Carol Padden Carol Padden


Sign language, development of writing systems in young children; interaction of language and cultural systems, including writing, drawing and reading,:

  • how innovative, constrained borrowing from English has produced a "foreign" ASL sub-lexicon based on finger spelling
  • how the contrast between "foreign" and "native" ASL sublexicons is exploited in teaching literacy to young deaf children
  • how culturally-rooted pedagogical practices take into consideration the special circumstances of signers and their largely visual interaction with print
  • how circumstances of deafness, including genetic patterning, interact with social and cultural practice throughout the world

Judy ReillyJudy Reilly

Center for Human Development


Developmental trajectories of language and emotion in children with:

  • typical development
  • early unilateral brain damage
  • language impairment
  • Williams or Down syndrome
  • English or French environment

Tasks include:

  • inferring emotion in others
  • oral and written narratives
  • computer based interventions to enhance pre-literacy skills

Sharon RoseSharon Rose


Phonology, morphology, phonetics, psycholinguistics African language description (Semitic, Kordofanian)

Ayse Pinar SayginAyse Pinar Saygin

Cognitive Science

Action and Biological motion processing. Aphasia.
Relationship between linguistic and non-linguistic processes.

Lesion-symptom mapping. Neuroimaging.

Doris TraunerDoris Trauner



Cognitive consequences of conditions that alter brain development early in life:

  • neurodevelopment disorders
  • genetic disorders
  • metabolic disorders

Research and Project Scientists

Adele Abrahamsen Adele Abrahamsen


Relations between language and cognition:

  • early words and symbolic gestures in typically and atypically developing toddlers
  • word acquisition at 4-10 years
  • symbolic and connectionist representations of semantic information

Cognitive science as a discipline:

  • topics in history and philosophy of cognitive science
  • development of web-based materials for courses on  research methods in cognitive science (

Amy Lieberman Amy Lieberman


Sign language acquisition, development of joint attention, sign language processing

Tracy LoveTracy Love

Co-Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders

  • language and cognitive processes
  • the role of various aspects of cognition (e.g. attention, memory, visual neglect etc.) and their potential impact on language function
  • language processing in adults, children and language disordered populations
  • designing a comprehensive model of normal language processing and in addition, applying this knowledge to those populations who exhibit specific difficulties in one or more aspects of language function

Jeanne Townsend Jeanne Townsend


Brain bases of cognitive function, studied developmentally using neuropsychological and behavioral testing, EEG, ERP, structural and functional MR imaging:

  • attentional processing in successful aging
  • cognitive effects of cerebral dysfunction in autism
  • language and cognition in normally-developing and at-risk children

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