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The Center for Research in Language offers graduate students fellowships in its interdisciplinary training program:

Language, Communication and the Brain

Program Director:
Marta Kutas, Professor of Cognitive Science; Director, CRL

Executive Committee:

Seana Coulson, Professor of Cognitive Science, UCSD
Jeff Elman, Professor of Cognitive Science, UCSD
Karen Emmorey, Professor of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, SDSU
Vic Ferreira, Professor of Psychology, UCSD
Eric Halgren, Professor of Radiology, UCSD
Andrew Kehler, Professor of Linguistics, UCSD
Robert Kluender, Professor of Linguistics, UCSD
Marta Kutas, Professor of Cognitive Science, UCSD
Rachel Mayberry, Professor of Linguistics, UCSD
Keith Rayner, Professor of Psychology, UCSD

Funded by the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders


Our training program emphasizes new technologies and new theoretical frameworks in cognitive science and neuroscience (e.g. advances in neural imaging, electrophysiological and behavioral studies of real-time language processing, computer simulations of language learning and breakdown). The training program integrates the expertise, ideas, populations and technologies that are available in abundance across this community, and places them at the disposal of young scientists interested in the mental and neural mechanisms that underlie language learning, language use and language disorders.

Candidates submit proposals to the Center for Research in Language. Fellows are selected by the Executive Committee, in consultation with the collaborating faculty.  All fellows will specialize in one major area and one minor area from the 5 research components listed below.  Each fellow's training experience will include a combination of research, laboratory rotations, weekly laboratory meetings, coursework, social-scientific gatherings, and oral presentations

The training program pays an annual stipend of $22,032 over 12 months. A portion of student tuition is covered by the training grant. We ask your home department to contribute part of the tuition. There is also an $800 travel allowance to attend a scientific conferernce.


Psycholinguistics includes language processing in normal (monolingual and bilingual) populations and in language-disordered populations using converging evidence from real-time behavioral, ERP, and fMRI techniques as well as lesion studies.

Neuroimaging of Language uses Event-related Brain Potential (ERPs), Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and intracranial recording to study language processing in the brain.

Computational Models of Language encompasses a broad class of techniques that have significantly influenced how psycholinguists think about language. These techniques include the statistical analysis of large scale language corpora to inspire architectures and algorithms that might emulate language acquisition, the training and analysis of neural networks, and Bayesian modeling.

Signed Languages and Gesture studies can provide important insights into the neurobiology and cognitive architecture of human language and thought. This research area uses behavioral, eye tracking, and neuroimaging techniques throughout the lifespan.

Language acquisition and decline may provide critical clues as to the structure of language.  This research approach is three-pronged – behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging – and includes first and second language acquisition in monolinguals and multilingual speakers (and signers), as well as changes in language comprehension and production with normal and abnormal aging and brain damage.


Our trainees have access to state-of-the-art experimental facilities in the departments of Cognitive Science, Linguistics, Psychology, the fMRI Center and the Center for Research in Language.


At the Center for Research in Language we celebrate our diverse community of faculty, students, staff, and visitors. Cultural diversity enriches our lives and our research programs. We welcome individuals of all languages, races, ethnicities, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion and political beliefs.

Requirements for predoctoral candidates.

  1. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident to receive a fellowship (NIH policy).
  2. Priority is given to students in good standing from the Departments of Cognitive Science, Linguistics, Psychology, and the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. However, students from other departments whose research interests closely match those of this training program are welcome to apply. Departments also may submit names of potential incoming graduate students as a recruitment tool.
  3. The candidate's major area of specialization will be determined as follows:
    a.   the research area selected for the dissertation topic
    b.   the weekly research meeting group selected for regular attendance in all years of residence
    c.   3-5 courses, to be determined jointly by the student and the program faculty
  4. The candidate's minor area of specialization will be determined as follows:
    a.   one 3-6 month rotation in a laboratory associated with a research component other than the one in which the student carries out his/her dissertation research
    b.   regular attendance in weekly laboratory meetings for at least one year of residence
    c.   2-3 courses, to be determined jointly by the student and the program faculty
  5. For graduate students who have a doctoral committee, that committee will include at least one member of the Executive Committee of this training grant (that member need not be the thesis chair); the student's advisor and chair of their doctoral committee must be a member of the larger list of faculty associated with the training program.
  6. In consultation with their doctoral committees, students will be urged to take courses outside of their home department, with an emphasis on methods that are typically not available within that department.  For example, students in Linguistics might acquire competence in statistics.  Students in Cognitive Science and Psychology might be urged to take basic coursework in theoretical phonology, syntax, morphology and/or semantics.  Students in Psychology and Linguistics might be encouraged to enroll in at least one course related to computational linguistics.
  7. Students will present at least one lab meeting or general talk in a lab or department other than the one in which they are a member.
  8. In addition to existing department teaching requirements, predoctoral students will give a short presentation on their work at the on-campus Preuss High School or some equivalent. More experienced fellows will be partially responsible for training incoming fellows. All fellows will be encouraged to contribute to user manuals and development of training materials.
  9. A short yearly progress report written in 3 formats for 3 target audiences, each with a different level of expertise – (1) expert, (2) interested academics, and (2) lay audiences including potential funders. Feedback will be provided by the fellow’s mentor and the University Development Office.
  10. All trainees will attend a fall reception and meet weekly during the academic year on Tuesdays at 4:00 pm for the CRL seminar series.
  11. All trainees will receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research by taking one of the several courses available at UCSD on this subject (e.g. COG SCI 241, Ethics and Survival Skills in Academia).


CRL is not accepting applications for the 2013-14 academic year.


Farrell Ackerman, Linguistics
Eric Bakovic, Linguistics
David Barner, Psychology
William Bechtel, Philosophy
Ben Bergen, Cognitive Science
Ursula Bellugi, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Lera Boroditsky, Cognitive Science
Rick Buxton, Radiology, Director, fMRI Center
Gary Cottrell, Computer Science
Seana Coulson, Cognitive Science
Eric Courchesne, Neurosciences
Sarah Creel, Cognitive Science
Anders Dale, Radiology and Neurosciences
Gedeon Deak, Cognitive Science
Jeffrey Elman, Cognitive Science
Karen Emmorey, SDSU School of Speech, Language & Hearing Science
Vic Ferreira, Psychology
Margaret Friend, SDSU Psychology
Timothy Gentner, Psychology & Neurosciences
Jean Mark Gowron, SDSU Linguistics

Ralph Greenspan, Kavli Inst. for Brain & Mind
Eric Halgren, Radiology
John Haviland, Anthropology
Edwin Hutchins, Cognitive Science
Terry Jernigan, Cognitive Science
Andy Kehler, Linguistics
Robert Kluender, Linguistics
Marta Kutas, Cognitive Science, Neurosciences
Roger Levy, Linguistics
Tracy Love, SDSU School of Speech, Language & Hearing Science
Rob Malouf, SDSU Linguistics
Rachel Mayberry, Linguistics
Alysson Muotri, Pediatrics
Rafael Nuñez, Cognitive Science
Carol Padden, Communication
Howard Poizner, Institute for Neural Computation
Keith Rayner, Psychology
Ayse Saygin, Cognitive Science
Jeanne Townsend, Neurology
Doris Trauner, Pediatrics, Neurosciences


Congratulations to Dr. Marta Kutas on being awarded the 2015 Distinguished Career Contributions Award. Dr. Kutas will give her award lecture on Saturday, March 28, 2015 in San Francisco.

CRL is excited to present the latest CRL Newsletter, featuring technical report:
Language Skills and Speed of Auditory Processing in Young Children
J.A. Avenzino, M. Gonzalez Robledo, & G.O. Deák