TedLab

TedLab Caitlin Cunningham Photography LLC

Principal Investigator

Ted Gibson

Ted Gibson

I am the PI of Tedlab.
Here
is my CV.
Here
is my google scholar profile.
Here is a short bio.




Students

Mika Braginsky

MIT BCS, expected to graduate summer 2021

I am interested in learning how children learn language gives dual complementary insights into both children and language. Given that languages are structured the way they are, what does children's ability to learn them tell us about cognitive development? And given that children have the abilities to do, what does the learnability of language tell us about its structure? I am interested in large-scale investigations of language learning, across levels of structure – words, morphology, lexical semantics.

Contact:

Yingtong Liu

Harvard Linguistics, expected to graduate, 2022

My research interests are driven by a general curiosity about why languages the way they are. More specifically, I’m curious about how various factors shape syntax and how syntax interacts with semantics. I’m interested in questions like: Why do wh-dependencies across certain verbs/constructions are acceptable, but not across others? What are the constraints that govern the distribution of anaphors? How does the communication function of language shape syntax? Besides the traditional claim that syntax drives semantics, can semantics also drive syntax, and how? To seek answers to these questions, I aim to develop theories and statistical models and test how well they predict the empirical data collected via experiments and language databases.

Giuseppe Ricciardi

Harvard Linguistics, (co advised with Gennari Chierchia), expected to graduate 2023

I’m fascinated by the human language property of conveying through one sentence multiple independent pieces of meaning simultaneously. When speakers utter a sentence, they provide their listeners not only with a piece of information about the world but also with cues about secondary content like their source of information, their degree of certainty in the truth of the sentence, and which part of the conveyed information is new. My research goal in this area is twofold. On one side, I aim at revealing those clues about secondary content by adopting behavioral tests standardly used in psycholinguistics; on the other side, based on these experimental findings, I aim at modelling the role of secondary content in discourse structure within dynamical/conversational approaches to sentence meaning.

Saima Malik-Moraleda

Harvard / MIT HST, (co advised with Ev Fedorenko), expected to graduate 2024

My broad interest lies in understanding the commonalities and differences in communication across languages and cultures, and how these may provide insights into the relationship between language and other cognitive systems. Currently, I am interested in using a noisy channel account of language communication to understand how one’s native language affects the inferences made by listeners when decoding the meaning of input corrupted by noise.

Yuhan Zhang

Harvard Linguistics, (co advised with Kathryn Davidson), expected to graduate 2024

I am broadly interested in how sophisticated meanings or thoughts are encoded in and decoded from language and how various linguistic, contextual, or psychological factors (e.g., world knowledge, intensionality, speaker perspective) facilitate or constrain successful meaning interpretation. Applying psycholinguistic methods, I am studying how erroneous language input are interpreted as plausible through noisy-channel inferences and discovering the linguistic configurations and the cognitive mechanisms that account for such a phenomenon. Adopting quantitative analyses to theoretical semantics and pragmatics, I am interested in understanding the contextual effect on the availability and accessibility of de re/de dicto interpretations of noun phrases in belief reports.

Eric Martinez

MIT BCS, expected to graduate 2025

My interests lie in law and language--in particular how lawyers and non-lawyers understand and interpret legal concepts through language. I received my law degree from Harvard in 2019, and I am currently working with Ted Gibson and Frank Mollica to better understand (a) how and why the language that lawyers write tends to be so complex and difficult to understand for non-lawyers; and (b) how legal language might be simplified for all of society's benefit (especially those who have been traditionally marginalized by the legal system).

Sihan Chen

MIT BCS, expected to graduate 2025

One of my ultimate interests is to understand how human minds exchange information in the form of written scripts, which involves investigating how information is encoded by the author, how information is decoded by the reader, as well as the efficiency of these processes in different writing systems (e.g. alphabetical, syllabic, logographic, abjad, and abugida). I'm also interested in determining to what extent the external environmental factors affect how people use their languages, especially how they use different sounds. These two questions are addressed via combining mathematical modelling, behavioral experiments, and corpus data analysis.

Postdocs

Benjamin Pitt

UC Berkeley (co-advised with Steve Piantadosi)

Benjamin Pitt is a postdoctoral scholar in cognitive science working with Ted and Steve Piantadosi at UC Berkeley. He studies how people's concepts (e.g. of time, numbers, and space) vary across cultures, across languages, and across individuals, and what that cognitive diversity tells us about the structure of the mind. He is on the academic job market starting this year (2020).

Sammy Floyd

MIT BCS (co-advised with Evelina Fedorenko)

I am interested in how language is used flexibly. In my PhD work I investigated how words are almost always associated with more than one meaning (polysemy), and how this can be learned and represented. In my postdoc, I'm exploring how much of communication goes beyond just a literal understanding (pragmatic language), and what inferences and computations might support this.

RAs / Post-Bacs

Maya Taliaferro, MIT

Francie Mulligan, MIT

UROPs

Visitors

Ray Jackendoff, Tufts

Collaborators

Steve Piantadosi, UC Berkeley

Ev Fedorenko, MIT BCS

Roger Levy, MIT BCS

Anne Abeille, University of Paris

Barbara Hemforth, University of Paris

Elodie Winckel, University of Paris

Lars Konieczny, Freiburg Institute For Advanced Studies

Student Alums

Yuan Bian (2021)

  • Current location: U Illinois

Alex Paunov (2019)

  • Current location: MIT

Richard Futrell (2018)

Julian Jara-Ettinger (2016)

Kyle Mahowald (2016)

Leon Bergen (2015)

Melissa Kline (2015)

Melissa Troyer (2011)

Steve Piantadosi (2011)

John Kraemer (2011)

  • Website:

Mike C. Frank (2011)

Mara Breen (2007)

Evelina Fedorenko (2007)

Florian Wolf (2004)

Ken Nakatani (2004)

Franny Hsiao (2002)

  • Contact:

Dan Grodner (2002)

Duane Watson (2002)

Tessa Warren (2001)

Edson Miyamoto (1998)

Carson Schutze (1995)

Colin Phillips (1995)

Ex-Postdocs

Rachel Ryskin

Tim O’Donnell

Peter Graff

Hal Tily

  • Current location: San Francisco, CA
  • Website:

Jared Novick

Michael Wagner

Doug Rohde

Edith Kaan

Whitney Tabor

Ex-Visitors

Frank Mollica

Paula Rubio Fernandez

Christian Bentz

Frank Keller

Roger Levy

Anubha Kothari

  • Current location: San Francisco, CA

Atanas Chanev

  • Current location: University of Trento (Italy)
  • Website:

Florian Jaeger

Timmy Desmet

John Hale

Raj Singh

Ex-Research Assistants

Cindy Fang

  • Current location: UC Merced

Misha Ali

  • Current location: Brown

Recent UROPs

Theo Cucu, MIT

Michael Anoke, MIT

Anita Podrug, MIT

Euphy Liu, Wellesley

Kinan Martin, MIT

Dana McCormack, MIT

Ava Shipman, Wellesley

Caitlin Tan

Zheng Zhang

Sarah Nathaniel

Miguel Salinas

Sarah Wu

Eke Wochoka

In Memory

Masha Babyonyshev

An obituary by David Pesetsky.

An Antonovka apple tree

from Russia, given to Ted by Masha's widower husband Ted Walls. Seen here planted in Ted's backyard.