TedLab Caitlin Cunningham Photography LLC

Principal Investigator

Ted Gibson

Ted Gibson

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


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.

Thomas Hikaru Clark

MIT BCS, expected to graduate 2026

I am interested in the principles underlying human language and cognition, and how computational and information-theoretic approaches can help us shed light on these principles. For example, some recent work has looked at the Uniform Information Density hypothesis through corpus study, behavioral experiment, and computational modeling of counterfactual grammars. I’m also interested in what makes words and sentences memorable, and how to computationally characterize language disorders.

Moshe Poliak

MIT BCS, expected to graduate 2027

I study how we use non-lexical properties of language in comprehension and production. Using the noisy channel framework, I investigate how expectations about the form of the utterance affects how we interpret it. I am also trying to figure out what exactly makes two utterances similar to each other, in speech and in writing, and how this depends on individual differences in linguistic background. Finally, I want to deepen our understanding of how manner of speech (e.g., intonation) shapes the meaning of the utterance.


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.

Aixiu An

My primary interest lies in understanding representations of grammar in humans by combining experimental approach and computational modeling. I worked on grammatical agreement for my PhD thesis, which shows both linear order and structure order matter for agreement. My current project studies how context affects acceptability judgment.

RAs / Post-Bacs

Maya Taliaferro, MIT

Lia Washington, MIT


Hannah Kimura, MIT

Anna Zhou, MIT

Karenna Caton, MIT


Ray Jackendoff, Tufts

Ruihua Mao, Université Paris Cité

My research interests are in cognitive science, in particular experimental syntax. Currently, I focus on investigating the cross-construction and crosslinguistic (English, Chinese, and French) variation of long-distance dependency constraints, using corpus analyses (examining big texts) and controlled experiments conducted over crowd-sourcing platforms, to assess the relative merits of three theories: universalist syntactic approach, processing approach, and discourse-based approach.

Yanis Da Cunha, Université Paris Cité

My work deals with construction alternations, cases where speakers are facing multiple ways of conveying the same message. These alternations are constrained by various and often common factors across languages, relying on general cognitive principles. My current interest lies in the contribution of gender biases to speakers' preferences in construction alternations. For example, are women more often chosen as the object of a sentence? I'm thus interested in how language may reflect and reproduce gender stereotypes.


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

Mika Braginsky (2022)

Yingtong Liu (2022)

Giuseppe Ricciardi (2022)

  • Current location: Frontiers

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)

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)


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


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

Titus Roesler, MIT

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.