About our Lab
How do we learn and use language?
The goal of our research is to better understand the mechanisms underlying the mastery of linguistic knowledge. Recent advances in our ability to study large, naturalistic datasets, combined with advanced computational modeling techniques, have allowed us to ask questions that were not possible just years before. One of the major insights from our work is that “Big Data” research that investigates the structure of experience – such as investigations of giant corpora of naturalistic speech – will force us to radically re-evaluate certain theories of learning and representation. Many models (especially any that involve interactions or nonlinear effects) perform qualitatively differently when faced with large amounts of data, making some learning problems harder and others much easier.
Building Corpora of Language Experience
Given the importance of understanding features of the language environment for understanding language learning we are involved in multiple projects that aim to better understand the day-to-day language experiences that children and adults encounter. The corpora we develop include both audio and text corpora of language that children and adults might encounter to understand the range of experiences that children and adults encounter through both speech and text.
We use controlled lab-based experiments to better understand language learning and language use. We employ eye tracking and other behavioral methods with both children and adults in a range of tasks.