Principal Investigator

Joshua Hartshorne

B.A. Mathematics, Oberlin College
M.A. Psychology, Harvard University
Ph.D. Psychology, Harvard University

I am interested in understanding what allows humans, but not current machines, to learn language – and why it is that children, despite their salient limitations of both cognition and experience, are so much more successful at language learning than adults. I am particularly interested in applying new and emerging methods (such as computational modeling and crowdsourcing) to core problems in the language sciences.

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Full-Time Staff

Miguel Mejia

Lab Coordinator

B.A. Psychology, Linguistics (Cognition and Language)
University of California, San Diego

My interest lies in understanding how language is represented in the mind, and how language production and comprehension are processed in relation to other cognitive functions. I am particularly drawn to the matter of meaning, and how it is encoded and retrieved during early stages of human development and beyond.

Mariela Jennings


B.S. Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
George Mason University

I am interested in using computational modeling and crowdsourcing to learn more about the way language works. Recently, I learned about probabilistic programming languages and became very excited about their development and applications!


Lily Feinberg

I am a senior at BC studying Applied Psychology and Human Development. I am interested in pursuing a career in speech language pathology!

Juliani Vidal

I'm a senior at Boston College majoring in Psychology and minoring in French. I'm very interested in how children go about acquiring a primary and/or a secondary language and how that affects their development.

Tiwalayo Eisape

I am a thesis student at BC studying mathematics, computer science, and philosophy. I am interested in holistically understanding aspects of cognition, such as language, to develop cognitively plausible models. I have spent most of my time at L3 applying deep learning to problems in psycholinguistics and cognitive neuroscience.

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Tony Chen

I'm a junior at Boston College studying Psychology and Mathematics. I'm interested in how we can use statistics and math to model aspects of human cognition, such as language acquisition and intelligence.

Rachel Duquette

I'm a sophomore at Boston College studying math and computer science. I'm interested in the intersection of computer science and linguistics, especially machine learning and natural language processing.

David Kocen

I am a sophomore at Boston College studying Psychology and Computer Science. I am interested in how language acquisition changes from childhood to adulthood and how we can apply knowledge from computer science to better our understanding of psychology.

William Pyle

I am a junior at Boston College majoring in Computer Science B.A. I am interested in the relationship between the ways in which the human mind and computers process language and how computer scientists, linguists, and psychologists can work together to gain greater understanding of both natural language processing and early childhood development.

Katherine Karafotas

I am a sophomore at Boston College majoring Psychology and minoring in Journalism. I am highly interested in learning about social cognition – whether it can be dissociated from general cognition, how to measure it and its advantages in everyday life.

Madeleine McCann

My name is Madeleine McCann and I’m from a small farm town in New Hampshire called Hollis! I plan on majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience, potentially minoring in spanish! Even though I don’t look it at all, I’m half Puertorican and have grown up immersed in that culture. Language has always been an interest of mine, I took spanish in high school and love learning it. I can’t wait to tie my curiosity in psychology and language together!

Sarah Al-Mayahi

I'm a sophomore at Boston College majoring in Psychology and minoring in Arabic studies. I’m interested in second language acquisition and bilingualism at an early age. I’m also interested in further exploring the phenomenon of multilingualism by combining different perspectives such as sociology, psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience.

Zeen Naeem

I am an undergraduate student studying Psychology at the University of Bath. I am interested in how young children acquire language and why some children have difficulties with language development. I am also excited to learn about new methods used in this field of developmental research.

Claudia Reino

I am a junior at Boston College majoring in psychology (B.A.) and minoring in music and Hispanic studies. I am interested in language acquisition in children, specifically when learning a second or third language. Further, I am excited about investigating any cognitive or developmental implications additional languages may lead to.

Eric Echeandia

I am senior at Boston College majoring in Psychology (B.S.), minoring in Economics and on the Pre-Med track. Being from a Hispanic background and speaking Spanish as a first language, I am curious about the way children acquire language and what is the prime age for language acquisition. I am also interested in the way being bilingual changes the wiring of the different brain centers.

Affiliated Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Jayden Ziegler

Fifth-year PhD student in psychology at Harvard

Language is a complex system of concrete percepts (i.e., the speech stream) and abstract representations (e.g., semantics, syntax, phonology, pragmatics). I am particularly interested in characterizing the semantic and syntactic representations of language, including how they’re structured, the mappings between them, and how these mappings get formed over the course of language acquisition and conceptual development.

Yujing Huang

Postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis

Yujing is interested in how different components of language interact. Her research interest includes how meaning is expressed via syntactic structure (i.e., the syntax-semantics interface) and how sound interacts with syntax (i.e., the phonology-syntax interface). She is also interested in developing statistical models for data analysis.

External Collaborators

Stefano Anzellotti

Boston College

Dave Barner

University of California, San Diego

Josh de Leeuw

Vassar College

Laura Germine

McClain Hospital

Tobi Gerstenberg

Stanford University

Roman Feiman

Brown University

Noah Goodman

Stanford University

Yi Ting Huang

University of Maryland

Sam Mehr

Harvard University

Laura Niemi

University of Toronto

Tim O'Donnell

McGill University

Martha Palmer

Colorado University, Boulder

Steve Pinker

Harvard University

Jesse Snedeker

Harvard University

Hugh Rabagliati

University of Edinburgh

Josh Tenenbaum

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Liane Young

Boston College