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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Postdoctoral Fellows

Aidas Aglinskas

Aidas works on a project funded by the Simons Foundation modeling heterogeneity of brain-connectivity in Autism. Specifically, he interrogates large datasets of resting-state fMRI to look at patterns of functional connectivity - using advanced computational methods. The project goal is to better understand subtypes and factors in Autism spectrum disorder. Before coming to BC, Aidas got his doctoral training at the university of Trento, Italy - where he used fMRI to understand how knowledge concepts are represented across brain networks.

Mengguo Jing

Mengguo is interested in young children’s learning through interaction with the environment. She has been studying children’s transfer of learning from different sources of information (e.g., screen media, stories, play). Mengguo now works with Dr. Joshua Hartshorne and Dr. James Pustejovsky on a project that investigates proposals to create artificial general intelligence and understand the mechanisms of early learning. Before coming to BC, Mengguo earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison while studying children's attention to and learning from screen media and the impact of social media in adolescents.

Yujing Huang

Affiliated Postdoc

Yujing is interested in how meaning and structure of language interact. Her research interests includes how semantics is expressed via syntactic structure and what conceptual primitives enables children to learn languages. She is also interested in developing statistical models for data analysis.

Graduate Students

Wei Li

I graduated from Cornell University with a major in developmental psychology. I’m interested in how children learn words, concepts, and language in only a few years with limited cognitive capacity and limited experience with the world. I’m also interested in integrating computational modeling and big data into cognitive development research.

Alejandra Trejo

Alejandra graduated from Boston College in 2015 with a double-major in psychology and communication. After working in roles that focus on relationship-building, within Customer Success as well as development and fundraising for a nonprofit, she has returned to Boston College as a graduate student in the School of Social Work. Alejandra is a Mexican-American native Spanish speaker who is interested in learning more about how immigrant families retain or lose their native language as new generations are raised surrounded by the pressures of assimilation.

Tiwalayo Eisape

Affiliated Graduate Student

I’m a second-year PhD student in the Computational Psycholinguistics Lab at MIT, Brain & Cognitive Sciences where I (1) use computational language models as psycholinguistic hypothesis generators and (2) apply insights from human language processing to make better computational models. Prior to MIT, I was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar in Computer Science at Boston College where I worked with the Language Learning Lab and the Social and Cognitive Computational Neuroscience Lab.

Ning Hua

Affiliated Graduate Student

Ning studied computer science and physics during her time as an undergraduate at Smith College and Harvard College. She will join the Master of Biomedical Informatics program at Harvard Medical School in the Fall of 2021. She is interested in deep learning, data analysis, computational sciences, and machine-aided decision-making.

Mingtong Li

Affiliated Graduate Student

I graduated from Cornell University with an MA in developmental psychology. I’m interested in the mechanisms behind language acquisition, mainly how children associate semantic meanings with words visually and acoustically. I’m also interested in iconicity in language and its cross-linguistic effect on human cognition.

Juliani Vidal

Affiliated Graduate Student

Hello! I'm a second-year Master's student at the University at Buffalo studying data analysis. I previously worked in Professor Hartshorne's lab as an undergraduate and loved it so much, I had to come back! Currently, I am interested in personally learning new methods of statistical analysis with which we can extract more information from our data. Being multilingual, I am also interested in heritage speakers and second language acquisition.

Postbac Students

Wesley Ricketts

I graduated from Boston College in 2019 with a double major in Psychology and Linguistics. I'm interested in research concerning bilingualism, second language acquisition, and language attrition. I am also interested in sociolinguistics.

Co-op Students

Myles Bandel

I am a fourth year at Northeastern University, majoring in linguistics with minors in computer science and Japanese. I'm interested in the language acquisition of children as well as second language acquisition for adults.


Ethan Amato

My name is Ethan Amato and I'm a senior in MCAS majoring in Psychology and minoring in Asian Studies. My research interests include how language is structured (through systems such as syntax, morphology, etc.) and whether that structure grants any insight into how the human mind works. I’m currently working on my Senior Honors Thesis where I aim to analyze how nouns are categorized in languages from all around the world to better understand if humans will innately treat any concepts similarly. I’m looking forward to another semester of research with the fantastic team at L3!

Asher Kang

Asher is a senior at Boston College majoring in Computer Science and Linguistics. His current research uses Machine Learning and corpus data to create predictive models of belief states + sentiments of speakers, and also experiments with unaccusative verbs as instances of syntactic bootstrapping. His future projects will focus on issues of Automatic Speech Recognition and Turkish NLP.

Wenshuo Qin

I am a freshman at Boston College, majoring in neuroscience. I am currently really enjoying cognitive science and am excited to gain more research experience. I like to study language understanding from the perspective of building neural models, and I am very excited to be a part of this amazing team!

Heesu Yun

I am a junior majoring in Psychology BS with a computer science minor. As a multilingual student, I am interested in studying psychological changes due to the acquisition of multiple languages for both kids and adults. I will be working on my senior honor thesis from Fall 2021, researching on the interference of languages with international school students.

Ruoshan Zhou

I’m a sophomore at Boston College and I’m majoring in Psychology and Communication. I’m interested in how people have different thought processes when they speak different languages. I’m also interested in how language acquisition stages differ when people are learning their first and second languages. I really look forward to learning more and gaining research experience with the lab.

External Collaborators

Stefano Anzellotti

Boston College

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

Christopher Erb

Brown University

Tim O'Donnell

McGill University

Martha Palmer

Colorado University, Boulder

Steve Pinker

Harvard University

Emily Prud'hommeaux

Boston College

James Pustejovsky

Brandeis University

Jesse Snedeker

Harvard University

Josh Tenenbaum

Massachusetts Institute of Technology