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.

Amir Soltani

I am interested in building computational models for learning and comprehending language by representing language as externalization of the agent's "language of thought" whose role is to establish a link from the agent's inner world to the outside world. This is done via the composition of concepts that reflect an agent's current subjective-objective understanding of the world that partly come from the agent's "attempt" to the physical world through interactions and inferring subjective concepts that explain the world. These concepts are also partly the cumulative knowledge that the agent acquires through its communication with the other agents who have their own subjective-objective understanding of the world.

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.

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.


Tom Dickson

I am a senior studying math and computer science here at Boston College. I am especially interested in statistical methods for extracting meaning from data and the ways in which these methods can be used to forward our understanding of language.

Anushka Fernandes

I am a sophomore at BC from Charleston, South Carolina. I am studying Psychology BS in MCAS on the pre-med track. I am currently in Baby Talk - a course about language acquisition. I am excited to meet new people in the lab and learn new skills through this position.

Judeline Joseph

I am a rising junior majoring in Psychology at Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orleans, Louisana. As someone who is bilingual, I've seen firsthand the impacts of knowing and being able to use many languages and the advantages and even disadvantages it may have. This summer, I look forward to furthering my knowledge of bilingualism and diving into how language is learned and acquired.

Annabel Lee

I am a freshman at Boston College, majoring in Applied Psychology and Human Development. As a bilingual born and raised in China, I understand how language serves as a pathway for understanding and hence am interested in unraveling how multilingualism can shape our experience of the world. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this team and can’t wait to learn from everyone!

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!

Maryanna Valencia

I am a rising third year at the University of Virginia majoring in Speech Communication Disorders and Cognitive Science. In addition to speech and hearing, I am fascinated by bilingual acquisition and am excited to gain more knowledge through a research-based perspective.

Audrey Veator

Hello! My name is Audrey Veator and I am a rising junior studying mathematics and Spanish at the University of Notre Dame. Through my study of the Spanish language, I have become fascinated by the question of whether speaking in different languages with distinct syntactic structures forces us to think and perceive our world differently. I look forward to studying bilingual development in children and exploring the degree to which children raised in a bilingual household may selectively associate certain knowledge with one language in particular.

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

Damián Blasi

Harvard University

Josh de Leeuw

Vassar College

Laura Germine

McClain Hospital

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