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.

Graduate Students

Mariela Jennings

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!

Jianru Wang

Second-year Information Systems graduate student at Northeastern, proficient in web development and interested in contributing to open-source projects. Very enthusiastic about learning new things and combining tech with other areas.

Rui Han

I am a second-year masters student at Northeastern majoring in Industrial Engineering and minoring in Data Analytics Engineering. I am interested in front-end web development, data science & machine learning.

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.

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.

Co-op Student

Anna Petti

I am a second-year Linguistics and Cultural Anthropology major at Northeastern University. I am particularly interested in sociolinguistics, especially in the relationship between sociocultural development and language acquisition and cognition.

Senior RA

William Pyle

I am a senior 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.


Tony Chen

I'm a rising senior 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 junior 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.

Everett Kim

I am a rising junior at Boston College studying Applied Psychology and Human Development. Hoping to pursue a career relating to children's health, I am interested in learning how cultural context influences the various aspects to human learning and growth!

Wendy Uelk

Hi! My name is Wendy and I’m a senior majoring in Applied Psych and Human Development and minoring in music. I hope to be a speech pathologist in a couple years, and I love researching what lies at the intersection of language, speech and psychology. I can’t wait to join the lab this summer and be a part of a team that works with just that!

Alejandra Sanchez

My name is Alejandra Sanchez and I am a junior at Boston College majoring in Computer Science and Design. My main interest is in product design and machine learning. In particular, I am interested in understanding and processing human creativity in order to evaluate it and have a machine mimic it; thus rendering a machine “creative.” Fluent in five languages, my love for linguistics has brought me here!

Jocelyn Chan

I am a junior at Boston College studying Psychology and Linguistics. Having grown up in a bilingual environment in Hong Kong, I'm curious about the cross-language transfer that arises from second language acquisition and how it affects children's language development.

Hannah Yoon

Hi! My name is Hannah Yoon, and I'm a freshman majoring in Psychology (B.A.) and minoring in Linguistics. I'm interested in how and why humans develop language skills in specific areas of the brain and how this language acquisition is connected to broader psychological and linguistic concepts. I'm looking forward to joining this amazing team!

Jeff Wang

I'm a sophomore at Boston College studying computer science. I am interested in artificial intelligence and interdisciplinary study. I love to apply deep learning to solve problems in the real world.

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