The Human Language Processing (HLP/Jaeger) Lab in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester is looking for PhD researchers to join the lab. Admission is through the PhD program in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences, which offers full five-year scholarship. International applications are welcome.
HLP lab research focuses on language production and comprehension and the interaction between them. We use mathematical frameworks to develop computational models of how the systems underlying language processing and production facilitate robust communication. We employ a variety of approaches to the study of language, including lab- and web-based experiments on spoken and written language, interactive communicative tasks, and corpus-based studies of unscripted conversational speech. This involves research in implicit distributional/statistical learning, adaptation to the statistics of the environments and how we adjust our processing and productions based on recent experience and feedback. Ongoing research involves, but is not limited to, the following projects:
- Speech perception and adaptation. How do we manage to understand each other despite considerable within- and across-speaker variability in the physical realization of the same sounds? Implicit learning, generalization, and representation. For a representative article, see Kleinschmidt and Jaeger (2013). This project is funded by NIHCD R01 HD075797.
- Implicit statistical learning during lexical and sentence processing. We study how comprehenders adjust their expectations based on the statistics of the input during reading and listening. For representative articles, see Fine, Jaeger, Farmer, and Qian (2013) and Jaeger and Snider (2013).
- Communicative efficiency and adaptation during language production. How do speakers learn when they can conserve effort during language production? How do speakers trade-off contextual redundancy/confusability against the intelligibility of the speech signal? Researchers in HLP Lab investigate phonetic (e.g., the realization of sounds contrasts) and syntactic production in unscripted speech. For representative publications, see Jaeger (2010, 2013), Buz and Jaeger (in prep). This project is funded NSF CAREER IIS-1150028.
- How do the above affect language change and the distribution of languags across the world? We use artificial language learning and statistical modeling to understand the extent to which statistical linguistic ‘universals’ originate in biases towards communicative efficient language production. For representative publications, see Fedzechkina, Jaeger, and Newport (2012) and Jaeger, Graff, Pontillo, and Croft (2011)
We are particularly interested in researchers who want to pursue research related to these projects (in a broad interpretation) drawing on both computational and behavioral or imaging data (the latter would be in collaboration with Raj Raizada). You might also find it of interest to look at recent publications from the lab. Other projects include work on phonological, lexical, and sentence production (behavioral, cross-linguistic, understudied languages), and sentence processing.
HLP Lab is part of the Center of Language Sciences – a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary environment. Cross-lab collaborations are the norm (e.g., including collaborations with Michael Tanenhaus, Richard Aslin, Robert Jacobs, Jeff Runner, and Chigusa Kurumada). Other CLS members include Steven Piantadosi, Celese Kidd, Scott Grimm, Brad Mahon, Dan Gildea, James Allen, Len Shubert, Greg Carlson, and Joyce McDonough. Please check out these other language and vision labs in the Brain and Cognitive Science program. Please not that admission to the program is highly competitive. If you have questions, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).