For students

Presentation at CNS symposium on “Prediction, adaptation and plasticity of language processing in the adult brain”

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Earlier this week, Dave Kleinschmidt and I gave a presentation as part of a mini-symposium at Cognitive Neuroscience Conference  on “Prediction, adaptation and plasticity of language processing in the adult brain” organized by Gina Kuperberg.  For this symposium we were tasked to address the following questions:

  1. What is prediction and why do we predict?
  2. What is adaptation and why do we adapt?
  3. How do prediction and adaptation relate?

Although we address these questions in the context of language processing, most of our points are pretty general. We aim to provide intuitions about the notions of distribution, prediction, distributional/statistical learning and adaptation. We walked through examples of belief-updating, intentionally keeping our presentation math-free. Perhaps some of the slides are of interest to some of you, so I attached them below. A more in-depth treatment of these questions is also provided in Kleinschmidt & Jaeger (under review, available on request).

Comments welcome. (sorry – some of the slides look strange after importing them and all the animations got lost but I think they are all readable).

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It was great to see these notions discussed and related to ERP, MEG, and fMRI research in the three other presentations of the symposium by Matt Davis, Kara Federmeier and Eddy Wlotko, and Gina Kuperberg. You can read their abstracts following the link to the symposium I included above.

Post-doctoral position available (speech perception, language comprehension, implicit distributional learning, inference under uncertainty, hierarchical predictive systems)

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The Human Language Processing (HLP) Lab at the University of Rochester is looking for a post-doctoral researcher interested in speech perception and adaptation. Possible start dates for this 1-3 year position range from mid August 2014 to mid June 2015 (the current post-doctoral researcher funded under this grant will leave HLP lab in late August to start a tenure-track position in Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh). International students are welcome to apply (NIH research grants are not limited to nationals).

We will start reviewing applications mid-June 2014 though later submissions are welcome. Applications should contain (1) a cover letter clearly indicated possible start dates, (2) a CV, (3) research statement detailing qualifications and research interests, and (4) 2 or more letters of recommendation. Applications and letters should be emailed to Kathy Corser (, subject line “application for post-doc position (HLP Lab)”.

This is an NIH funded project (NIHCD R01 HD075797), currently scheduled to end in 2018. The project is a collaboration between Florian Jaeger (PI), Mike Tanenhaus (co-PI), Robbie Jacobs and Dick Aslin. We are interested in Read the rest of this entry »

Join me at the 15th Texas Linguistic Society conference?

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I’ll be giving a plenary presentation at the 15th Texas Linguistic Society conference to be held in October in Austin, TX. Philippe Schlenker from NYU and David Beaver from Austin will be giving plenaries, too. The special session will be on the “importance of experimental evidence in theories of syntax and semantics, and focus on research that highlights the unique advantages of the experimental environment, as opposed to other sources of data” (from their website). Submit an abstract before May 1st and I see you there.

Updated slides on GLM, GLMM, plyr, etc. available

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Some of you asked for the slides to the Mixed effect regression class I taught at the 2013 LSA Summer Institute in Ann Arbor, MI. The class covered some Generalized Linear Model, Generalized Linear Mixed Models, extensions beyond the linear model, simulation-based approaches to assessing the validity (or power) of your analysis, data summarization and visualization, and reporting of results. The class included slides from Maureen Gillespie, Dave Kleinschmidt, and Judith Degen (see above link). Dave even came by to Ann Arbor and gave his lecture on the awesome power of plyr (and reshape etc.), which I recommend. You might also just browse through them to get an idea of some new libraries (such as Stargazer for quick and nice looking latex tables). There’s also a small example to work through for time series analysis (for beginners).

Almost all slides were created in knitr and latex (very conveniently integrated into RStudio — I know some purists hate it, but comm’on), so that the code on the slides is the code that generated the output on the slides. Feedback welcome.



HLP Lab is looking for graduate researchers

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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.

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HLP lab will be at the LSA 2013 summer institute

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Come join us in Ann Arbor, MI for the 2013 Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America. You can follow the institute on facebook.

Victor Ferreira and I will be organizing a workshop on How the brain accommodates variability in linguistic representations (more on that soonish). I will be teaching a class on regression and mixed models and I am sure a bunch of other folks from the lab will be there, too.



Funding for international collaborations with HLP Lab and other labs at the U of R

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Rochester just joined WUN, a world-wide network of universities, and there a funds for collaborations and research visits to and from Rochester. If this is of interest let me know.

Creating spaghetti plots of eye-tracking data in R

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I’ve been working on consolidating all the different R functions I’ve written over the years for plotting my eye-tracking data and creating just one amazing super-function (based on the ggplot2 package) that can do it all. Here’s a first attempt that anybody with the right kind of dataset should be able to use to create plots like the ones below (generated from fake data. The R code that generates the data is included at the end of the post). If you find this code helpful, please consider acknowledging it via the following URL in your paper/presentation to spread the word:

Left: Empirical means with error bars indicating standard error for four experimental conditions. Contrast presence is coded in color, adjective type in line type. The first vertical line indicates adjective onset, the second ones indicate mean noun onset in each contrast condition. Right: Smoothed model estimates of proportions in each condition, with ribbons indicating 95% confidence intervals. Data from different subjects is plotted in different panels.

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Google scholar now provides detailed citation report

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This might be of interest to some of you: Google Scholar now allows you to correct links or citations to your work. It also provides a complete summary of all your citations, by article, by year, etc. It’s a functionality similar to, but it let’s you remove wrong links to your work (e.g. to old prepublished manuscripts).

The interface is rather convenient since it allows you to import all references from scholar, which is almost 95% correct. Overall, it’s actually much more convenient than (though I’d say it serves a slightly different purpose). It also generates a list of all your co-authors and other schnick-schnack ;). Check it out. Sweet.

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New R resource for ordinary and multilevel regression modeling

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Here’ s what I received from the Center of Multilevel Modeling at Bristol (I haven’t checked it out yet; registration seems to be free but required):

The Centre for Multilevel Modelling is very pleased to announce the addition of
R practicals to our free on-line multilevel modelling course. These give
detailed instructions of how to carry out a range of analyses in R, starting
from multiple regression and progressing through to multilevel modelling of
continuous and binary data using the lmer and glmer functions.

MLwiN and Stata versions of these practicals are already available.
You will need to log on or register onto the course to view these


LSA 2011 class on Computational Psycholinguistics

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Due to popular demand 😉 – you can find the Computational Psycholinguistics class Roger Levy and I are currently teaching at the LSA 2011 institute at Boulder mirrored here.

Celebrating Tom Wasow: A Festschrift

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At this year’s CUNY Sentence Processing Conference, Emily Bender and Jennifer Arnold presented a Festschrift celebrating Thomas Wasow. Here’s what the publisher’s site (CSLI) says (picture taken from the publisher’s website, which is hopefully ok; see the book for copyrights):

This book is a collection of papers on language processing, usage, and grammar, written in honor of Tom Wasow to commemorate his career on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Tom is a professor of linguistics and philosophy. But more accurately, he is a renaissance academic, having done work that connects with many different disciplines, including formal linguistics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, and philosophy. Appropriately, this book reflects the diversity of Tom’s research and interests, including topics from multiple branches of linguistics and human information processing. These papers are written with minimal background assumed, so they can be used as teaching materials for beginning scholars. As such, this volume is a tribute to what is perhaps Tom’s most lasting contribution to the field—the mentorship and inspiration he provided to his students and collaborators, many of whom have contributed to this volume.

The book contains introductory and overview articles on a variety of topics in cognitive science from Emily M. Bender, Dan Flickinger, Stephan Oepen, Ash Asudeh, Peter Sells, Amy Perfors, James Paul Gee, John R. Rickford, T. Florian Jaeger, Jennifer E. Arnold, Harry J. Tily, Neal Snider, John A. Hawkins, and Susanne Riehemann.

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LSA 2011 at Boulder: Yeah!

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Woohooo. Roger Levy and I will be teaching a class on Computational Psycholinguistics at the 2011 LSA’s Linguistics Institute to be held July 5th- August 5th next year in Boulder, CO. The class description should be available through their website soon, but here are some snippets from our proposal: Read the rest of this entry »

CI fellow application for 2010 and onward due soon

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If you’re thinking about joining HLP lab (or other computational labs) for 2010-2011/12 as a post-doc, consider applying to a CI fellowship. It’s highly competitive, but a super sweet deal. Here is what it says about eligibility and funding:

Eligibility. A CIFellow must have completed (or be prepared to complete) all requirements forgraduation from a U.S. Ph.D. program between May 1, 2009, and August 31, 2010. The Ph.D.must be in computer science, computer engineering, information science, or a closely relatedfield. Preference will be given to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, but others will be considered.

Award Size and Duration. We anticipate that awards will be for $75,000 salary for 12 monthswith approximately $25,000 for fringe benefits and a $15,000 allowance for moving, travel, anddiscretionary expenses. Host organizations will receive indirect costs at the 25% rate. The 12-month assignment must begin by November 1, 2010.

Good luck. (regardless of where you apply 😉

Coming up: Mini-WoMM in Montreal

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If you in the Montreal area, consider joining us for a Workshop on Ordinary and Multilevel Models to be held 5/3-4 at McGill and organized by Michael Wagner, Aparna Nadig, and Kris Onishi. The workshop will include the usual intros to linear regression, linear mixed models, logistic regression, and mixed logit models. We will also discuss common issues and solutions to regression modeling. Additionally, we will have a couple of special area lectures/tutorials:

  • Maureen Gillespie (Northeastern) will talk about different ways to code your variables and how that relates to the specific hypotheses you’re testing.
  • Peter Graff (MIT) will give a tutorial on logistic regression, specifically to test linguistic theories. In all likelihood, he will also sing. Which relates to the previous post, because he likes to sing about OT.

So, join us! I think there also will be a party =). Below is the full invitation (some details may change). Read the rest of this entry »