HLP lab

Two post-doc positions available in our lab

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We are searching for two outstanding post-doctoral researchers to join our lab. Both positions offer competitive NIH-level post-doctoral salaries for up to 3 years, an annual travel budget, and moving expenses. The lab has a good record at job placement, with three of the four most recent post-docs now holding tenure-track positions in linguistics or psychology.
  • Project 1: Inference and learning during speech perception and adaptation
  • Project 2: Web-based self-administered speech therapy

Although we mention preferred specializations below, applicants from any fields in the cognitive and language sciences are welcome. While candidates will join an active project, candidates are welcome/encouraged to also develop their own independent research program.  In case of doubt, please contact Florian Jaeger at fjaeger@bcs.rochester.edu, rather than to self-select not to apply.

Interested candidates should contact HLP lab manager Olga Nikolayeva (onikolay@u.rochester.edu) along with:

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What did you read in 2015?

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Another year has passed and academic platform bombard us with end-of-year summaries. So, here are the most-read HLP Lab papers of 2015. Congratulations to Dave Kleinschmidt, who according to ResearchGate leads the 2015 HLP Lab pack with his beautiful paper on the ideal adapter framework for speech perception, adaptation, and generalization. The paper was cited 22 times in the first 6 months of being published! Well deserved, I think … as a completely neutral (and non-ideal) observer ;).

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Most read HLP Lab papers on ResearchGate. Speech perception, syntactic alignment in production, and … typology!

Academia.edu mostly agreed, Read the rest of this entry »

HLP Lab is grinking 2014

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And it’s that time of the year again. Time to take stock. This last year has seen an unusual amount of coming and going. It’s been great to have so many interesting folks visit or spend time in the lab.


  • Masha Fedzechkina defended her thesis, investigation what artificial language learning can tell us about the source of (some) language universals. She started her post-doc at UPenn, where she’s working with John Trueswell and Leila Gleitman. See this earlier post.
  • Ting Qian successfully defended his thesis on learning in a (subjectively) non-stationary world (primarily advised by Dick Aslin and including some work joint with me). His thesis contained such delicious and ingenious contraptions as the Hibachi Grill Process, a generalization of the Chinese Restaurant Process, based on the insight that the order of stimuli often contains information about the structure of the world so that a rational observer should take this information into account (unlike basically all standard Bayesian models of learning). Check out his site for links to papers under review. Ting’s off to start his post-doc with Joe Austerweil at Brown University.

Post-docs Read the rest of this entry »

Congratulations to Dr. Fedzechkina

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Congratulations to Masha (a.k.a Dr. Fedzechkina) for successfully defending her thesis “Communicative Efficiency, Language Learning, and Language Universals“, jointly advised by Lissa Newport (now at Georgetown) and me. Masha’s thesis presents 7 multi-day artificial language learning studies that investigate the extent to which functional pressures guide language learning, thereby leading learners to subtly deviate from the input they receive.

Five of the experiments investigate the trade-off between word order and case-marking as a means of encoding grammatical function assignment. For a preview on these experiments, see the short report in Fedzechkina, Jaeger, and Newport (2011) and this paper under review. Two additional experiments investigate how learners trade-off animacy and case-marking (Fedzechkina, Jaeger, & Newport, 2012). Her most recent studies also show how learners trade-off uncertainty (assessed as the conditional entropy over grammatical function assignments given perfect knowledge of the grammar) and effort.

Assorted characters from Masha’s artificial languages (from her thesis roast shirt)

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Follow HLP lab on the English Zwitscher

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Only a few years (decades?) late, HLP lab is now zwitschering insanely uninteresting things on Twitter. You can follow us and get updates about workshops, classes, papers, code, etc. And you can zwitscher back at us and we can all be merry and follow and comment on each other until our eyes pop out or ears explode. In this spirit: @_hlplab_

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 (kcorser@bcs.rochester.edu), 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 »

A good start to Klinton Bicknell at Northwestern

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A belated congratulations and a good start to Klinton Bicknell, who just started his tenure-track position in Linguistics at Northwestern. To quote his website, his research:

… seeks to understand the remarkable efficiency of language comprehension, using the tools of probability theory and statistical decision theory as explanatory frameworks. My work suggests that we achieve communicative efficiency by utilizing rich, structured probabilistic information about language: leveraging linguistic redundancy to fill in details absent from the perceptual signal, to spend less time processing more frequent material, and to make predictions about language material not yet encountered.

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