College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Cognitive Science

Department of Cognitive Science

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Language and Cognition Lab

What do we look at?

We are a group of researchers united by an interest in how humans communicate.

 

Where do we look for it?

In language produced during face to face interactions. This includes not just the speech that comes out of people’s mouths or the signs produced by signers, but the gestures people produce, the way people share gaze, and how people use objects in their surrounding space (e.g., using a fork to show how a road is oriented).

In written language. How does written language, ranging from literature to texting, rely on face to face conversation? How is it different? How do people use reading and writing as resources during face to face communication (e.g, talking about an elaborate diagram) or during other communicative situations?

In other places. Lots of language happens in scripted or semi-scripted settings, in front of cameras, in mixed media that combine writing and speech, in virtual environments (e.g., online games), in interactions between humans and non-humans (e.g., computers, robots) and so on. How does the language and behavior in these settings relate to what people do in face to face interactions?

 

Why do we look at it?

Studying these aspects of communication helps us understand how humans think. Understanding thinking is the mission of cognitive science!