JHU Cognitive Science News

Apr 02

News from 2013

See below for:

Upcoming events

Update: the Omega Psi talk by Frank Lin, originally scheduled for Apr. 4, has been cancelled. Omega Psi is working on rescheduling it; stay tuned for updates.

Undergraduate Admissions Open House - April 11: The campus will be busy with prospective students on Thursday, April 11th. Mike McCloskey will be holding open house sessions in Krieger 134A between 1 and 2 pm.

Spring Fair 2013 - April 12 - 14: For the schedule of events and other information, visit www.jhuspringfair.com/schedule. Mid-Atlantic

image Conference on Studies in Meaning (MACSIM) - April 13: The Department’s semantics group is hosting a one-day conference on Saturday, April 13th in Gilman Hall. The conference will consist of a combination of speaker presentations and posters, and serves as a forum for graduate students from participating institutions in the mid-Atlantic to present their work. The keynote speaker is Paul Portner (Georgetown University). Registration is open until Apr 5, and a draft schedule has been published. Visit www.macisim.us for more information.

Brown Bag Talks: Several occurrences of this new opportunity to share research among colleagues and peers have already been held in the month of March. The talks are held in Krieger Hall 134A on select Fridays from noon to 1 pm. Participants are encouraged to bring lunch. More detailed information can be found here: http://cogsci.jhu.edu/events/brownbag.html. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Akira Omaki at omaki@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Colloquia: Refreshments served at 3:30pm in Krieger Hall 111. Presentation begins at 3:45pm. Complete details can be found at departmental events page.

Special talk: At 3-4pm on Apr. 3, Tao Gong (Research Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Hong Kong) will be speaking on Coevolution Explanation to Level-difference of Joint Attention between Humans and Nonhuman Apes.  The talk will take place in Krieger 134A.

GBO Deadlines: An email was circulated to graduate students and faculty about deadlines for final graduate board oral exams. To meet the summer deadline, students must defend before July 12th. Please reference www.grad.jhu.edu/academics/gradboard/deadlines for other important GBO deadlines. If you plan to defend before the summer deadline, you should notify ciotola@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Posters & presentations

image Over spring break, Geraldine Legendre gave an invited talk in Mexico City at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México on some of her recent work, titled How abstract is early acquisition of syntax? Comparative evidence from comprehension of Subject-Verb agreement in three languages: English, Spanish, and French.

CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, March 21 - 23, Columbia, SC

Society in Research on Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, April 18 - 20, Seattle, WA

Awards and honors

image Dr. Barbara Landau’s special issue in Cognitive Neuropsychology entitled Understanding Cognitive Development: Approaches from Mind and Brain (volume 29, issues 1-2) was selected for publication in hardback book format in October. The book was published on March 25th.

2013 Linguistic Institute

image Emily Atkinson was awarded a tuition fellowship for the Linguistic Society of America’s 2013 Linguistic Institute at the University of Michigan. The duration of the 2013 Linguistic Institute, June 24 - July 19, will focus on on universality and variability.

In addition, several departmental affiliates will be teaching at the Linguistic Institute. Dr. Jason Eisner will be teaching a course on computational linguistics at the Linguistic Institute as the NAACL professor, one of six named professorships. Alum John Hale (PhD 2003) will be teaching a course on Computational Psycholinguistics.

Do you have some news related to the Department of Cognitive Science? Email editors Sarah Ciotola and Kyle Rawlins at news@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Mar 08

Winter 2012-2013 News

Since the last department news issue, quite a bit has happened. 

See below for:

General announcements

Workshop on OT Syntax & Semantics a Success!  On Nov. 9-10 the Department hosted a workshop on Advances in Optimality Theory: Syntax & Semantics. The program featured 14 talks by both senior and junior linguists from all over the world.

The conference was a huge success with thanks in particular to the organizing committee, Dr. Géraldine Legendre, Dr. Mike Putnam (Penn State), and a great team of JHU graduate students: Emily Atkinson, Charley Beller, Eleanor Chodroff, Katrina Ferrara, Lisa Hsin, Mike Oliver, and Erin Zaroukian.

The workshop ended with a quintessential Baltimore experience — a crab feast at a local crab house.

The JHU group is actively working on a new webpage dedicated to sharing news on OT Syntax & Semantics.

Upcoming events

Prospective graduate student visiting day: The department will be holding its annual recruitment event on Mar 7-8. Twelve prospective students will be visiting with us over the period of 2 days to meet with our faculty and current graduate students. If you have not marked your calendars already, please do so. It will be a busy, busy couple of days and everyone will play a part!

Brown bag talks: A new avenue for sharing presentations within the Department of Cognitive Science is being launch this spring. Faculty and students will informally present and discuss research projects. The goal is to increase understanding of the research material as well as foster interdisciplinary learning. On the below dates, the talks will be held in Krieger Hall 134A on Fridays from 12pm to 1pm. Feel free to bring your own lunch. More detailed information can be found here: http://cogsci.jhu.edu/events/brownbag.html. If you have any questions, please contact the organizer, Dr. Akira Omaki at omaki@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Upcoming colloquia: Refreshments served at 3:30pm in Krieger Hall 111. Presentation begins at 3:45pm. Complete details can be found at the departmental events page.

Conference presentations etc.

We had strong representation at the BU Conference on Language Development in November:

imageThe semantics lab had a poster at the LSA annual meeting in January (right: grad student Charley Beller presents the poster).

Teresa Schubert and David Rothlein presented a poster at the 31st European Workshop on Cognitive Neuropsychology in Bressanone this January. It won the Best Student Poster award!

Congratulations to Teresa and David! The award-winning poster can be found on the first floor next to the small classroom.

Honors and publications

Congratulations to both Özge Fischer-Baum and Lilia Rissman, who defended their dissertations in December and February respectively, and will both graduate this spring. Özge’s dissertation was entitled Development of lexical and syntactic representations: The Acquisition of symmetrical and asymmetrical verbs. Lilia’s dissertation was on Event participant representations and the instrumental role: A Cross-linguistic study.


Özge is now a Lecturer in the psychology department at Rice University, and Lilia will soon leave us for a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago, in the Goldin-Meadow lab. Congratulations, Dr. Fischer Baum and Dr. Rissman!

Recent publications:

imageBarbara Landau’s book, Spatial Representation: from gene to mind, co-authored with James Hoffman, has appeared. Right: Dr. Landau cutting the celebratory cake at the department party in November.

Lilia Rissman reports that her paper was accepted by Language Learning and Development. The paper has appeared online and can be found at this link.

Kyle Rawlins reports that a paper of his has recently appeared in Linguistics and Philosophy.

In January 2013, Dr. Akira Omaki taught a 1-week course on “Child sentence processing: Implications for theories of sentence processing and language acquisition” at the Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics (LOT) Winter School 2013, hosted by the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, a research institute and graduate school of LOT.

Do you have some news related to the Department of Cognitive Science? Email editors Sarah Ciotola and Kyle Rawlins at news@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Nov 06

October 2012 news

October contains awards, exciting upcoming workshops and talks, and more.  See below for:

General announcements

Oktoberfest: A big thank you to the department administrators who planned the Oktoberfest event on October 26th: Peggy MacKenzie, Eric Potter and Rebecca Swisdack. Professor Gregory Ball , vice dean of science and research, spoke on good work and academic fellowship of the three programs/departments represented at the event. Oktoberfest was a great success and we hope to continue the camaraderie between the Department of Cognitive Science, Mind/Brain Institute, and Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at future collaborative events.

Let’s talk about aphasia: The honor societies Omega Psi, Nu Rho Psi, and Psi Chi and their respective departments invited Denise McCall, Program Director for the Snyder Center for Aphasia Life Enhancement (SCALE), to speak to our undergraduates about aphasia SCALE - a disorder caused by brain injury which impairs the ability to speak, read, and write. Over 115 undergraduates attended the event. SCALE is recruiting student volunteers for a large fundraising event on December 10th, An Evening with Captain Mark Kelly, at Beth El Congregation. About 21 students signed up so far to volunteer for SCALE in some capacity. The Department of Cognitive Science is a sponsor for the December 10th event and encourages you to share the event information with those that wish to support SCALE’s efforts. Tickets are on sale now!

Upcoming events

Upcoming OT workshop, Nov 9-10 The Department of Cognitive Science is hosting a workshop entitled “Optimality Theory: Syntax and Semantics” starting on November 9th. For more information and the workshop’s schedule of events, visit the workshop’s website. Registration is free.

Upcoming colloquia: On the dates listed, refreshments will be served at 3:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 3:45 p.m. in Krieger Hall 111. Please note that these dates may be subject to change. As always, keep up to date with colloquia on our departmental events page.

Charles Yang’s colloquium, originally scheduled for 11/29, has been rescheduled to the spring.

Thanksgiving break, Nov 21-23: The Homewood campus will be closed for thanksgiving.

Interdisciplinary Talk, Nov 28 : At 4 p.m. in 110 Hodson Hall, Dr. Daniel C. Dennett, Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Science at Tuft’s University, will be presenting on “What Does Cognitive Science Have to Tell Us About Free Will and Responsibility?” with a reception to follow. This event is hosted by the Department of Cognitive Science, Department of Philosophy, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and the Mind/Brain Institute. See the flyer and abstract at this link (PDF).

Conference presentations etc.

Society for Neuroscience Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 13-17:

BU Conference on Language Development, Boston University, November 2 - 4.

Honors and publications

LSA logoThe Linguistic Society of America (LSA) Award Committee bestowed Dr. Colin Wilson and his co-author (Dr. Bruce Hayes, UCLA) of Maxent Grammars for the Metrics of Shakespeare and Milton with the 2013 Best Paper in Language Award. The article will be found in The Journal of the Linguistic Society of America’s 88th volume, and the project page with preprint version is available here. The award will be presented at the next annual LSA meeting in Boston, MA, January 2013.

journal coverDr Barbara Landau had the honor of editing a special issue of Cognitive Neuropsychology. Her introduction is entitled Understanding Cognitive Development Approaches from Mind and Brain (Cognitive Neuropsychology, Vol. 29:1 - 2, 2012, 1-6).

Do you have some news related to the Department of Cognitive Science? Email editors Sarah Ciotola and Kyle Rawlins at news@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Oct 05

September 2012 news

Many exciting things are happening so far this semester.  See below for:

Upcoming events

Updated: the SCALE presentation will take place in Bloomberg 272.

SCALE presentation: On October 23, 2012 at 6 p.m., Judi Snyder, Center Services Coordinator for the Snyder Center for Aphasia Life Enhancement (SCALE), will be speaking to students about her organization. SCALE is an aphasia support and community center that promotes aphasia awareness and provides a multitude of services to individuals with this communication disorder. SCALE welcomes student volunteers and interns to participate in their organization’s mission. For example, in December, SCALE is hosting a large event at Goucher College for which there is a great need of volunteers. JHU students are being asked to consider volunteering to help at this event.

The location on JHU’s campus for the event on October 23rd is Bloomberg 272. The cognitive science honor society, Omega Psi, along with Nu Rho Psi and Psi Chi are hosting this event with support from the Departments of Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Psychological and Brain Sciences.

Octoberfest: On October 26th, 3pm - 5pm, the Departments of Cognitive Science and Psychological and Brain Sciences along with the Mind Brain Institute are holding a social event in the Glass Pavilion to promote fellowship among our three areas. Stop by for food, beer, music, and friends!

Upcoming colloquia: On the dates listed, refreshments will be served at 3:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 3:45 p.m. in Krieger Hall 111. Please note that these dates may be subject to change. As always, keep up to date with colloquia on our departmental events page.

Conferences etc.

AMLaP 2012: Lisa Hsin, Geraldine Legendre, and Akira Omaki: Priming cross-linguistic interference in bilingual children. (poster)

Tufts Cognitive Science Conference on “Language and Representation”: Paul Smolensky was an invited speaker, presenting joint work with alum Matt Goldrick (JHU PhD ‘02) on “Computation on gradient symbols.”

NELS 2012 at CUNY: Erin Zaroukian will have a poster on “(Just) about: An analysis”. (poster)

We are extremely well represented at the Annual meeting of the academy of aphasia in San Francisco (let us know if we missed anyone):


journal coverDr. Brenda Rapp recently edited a special issue on “Case Series in Cognitive Neuropsychology” for the Journal of Cognitive Neuropsychology. Both Dr. Rapp and alum Matt Goldrick (PhD ‘02)) have papers published in this special issue:

book coverDr. Barbara Landau’s book, Spatial Representation: From Gene to Mind, is hot off the press! It was published as a part of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience series by the Oxford University Press.

Dr. Paul Smolenksy, alum Dr. Jennifer Culbertson (PhD ‘10), and Dr. Geraldine Legendre have recently appeared in several publications.

Do you have some news related to the Department of Cognitive Science? Email Kyle Rawlins and Sarah Ciotola at news@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Sep 04

Summer 2012 news and updates


The Department of Cognitive Science extends a warm welcome to our four new graduate students in the Ph.D. program: Esther Chung, Eleanore Chodroff, Miles Hatfield, and Robert Wiley.

Congratulations!  Jobs, awards, etc:

Upcoming events

2012-13 Colloquia: A schedule for this fall’s colloquium dates and speakers has been announced. On the days listed refreshments will be served at 3:30 p.m. and the presentation will start at 3:45 p.m. in room 111 Krieger Hall. Please note that dates are subject to change, and future speakers may be announced. The current schedule can always be found here: http://cogsci.jhu.edu/events/

Fall Workshop:

The Department of Cognitive Science will be holding a workshop entitled Advances in Optimality Theory: Syntax and Semantics on November 9th-10th in Krieger Hall. Dr. Geraldine Legendre along with Dr. Mike Putnam (Penn State) will be spearheading the coordination of this event. The abstract deadline for those interested in presenting posters or contributed talks is September 10th to jhuot2012@cogsci.jhu.edu.  More information on the workshop’s website.

Omega Psi (the Cognitive Science Undergraduate Society) will have its first meeting of the year on Sep. 6th at 7pm, in Krieger 134A.

Presentations & publications

book cover Dr. Barbara Landau’s new book, Spatial Representation: from Gene to Mind, co-authored with James E. Hoffman, and published by Oxford University Press, will soon be available.  More information: OUP page, Language and Cognition lab page.

Graduate student Lisa Hsin presented a poster at the International Workshop on Language Production (IWOLP ’12) in New York, NY, July 18th – 20th. Lisa presented her join findings with Dr. Akira Omaki on “Context and constructions: Cross-linguistic influence in bilingual preschoolers” at this workshop hosted by the Departments of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Linguistics and Psychology at New York University.

Dr. Paul Smolensky was an invited speaker at the Turing Centenary Conference in Cambridge this June, presenting on “Subsymbolic computation theory for the human intuitive processor”.

Dr. Omaki’s Language Processing and Development (LAPD) Lab is represented at two upcoming and recent conferences.

In Paris, France at Sinn und Bedeutung 17 in September, Erin Zaroukian will present a poster on “Not all have-clauses are alike”, co-authored with fellow graduate student Charley Beller.

Edited by Sarah Ciotola and Kyle Rawlins. Please send news items and updates to the editors at news@cogsci.jhu.edu.

Sep 27

Puzzles of the Brain: An Artist’s Journey through Amnesia

The collaborative exhibit between the Walters Art Museum and the JHU Cognitive Science department, Puzzles of the Brain: An Artist’s Journey through Amnesia, has opened!  The exhibit runs through Dec. 11; the exhibit webpage is here.  The show tells the story of Lonni Sue Johnson, an accomplished artist who suffered severe brain damage to the hippocampus and left temporal lobe and consequent amnesia, and the recovery art she produced during intensive art therapy.

On October 2, from 2:00-3:30pm. there will be a public program at the Walters, featuring a talk on the on-going science of this project (given by Mike McCloskey) and an interview by Gary Vikan (Director of the Museum) with the artist’s mother, Margaret Kennard Johnson (an artist herself who directed the therapy).  Please join us!

More about the exhibit

See the JHU produced video featuring faculty members Barbara Landau and Mike McCloskey, and listen to them explain the scientific background. The JHU press release.

Press coverage

Aug 27

The semester begins

Welcome to Fall semester 2011, and to the new CogSci news and announcements blog!  We’ll be regularly posting updates related to the department here.

For this first issue, we have plenty of news, including: more information about the website and this blog, details about the upcoming collaborative exhibit between CogSci and the Walters Art Museum, a welcome to our new faculty members and graduate students, a congratulations to Colin Wilson on his recently awarded NSF grant (collaborative with alum Lisa Davidson), upcoming events and talks by department members, and more!

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