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Affiliated Labs and Research Groups

Labs affiliated with Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS) are the: 

Research groups affiliated with RuCCS:

Learning

The study of learning and conceptual change at Rutgers ranges across disciplines—computer science, lingusitics, psychology and philosophy—and levels of analysis—the molecular, cellular, behavioral, and computational. Work in the different disciplines and at the different levels of analysis is integrated by a shared concern for the questions of domain specificity and initial data representations. The first question concerns the interplay between learning mechanisms tailored to particular learning problems (for example, learning language, or learning spatial layouts) and learning mechanisms that operate without regard to the structure of the material to be learned (for example, associative learning mechanisms). The second question focuses on the problem of choosing an initial representation of experience that facilitates the development of a more economical and effective representation as more experience is gained. The problem of the learner's initial representation is central to language learning, to the success or failure of many machine learning algorithms, and to the ability of many animals to extract from their experience a representation of the temporal and spatial structure of their environment.


Several labs at Rutgers pursue research on learning at the neurobiological level: Randy Gallistel (Psychology), Louis Matzel (Psychology), Tim Otto (Psychology), Tracey Shors (Psychology), Gleb Shumyatsky (Molecular Genetics), Mark West (Psychology). These labs combine the behavioral level of analysis with electrophysiological, anatomical, and molecular levels of analysis.

Issues in the learning of language promote interaction between another large group of cognitive scientists at Rutgers : Mark Baker, Jerry Fodor, Lila Gleitman, Rochel Gelman, Alvin Goldman, Jane Grimshaw, Ernie Lepore, Alan Prince, Steve Stich, Karin StromswoldKrysten Syrett and Bruce Tesar.

Concept learning is studied both experimentally (Jacob Feldman's, Alan Leslie, Rochel Gelman) and from a formal and philosophical perspective (Jerry Fodor, Ernie Lepore, Alvin Goldman). Within this group, there are cross-laboratory focii on the learning of numerical concepts, the distinction between the living and non-living (animacy), and the emergence of a theory of mind (intentionality).

Development

From its start, RuCCS has been committed to bringing together researchers across the core disciplines of cognitive science to investigate cognitive and linguistic development, and the nature of our early representations. In doing so, we seek to identify universals, the foundations of more complex representations, how the process of acquisition and learning unfolds, and a baseline against which we can make comparisons for developmental variation. The below core RuCCS faculty represent research in Development.

 

Affiliated Labs and Research Groups:

 

Meet Our Core Faculty:

Mind, Machines & Computation

A main area of focus in cognitive science is on fundamental research concerned with understanding the nature of the cognitive processor -- of the architecture of the mind. This research, which involves both theoretical and empirical studies, is concerned with such issues as the processor's resource limits, its memory structures, the forms of representation(s) it uses, the basic operations it makes available, the discipline of sequential and/or parallel execution it permits, restrictions on interprocess communication, decomposition of the processors into modular components, and so on. These are all questions that concern the architecture of the cognitive processor, including its perceptual, memory, reasoning, and motor control capacities.

 

Affiliated Labs and Research Groups:

 

Meet Our Core Faculty:

Language

RuCCS has a long and distinguished tradition of bringing together researchers of language across  the disciplines of cognitive science to systematically and scientifically investigate fundamental questions about language, such as:

  • What structures and patterns underlie linguistic competence and conversational exchanges between speakers and hearers?
  • How is language acquired and processed by various populations?
  • How is language mentally represented?
  • What are cross-linguistic universals, and how do we account for cross-linguistic diversity?
  • How are linguistic and cognitive development connected?
  • How do the sub-areas of linguistics (syntax, semantics, pragmatics, phonology) interact in linguistic comprehension and production?
  • How does language change, and how have linguistic capacities evolved?
  • What are the domain-specific and domain-general mechanisms at work in language?
  • What are the societal, clinical, educational, and technological applications of language research?

Language researchers at RuCCS are highly regarded at Rutgers and in the broader scholarly community. They actively present and widely publish cutting-edge language research, advise and professionally mentor students within and across departments, organize local and (inter)national workshops and conferences, and regularly advocate for public outreach and engagement related to language.

 

Affiliated Labs and Research Groups

 

Meet Our Core Faculty: