A remarkable feature of human language is that listeners typically have little difficulty inferring what a speaker intends to convey even though much of the relevant information is not encoded explicitly in the utterance. I use behavioral and computational methods to study how listeners settle on an interpretation, given an underspecified utterance. I'm particularly interested in how the more fixed, semantic aspects of utterances interact with contextual information and principles of cooperative communication.
I'm Swiss, and I received my BSc in Cognitive Science from the University of Osnabrück in 2005, my MSc in Cognitive Science from the University of Osnabrück in 2008, and my PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Linguistics from the University of Rochester in 2013.
Very broadly, I'm interested in studying the role of emotions in the context of decision making and how that plays into our intuitive theories of (ourselves and) other people, via computational modeling and behavioral experiments.
I'm also interested in prosociality, social cognition and theory of mind; behavioral and neuro-economics, game theory; artificial intelligence.
There are these things called ideas and some seem clear. And yet communication with natural language — our primary mode of conveying these ideas — is anything but!
I'm interested in this interplay between natural and formal language, between the fuzzy and the sharp. I use computational models and behavioral experiments to explore how logic and language interact.
My primary interests are in social cognition: how do we represent knowledge about one another and reason with that knowledge? What principles and cognitive processes underlie our interactions? How do individuals organize themselves into structured collectives? How do conventions emerge within those structures?
I use an interdisciplinary combination of computational and experimental methods to investigate these questions, including game theory, information theory, artificial intelligence, pragmatics, and traditional cognitive psychology.
I'm interested in language, explanation, and inference. I use computational models and behavioral experiments to study how people communicate to one another their beliefs about the state and causal mechanisms in the world.
I'm interested in problems at the intersection of language and vision. I develop probabilistic and neural network models with the joint objective of explaining human behavioral data and building AI with more human-like representations and capacities.
Was: a post-doc