Rachel A. Ryskin

I’m currently a postdoc working with Ted Gibson at MIT and Swathi Kiran at BU. I recently completed my PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I worked primarily with Sarah Brown-Schmidt and Aaron Benjamin.

Broadly, I am interested in how individuals achieve impressively efficient language processing in the face of ambiguity, and the memory representations the underlie this ability. In particular, I’ve examined how people use various sources of information (visuo-spatial perspective, common ground, source memory, distributional learning, etc.) to constrain the interpretation of spoken language. In current work, I’m examining the noisy-channel inferences that allow listeners to decode the intended meaning from input that’s been corrupted by noise (e.g.,when a speaker makes an error) and the mechanisms by which listeners achieve accurate modeling of the noise in their environment.

Before grad school, I received a B.A. in Cognitive Science from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, I studied memory for inaccurate information in text in David Rapp’s lab. I also worked on a project about children’s learning of relational concepts and the role of verbal labels in Dedre Gentner’s lab.

I can be reached by e-mail at: ryskin “at” mit “dot” edu