Rachel Ryskin


How do humans communicate so effortlessly despite the imperfect nature of language input (e.g., due to speech errors, ambiguities) and the complexity of inferences involved in decoding its meaning (e.g., the speaker’s knowledge state)? I study how individuals achieve impressively efficient language processing in the face of ambiguity, variability, and noise. I combine insights from eye-tracking, EEG, computational approaches, fieldwork, and neuropsychology to understand how people use various sources of information (visuo-spatial perspective, theory of mind, language statistics, etc.) to generate and constrain their linguistic predictions, as well as the learning and memory processes that underpin these representations.

Academic bio

I’m currently an Assistant Professor of Cognitive & Information Sciences at the University of California, Merced. Check out the Language, Interaction, & Cognition (LInC) lab webpage for more details!

Previously, I was a postdoc working with Ev Fedorenko and Ted Gibson in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and Swathi Kiran in Speech, Language, and Hearing Science at Boston University. I got my PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I worked primarily with Sarah Brown-Schmidt and Aaron Benjamin. Before grad school, I got a B.A. in Cognitive Science from Northwestern University, where I studied memory for inaccurate information in text in David Rapp’s lab and how verbal labels help children learn relational concepts in Dedre Gentner’s lab.