HLP Lab In the news

  • Thinking alike changes how we speak

    As social creatures, we tend to mimic each other’s posture, laughter, and other behaviors, including how we speak. Now a new study shows that people with similar views tend to more closely mirror, or align, each other’s speech patterns. In addition, people who are better at compromising align more closely.

  • The Art of 'Sup

    The tendency toward efficient communication—conveying the maximum amount of information with minimal effort—is so deeply ingrained that it could help explain why similarities are found between unrelated languages and why certain linguistic changes are favored over time.

  • Tongue Twisters Topic of Students’ Studies

    Former University of Rochester students Catie Hilliard ’10 and Katrina Furth ’10 recently saw two research papers written during their undergraduate studies published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition and Frontiers in Psychology. Working with Florian Jaeger, Wilmot Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Furth and Hilliard examined how word choice is affected by phonological overlap, or how the sounds of words affect how we choose them in everyday conversation.

  • Efficient Language

  • Language is shaped by brain’s desire for clarity and ease

    “Our research shows that humans choose to reshape language when the structure is either overly redundant or confusing”, says T. Florian Jaeger, the Wilmot Assistant Professor of the Sciences at Rochester and co-author of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Oct. 15. “This study suggests that we prefer languages that on average convey information efficiently, striking a balance between effort and clarity.”

  • To Be Clear, Brain Tweaks Language

    The brain will occasionally change language in order to make communication as precise and concise as possible, new research shows.

    The findings should come as good news for linguistic purists terrified about the corruption of their mother tongue, say scientists who used an artificial language for their study, which is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Darwin’s tongues: Languages, like genes, can tell evolutionary tales

    Talk is cheap, but scientific value lurks in all that gab. Words cascading out of countless flapping gums contain secrets about the evolution of language that a new breed of researchers plan to expose with statistical tools borrowed from genetics.

  • Two University of Rochester Scientists Awarded Sloan Fellowships

    David McCamant, assistant professor of chemistry, and T. Florian Jaeger, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, have been selected as 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows. McCamant and Jaeger will each receive $50,000 over two years from the Sloan Foundation. They are among 118 scholars chosen for the honor this year.

  • How words get the message across: Languages are adapted to deliver information efficiently and smoothly

    Longer words tend to carry more information, according to research by a team of cognitive scientists. It’s a suggestion that might sound intuitively obvious, until you start to think about it. Why, then, the difference in length between ‘now’ and ‘immediately’?