Principal Investigators:


John Trueswell


Dr. Trueswell received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1993 and is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Penn. His research investigates how adults and children rapidly interpret language in real-time, as it is being perceived.


Lila Gleitman


Dr. Gleitman received the Ph.D in Linguistics from Penn in 1967 and after some years in the Linguistics Dept. at Swarthmore has been a professor of Psychology at Penn (now emerita); she is also a Visiting Professor in Cognitive Science at Rutgers University. With A. Joshi, she was founding Director of IRCS (1980-2000). Her research concerns the mental lexicon and the syntax-semantics interface, language acquisition, and the relation between language and thought.

Current Lab Members: 


Victor Gomes


Victor is a second-year graduate student in Psychology at UPenn who is advised by Professor John Trueswell. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 2017 with a B.A. in cognitive science and psychology. He is interested pragmatics, expressives, negation, and how we learn the meaning of logical operators (e.g., andornot) more broadly. He is passionate about outreach and education, and enjoys reading about narratology and comparative mythology, but in a cool way. He is also the program coordinator for out4STEM, an afterschool program for LGBT+ teens interested in science at the Mütter Museum.


Sandy LaTourrette


Sandy is a postdoctoral fellow. He received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Northwestern University in 2020. His research investigates how we learn words and map them to concrete individuals and abstract concepts, as well as how learning words can shape what we learn about the world. By studying these questions from infancy into adulthood, this research provides insight into the interaction of cognitive development and language acquisition. Outside the lab, Sandy enjoys hiking, musicals, fantasy novels, and Scottish country dancing.


Spencer Caplan


Spencer is a Ph.D student in the Linguistics Department at Penn, and received his B.A. in linguistics and computer science from Brown University. His research lies at the intersection of computation, cognition, and theoretical linguistics with a focus on language acquisition. His recent work in the lab includes computational modeling of word learning and its influence on the lexicon. Outside of academia, Spencer is heavily involved in competitive Ballroom dancing.

Ryan Budnick

Ryan is a Ph.D student in the Penn Linguistics Department, and received his B.A. in linguistics from Princeton University in 2016. He is interested in building formal models of language acquisition and use, and in teasing apart the mechanisms of language change. He enjoys playing the clarinet and saxophone in his free time.


Abimael Hernandez Jimenez


Abimael is the current lab manager for the Language Learning Lab. He graduated with a B.A. in psychology and language science from the University of California, Irvine in 2020. He is interested in pragmatics and cognitive modeling. Outside of academia, he enjoys community outreach, playing chess, and reading.


Monica Do

Monica is a postdoctoral fellow. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the extent to which the language processing system relies on syntactic representations, especially in situations when building those representations can be challenging. In the domain of comprehension, this means she investigates the processing of deprecated or ‘ungrammatical’ sentences. In language production, she investigates the role of syntax in the transition from abstract concepts to linguistic representations.

Alon Hafri

Alon was graduate student in psychology at UPenn. He worked with Drs. John Trueswell & Russell Epstein, and is currently doing a post-doc with Chaz Firestone at Johns Hopkins. His research interests are on the rapid gist extraction and conceptualization of events. He received his B.A. in music from Wesleyan University in 2007. He is an avid soup-maker (ask him about French Onion) and plays music in a band called The Really Cooks.

Alex de Carvalho

Alex was a postdoctoral fellow in our lab, and received his Ph.D. in cognitive sciences from the École Normale Supérieure, Paris – France. He is particularly interested in identifying the mechanisms that young children can use to learn the syntax of their native language and to develop their vocabulary.

Anna Papafragou

Anna is a professor in the departments of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from University College London in 1998. Her main interests lie with language acquisition (especially of semantics and pragmatics) and the interface between linguistic and non-linguistic representations in adults and children.

Charles Yang

Charles is associate professor in the departments of Linguistics, Computer Science, and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT in 2000. His research interests include language acquisition, processing, and change; morphology and the mental lexicon, computational linguistics, and the evolution of language and cognition.