Mahesh Srinivasan, Professor

Closed (1) Research on Children's Linguistic and Cognitive Development

Applications for Spring 2018 are now closed for this project.

The goal of this program is to provide a comprehensive, hands-on research experience to highly motivated students, while making valuable contributions to cognitive science.

Our lab's research explores how linguistic, cognitive, and social abilities arise during human development. A central goal of our research is exploring how these different aspects of development interact with one another.

This program is ideal for students who are highly motivated in going to graduate school in psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, or related fields and/or students who are interested in working toward an undergraduate honors thesis.

Students will work closely with the lab manager, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and each other, and will be involved in many facets of the research process.

This will include reading relevant theoretical and empirical papers, assisting with data collection, assisting with stimuli creation and preparation of study materials, recruiting participants, processing or analyzing data. Students may also test participants at schools and/or museums in the Bay Area. Lastly, students will have the opportunity to attend lab meetings and to present on the projects they are assigned.

The outcome of these activities will be an enriched understanding of the core concepts of developmental psychology, cognitive science, language acquisition, and of the scientific method.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Catherine Berner, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: SIX REQUIREMENTS (Please talk about these in your application): 1) Strong interest in language acquisition and/or cognitive development. 2) Have taken coursework in at least two of the following: Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Psychology, Philosophy, or Statistics. 3) Strong attention to detail. 4) Strong organizational skills. 5) Strong communication skills, and a native level of fluency in spoken and written English. 6) Have visited our lab website and read about our research before applying. TIME COMMITMENT: 1) Nine hours of work per week, and a flexible scheduled (since you will need to work a mix of weekday and weekend hours each week). 2) Two semesters of work in the lab. In your application, please specify whether you are able to continue working this fall and/or the following spring or summer. ADDITIONAL PREFERRED SKILLS (Not Required, but if you have them, please talk about these skills in your application): 1) Computer Programming experience (Python, R, Javascript, HTML, etc.). 2) Experience with statistical data analysis. 3) Experience working with children. 4) Experience working with eye tracking technology. 5) Experience doing behavioral coding. 6) Experience with Excel and PowerPoint . 7) Experience working with Qualtrics and/or Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Related website: http://lcdlab.berkeley.edu/

Closed (2) Computational Modeling of Child Language

Applications for Spring 2018 are now closed for this project.

This project explores language development by analyzing linguistic data sources such as databases of child speech, cross-linguistic corpora, historical corpora, etc.
This allows us to ask unique questions about language development such as what language children hear in their environments, what language children produce at different ages, and how different linguistic patterns develop.
For aspects of this project, it would be ideal if applicants were either already proficient or interested in is the design of semi-automated online experiments using platforms like Qualtrics and Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Our student researchers will work closely with the professor, the lab manager, and each other, and will be involved in all facets of the research process, including reading relevant theoretical and empirical papers, identifying relevant language corpora whether the data sources are child speech, cross-linguistic corpora, historical corpora, etc, performing searches of transcripts for target words and grammatical features using a specialized programming language, coding the resulting data for analysis, and analyzing the data.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Yang Xu, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: SIX REQUIRED SKILLS: 1) A strong computational background 2) Extensive programming skills in Python. 3) Experience with natural language processing and/or machine learning. 4) A strong interest in language and cognition. 5) Strong attention to detail. 6) A native understanding of English and familiarity with syntax and grammatical morphology (e.g., verb tense). TWO SEMESTERS REQUIRED: Because we try to engage student researchers in a comprehensive research experience, training often takes up the better part of the semester. For this reason, we are interested in hiring students who are able to commit to more than one semester. In your application, please also specify whether you are able to continue working this fall and/or the following spring or summer. ADDITIONAL PREFERRED SKILLS (NOT REQUIRED): 1) A Linguistics background. 2) Experience with corpus analysis. 3) Experience with distributed semantics or word vector representations.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Related website: http://lcdlab.berkeley.edu/

Closed (3) Trajectories of Linguistic Complexity in Child- and Adult-directed Speech

Applications for Spring 2018 are now closed for this project.

This project explores language development by analyzing linguistic data
sources such as databases of child speech, cross-linguistic corpora,
adult speech corpora, etc.
This allows us to ask unique questions about language development such
as what language children hear in their environments from difference sources,
how that input and children's own production changes over time, and what
that can tell us about the mechanisms of language development.


For aspects of this project, it would be ideal if applicants were either
already proficient or interested in is the design of semi-automated online
experiments using platforms like Qualtrics and Amazon's Mechanical Turk.
Our student researchers will work closely with the graduate student, the lab
manager, and each other, and will be involved in all facets of the research
process, including reading relevant theoretical and empirical papers,
identifying relevant language corpora, performing searches on the corpora
using a specialized programming language, coding the resulting data for analysis,
and analyzing the data.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Ruthe Foushee, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: SEVEN REQUIRED SKILLS: 1) A strong computational background. 2) Extensive programming skills in Python. 3) Experience with natural language processing and/or machine learning. 4) A strong interest in language and cognition. 5) Strong attention to detail. 6) A native understanding of English and familiarity with syntax and grammatical morphology (e.g., verb tense). 7) Comfort with Github and strong code commenting. TWO SEMESTERS REQUIRED: Because we try to engage student researchers in a comprehensive research experience, training often takes up the better part of the semester. For this reason, we are interested in hiring students who are able to commit to more than one semester. In your application, please also specify whether you are able to continue working this fall and/or the following spring or summer. ADDITIONAL PREFERRED SKILLS (NOT REQUIRED): 1) A Linguistics background. 2) Experience with corpus analysis. 3) Experience with MySQL (which the student will otherwise be expected to learn in the course of this research).

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Related website: http://lcdlab.berkeley.edu/

Closed (4) What counts as math? Math Cognition and Learning

Applications for Spring 2018 are now closed for this project.

This project explores children's and adults' conceptions of the field of mathematics via interviews, in-person "games," and online experiments. We're interested in creative ways to capture how individuals think about math, and influences on those ideas.


For this project, applicants should be either already proficient or interested in the design of semi-automated online experiments using Qualtrics and Amazon's Mechanical Turk.
Our student researchers will work closely with two graduate students, one in Developmental Psychology, and one in Cognition, with a focus on Math Learning, and will be involved in all facets of the research
process, including reading relevant theoretical and empirical papers, constructing online experiments, piloting and administering in-person experiments, coming up with data analysis plans, and conducting analyses on the final data.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Ruthe Foushee and Rachel Jansen, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: FIVE REQUIRED SKILLS: 1) A strong computational background. 2) Extensive programming skills in Python or R (preferably using jupyter notebooks). 3) Experience with statistics and/or machine learning. 4) A strong interest in cognitive science or math. 5) Strong attention to detail. TWO SEMESTERS REQUIRED: Because we try to engage student researchers in a comprehensive research experience, training often takes up the better part of the semester. For this reason, we are interested in hiring students who are able to commit to more than one semester. In your application, please also specify whether you are able to continue working this fall and/or the following spring or summer. ADDITIONAL PREFERRED EXPERIENCE (NOT REQUIRED): 1) Experience with children. 2) Having taken "Computational Models of Cognition". 3) Experience with Adobe InDesign, LaTeX, and data visualization.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs