About Joshua Hartshorne

I am a post-doctoral fellow in the Computational Cognitive Science Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Language can be used to move thoughts between minds, even those separated by considerable distance or time. The speaker takes a thought, packages it up into a series of sounds (or gestures), from which the listener must recover the original thought. This alone would be an impressive feat difficult for science to explain. We must also explain how children learn these procedures.


I work primarily on three case studies: scalar implicature (The inference that 'Some of the students passed the exam' means that not all did), pronoun interpretation (who does 'she' refer to in 'Sally liked Mary because she is nice'?), and verb argument structure (who did what to whom). I use a variety of experimental techniques, including eye-tracking, EEG, and large-scale Web-based testing, and complement experimental work with computational models.

Through the links above, you can access my academic publications, my general-audience writing, my CV, and my Web-based laboratory.