Stephan C. Meylan, Ph.D.


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Computational Psycholinguistics Lab (PI: Dr. Roger Levy) in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. From 2018 to 2019, I was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Bergelson Lab (PI: Dr. Elika Bergelson) in the department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, where I still hold a postdoctoral appointment. In 2019, I received an NIH F32 grant to better understand children’s earliest morphosyntactic generalizations (i.e., earliest combinatorial language usage) as a collaboration between the above two labs.

In 2018, I completed my Ph.D. in the Computational Cognitive Science Lab at UC Berkeley (Advisor: Dr. Tom Griffiths), focusing on understanding language learning and language processing with probabilistic models. In my research, I use a combination of computational models, corpus studies, web-based experiments, and in-lab experiments.

My primary research goals are:

  1. To characterize the origins and uses of abstract linguistic knowledge in early development
  2. To understand the error signals available to children for revising linguistic knowledge
  3. To characterize how structural features of natural languages are shaped by pressures from inference, especially learnability and real-time communication

I am particularly interested in how children learn and use so-called “function” or “closed-class” words (articles, pronouns, prepositions, etc.) and inflectional morphology (systematic markings for number, gender, etc.), as well as the role of adult inference in supporting communication between children and adults. See Publications and Projects for more details.