New preprint: "Understanding the role of linguistic distributional knowledge in cognition"

I have recently submitted a paper based on some work I have been doing at my job at the Embodied Cognition Lab at Lancaster University. In it, we look at a large set of linguistic distributional models commonly used in cognitive psychology, evaluating each on a benchmark behavioural dataset.

Linguistic distributional models are computer models of knowledge, which learn representations of words and their associations from statistical regularities in huge collections of natural language text, such as databases of TV subtitles. The idea is that, just like people, these algorithms can learn something about the meanings of words by only observing how they are used, rather than through direct experience of their referents. To the degree that they do, they can then be used to model the kind of knowledge which people could gain in the same way. These models can be made to perform various tasks which rely on language, or predict how humans will perform these tasks under experimental conditions, and in this way we can evaluate them as models of human semantic memory.

We show, perhaps unsurprisingly*, that different kinds of models are better or worse at capturing different aspects of human semantic processes.

A preprint of the report is available on Psyarxiv.


*unsurprising to you as you read this, perhaps, but actually this is the largest systematic comparison of models as-yet undertaken, and thereby the first to actually effectively weigh the evidence on this question.

New(ish) paper: "Entrainment to the CIECAM02 and CIELAB colour appearance models in the human cortex"

Not so long ago I had a paper published in Vision Research.  It's on some work I did some years ago with my friend and collaborator Andrew Thwaites.  In it we look at the entrainment of magnetoencephalographic activity in early visual cortex to colour information in visual stimulus using two competing computational models of colour.  In other words, when and where people's brainwaves directly track the colour of moving images they were seeing on a screen, using two theories about how colour could be represented in the brain.

The paper is in Elsevier's "open archive", which hopefully means you can read it for free.  If not, hit me up.

I don't talk about my work too much here, but if you're interested you can read more about what I do on my more professional website.

Podcast Viewer

I made a tool to convert a podcast's RSS feed into a webpage on which episodes can be easily streamed.

When you visit the page, you'll see a box in which to paste the RSS feed's URL:

A screenshot of the page you see when you visit http://podviewer.cai.zone/

Stick in a feed's RSS URL, and you get all available episodes in a list, reverse chronologically by release date:

A screenshot of an example page: http://podviewer.cai.zone/index.php?feed=https%253A%252F%252Fstcynic.podbean.com%252Ffeed%252F

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