Experimental Cognition Laboratory

We are a new cognitive science research laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley led by Bill Thompson. You can reach us at ecl-ucb@berkeley.edu

Research Summary

A deeper understanding of cognition has the potential to transform society. At the Experimental Cognition Laboratory, we conduct basic interdisciplinary research in computational cognitive science. We study the cognitive algorithms that allow people to make discoveries, learn from others, communicate knowledge creatively, and reason about each other’s minds. The goal of our research is to better incorporate the richness of human social interaction into computational theories of intelligence and emerging technologies.

Our approach integrates perspectives from psychology, computer science, linguistics, and cultural evolution, with a focus on the development of methods that combine advances in machine learning with large-scale behavioral data. We are committed to the development of knowledge that benefits society and contributes to the challenge of addressing collective action problems such as the climate crisis and ethical integration of artificial intelligence into society. If you are interested in joining or visiting the lab, please get in touch at ecl-ucb@berkeley.edu.

Selected Publications

Thompson, B., van Opheusden, B., Sumers, T., & Griffiths, T. L. (2022). Complex cognitive algorithms preserved by selective social learning in experimental populations. Science, 376(6588), 95-98.
[read the Science Magazine Commentary by Prof. Joe Heinrich]

Thompson, B., Roberts, S. G., & Lupyan, G. (2020). Cultural influences on word meanings revealed through large-scale semantic alignment. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(10), 1029-1038.
[hear about this paper on the Many minds podcast]

Hardy, M.*, Thompson, B.*, Krafft, P.M., Griffiths, T.L. (preprint). Bias amplification in experimental social networks is reduced by resampling. Arxiv preprint arXiv:2208.07261

Full Publication List

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