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2015 Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award Presentation

The University of California, Merced Cognitive & Information Sciences Faculty proudly present the

2015 Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award Presentation


Danielle McNamara, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
Senior Scientist, Learning Sciences Institute
Arizona State University

Title: It’s All in Your Words: Information (about You!) that Machine Technologies Can Glean from Language
Date and time : Monday, April 27th, 5:00 – 6:20 PM
Location: California Room, UC Merced

Abstract: We use language to express ourselves across many situations: conversations, emails, reports, chats, blogs, and so on. How much information is in our words? What can machine technologies detect automatically, without human interpretation? What can be gleaned about individuals just from their words? Dr. McNamara will describe how machine technologies provide a wide array of information about our demographics, behaviors, social interactions, personalities, emotions, and even our cognitive processes. Indeed, natural language processing and machine learning techniques can be used to infer personal information and processes in text data, such as emails or text messages, and even deployed in automated tutoring systems. Advances in these techniques present an interesting set of questions and goals for researchers, particularly regarding the accessibility of personal data, as well as the use of these techniques to develop more personalized computer systems for human learning and cognition.

Biography: Prof. McNamara’s work has had a massive influence on our understanding of the cognitive processes involved in comprehension, writing, knowledge acquisition, and memory, and on applying that understanding to educational practice by developing and testing educational technologies. She has published over 200 papers and secured over $10 million in federal funding. Her work has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the McDonnell Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Distinguished Cognitive Scientist Award is bestowed annually by the Cognitive and Information Sciences faculty at the University of California, Merced. It has been sponsored by Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson.