My name is Tim Rogers and I am a Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My work crosses neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and machine learning to understand how the human brain supports conceptual knowledge and abilities. You can read about it here. I also direct the LUCID graduate training program at UW-Madison, which aims to promote research at the intersection of human and machine learning and teaching.
I grew up in a small town called North Bay, in Ontario, Canada. The park in the middle of town has a defused BoMark missile as its centerpiece to commemorate its role as a Word-War-Three first line of defense. “At least we’ll be the first to go” was our motto back in the cold-war eighties. But it was a nice place to grow up: lots of woods, a large and shallow lake with a pretty waterfront, good schools.
I did undergraduate degrees in Psychology and English Literature at the University of Waterloo, where I worked closely with Phil Bryden and Barb Bulman-Fleming. I learned a lot about behaviour-genetics and lateralisation of function, and published my first two papers, on mouse paw preference. Phil got me interested in neuropsychology, and in understanding the neural and biological basis of cognitive function. Barb taught me just about everything I know about statistics.
In 1995 I went to Carnegie Mellon University, to study for my PhD in Psychology with Jay McClelland. I participated in the graduate training program offered by the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), an interdisciplinary research center operating under the auspices of CMU and the University of Pittsburgh. Between the graduate coursework in the psychology department and the CNBC training program, I learned a considerable amount about neural and computational approaches to the study of cognition. I also got interested in the study of human semantic memory, which was the topic of my dissertation.
I completed my degree in 2000 and moved to England to begin a post doc with Karalyn Patterson at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. The aim was to test some empirical predictions of the model of semantic memory I had developed for my thesis work, in patients with disorders of semantic memory. I intended to stay for a year but it was such a pleasant place to live and work, four years passed before I could blink. In 2004 my wife Beth and I moved to Madison, WI, because it is a nice place to live and has an awesome Psychology Department.
I’m always looking for interested and talented graduate students and, if you are enrolled at UW-Madison, undergraduates to collaborate in the lab.