Timothy T. Rogers, Lab Director, Principal Investigator
524 WJ Brogden Hall
Department of Psychology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
tel. (608) 262-0808
fax (608) 262-4279
I am interested in understanding human semantic memory; that is, our knowledge about the meanings of words, objects, and events. Specifically, I would like to understand how semantic knowledge is stored and represented in the mind and brain, how it is acquired throughout development, how semantic tasks are performed by healthy adults and experts, and how semantic knowledge degrades in dementia.
I address these questions using computer models and empirical investigation with healthy and brain-damaged populations. In work with Jay McClelland I have used a simple feed-forward connectionist model to illustrate how the principles of parallel distributed processing (PDP) can make sense of a range of empirical phenomena from the domains of conceptual development, normal and disturbed adult semantic cognition, expertise, and “theory-theory.” This work was published in a book from MIT Press. With Karalyn Patterson at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK, and Matthew Lambon Ralph at the University of Manchester, I have conducted empirical work investigating the breakdown of semantic memory in different neuropsychological disorders. With Cathy Price at the Functional Imaging Lab in London, UK, I have done some funtional imaging work to determine how patterns of brain activation seen in the temporal lobes during semantic tasks might reflect the similarity structure of visual and semantic representations.
Most recently I have been interested to better understand how various methods from machine learning might provide hypotheses about the cognitive and neural bases of knowledge acquisition. Some of this work has involved the development of semi-supervised models of human category learning with Jerry Zhu; and models of active learning, perception, saliency, and network discovery with Rob Nowak and Keith Kluender.