Elika Bergelson

Elika's Picture

Office: Room 403, Meliora Hall, University of Rochester
Email: myfirstname.mylastname.at.gmail.com
CV (PDF) | Publications for Download

About Me

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Language Sciences, at the University of Rochester Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department, where I'm working with Dr. Richard Aslin. Here, I am beginning a longitudinal study that incorporates at-home video recordings with in-lab experiments, geared specifically at gaining a better understanding of how visual and linguistic experience interact in early word-learning. The key question underlying my research is how infants learn language from the world around them. I'm interested in early semantic development, acquisition of phonology, the interface between them, and cognitive development more broadly. This website may soon change as I transition to Rochester from University of Pennsylvania, where I finished my PhD in July, 2013.

During my PhD, I worked with Dr. Dan Swingley trying to figure out how and when young infants learn the meanings of their very first words, and more generally, how word comprehension and word learning work. What we've found is that around 6 months, infants start showing understanding of words for foods and bodyparts, and that around 10 months they start showing understanding of words like 'uhoh' and 'eat'. For both kinds of words, performance increases dramatically around 13-14 months. In several ongoing eye-tracking, corpus, and teaching studies I am trying to better understand how the word-learning process works, and am most recently interested in trying to tie these findings in with developments in other areas of language acquisition (e.g. phonology), as well as other areas of social and cognitive development (joint attention, mutual exclusivity, etc), in order to better understand the underlying mechanisms at play.

I am happy to send copies of any of our articles upon email request.

Click here to hear a short BBC interview with me about our 2012 PNAS paper.

A short video clip showing an infant's behavior in our PNAS Study
This video is part of the ancillary teaching materials for Erica Hoff's Language Development textbook

Before coming to UPenn I was a Baggett Research Fellow at the University of Maryland Linguistics Department, where I worked with Jeff Lidz, Bill Idsardi, and David Poeppel, using MEG and behavioral measures with adults, and the head turn preference paradigm with infants; some of that work is ongoing. Before that I was an undergraduate at NYU where I studied Language & Mind, Music, and French, and worked under Gary Marcus. My childhood and adolescence were spent in Columbus, Ohio, in a lively household with Russian immigrant parents, 3 sisters and a brother.

Some Shared Research Tools/Resources...Coming Soon and In Progress

Faculty Mentors and Collaborators

Richard Aslin
Dan Swingley
Jeff Lidz
Bill Idsardi
David Poeppel
Gary Marcus

Research Affiliations Past and Present

Rochester Baby Lab
Center for Language Sciences
IRCS
Penn Psych
Penn Infant Language Center
UMD CNL
UMD Project on Children's Language Learning
NYU Center for Child Language
Yeled v'Yalda Research Institute
NSF GRFP
NSF IGERT
Elikorpus-created and maintained by my friend Dave Kush

Things I Care About/Enjoy

Yoga
Local Food: Red Earth Farm  Clark Park Farmer's market  Rochester Public Market
Bicycles
Chamber Music
Blueberries
Kiva
Impact Network
The New Yorker
Helping animals find good homes


Last updated: 09/02/2014