MICHAEL RAMSCAR (fearless leader, intrepid seven year old)
Ramscar claims concepts, metaphor, analogy, language learning and processing, and all manner of mental representations amongst his interests. A big fan of the musical theatre of Rescorla and Wagner, Ramscar can be found most afternoons in his office drinking tea and mumbling about prediction. Verdict: should get out more.
DAN YARLETT (graduate student, sage)
Yarlett tells us he is interested in language modeling, as well as reasoning, similarity, categorization, and induction. Formerly a philosopher (Wittgenstein was a close personal friend) Dan recently underwent a spiritual and intellectual conversion and now communicates only via matlab scripts or in formal mathematical notation. This appears to have brought him an inner peace. To the extent that we could understand it, it seems his last communque reported that he was “more zen than a dalai full of llamas.”
ADAM NOVEMBER (injury-prone centre-forward, graduate student)
A native of Florida, Adam joined the lab in a complex transfer deal from Cornell, where he was revered for his heading ability and willingness to shoot from outside of the box. A series of freak yachting injuries have restricted his appearances in the lab to date, but the news from the physio seems promising, and we hope to see him back on the park, running over defenders and pushing back the frontiers of science soon.
ASHA HALIMA SMITH (graduate student, style guru)
A graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, Asha brings to the lab a sense of irony unmatched even by our valiant crew of Englishmen. A star anywhere in defense, when not on the pitch, Asha can be found at the lab asking funny questions about funny pictures. If you are in any way bilingual, she asks you to get in touch.
NICOLAS DAVIDENKO (doctor, mindreader)
Nick does work on face perception. He can parameterize your face and use those parameters to make a caricature of you, or make your face look more average. Or he can make predictions about how attractive or how strange-looking the general population will find you. Nick somehow overcame the inherent obstacles of incarceration in the lab and achieved his PhD. He has now fled to the upper parts of Jordan Hall, where informs us that he’s currently working on a neurological development of his work that will allow him to read your thoughts. Be afraid.
HANNA MUENKE (graduate student, gaze follower)
After college, Hanna escaped from the Cornell winters, preferring the hiking weather in the Bay Area, and has moved on from studying babies, eye gaze and body movement, to just focusing on the first two. She hides out among the special cameras on the 2nd floor, but can occasionally be found discussing prediction error on the 3rd floor. She encourages readers to turn her accidental green-screen bio picture (courtesy of a photographer who missed his actual subject, a big green dinosaur) to something more exciting.
MELODY DYE (lab management, no fixed abode)
Melody was first admitted to the lab under the charitable auspices of our philosophical amnesty program. Having successfully completed her epistemological detox, metaphysical reprogramming, and ritual hazing, the stage was all set for her to make a useful career for herself in science. Instead she changed her name to “heidi” and moved to l.a. to pursue a life of blondeness. The lab elders were so confused by this seemingly random manouvre that they immediately moved to give her control of the entire organization. Melody has taken to her new role as “lab manager” like a duck to water, and can usually be found out on the tennis courts or at home baking up a storm. In those few moments left to her after a busy day of remotely overseeing a small research empire, she runs a full time news agency and photoediting service.
MICHAEL C. FRANK (coterm/lab coordinator/generalized slave to the Lab)
Mike just finished majoring in Symbolic Systems and Comparative Literature and now is serving as Scott Johnson’s Lab Manager at NYU. He’s interested in how mental representation works, how language develops, and also the French Revolution. Right now, he’s working on studies about candles, hammers, and doors, and an alien race called Fribbles. Mike tends spends his weekends in strange ways (attached to pieces of rock by the waist or freezing in the snow, for instance).
KATIE DENNY (lab management clone, somnambulist)
Katie graduated from Stanford with a degree in psychology and a black belt in sleeping. In her other life, she used to “ball” for the Harlem Globetrotters. Researchwise, Katie seems strangely fascinated by oblong shapes. She once killed a man in an honor duel.
NICOLE GITCHO (lab co-manager, closet ninja)
Nicole makes things happen; if you fall into her favor, she might give you some hard candies, or better still, money. Beides being our resident neuro-buff, Nicole is also a world-class belly dancer and seamstress. Little known fact: Nicole was the bride of George Michael before she wisened up.
FIONA O’DONNELL-MCCARTHY (undergraduate, mogul)
Fiona is a junior majoring in human biology and aquatics. Her interests include brain surgery, celticiscm, recidivism, capitalism and creating photographic portraits of bottles. When not sidelined by the occasional bans she picks up for her on-field hedonism, Fiona can be found shaking the water out of her ears, trying to overcome her fear of fMRI machines, discoursing on energy circles, convening focus groups of 2 year olds to hone future lab products, and quietly pursuing her plans for world domination.
RODDY LINDSAY (solitary confinement, entrepaneur)
Roddy majored in Symbolic Systems. He enjoys all Macromedia products, and “modeling” things. Having signed for another season with team Ramscar to look at statistical language modeling, Roddy was the target of a mid season transfer bid from those crazy guys at Facebook, where he now correlates words and stalks us all professionally.
JOEY KLEIN (master, horticulturalist)
Joey is a man of many talents: a child of science and a son of the soil. He is as equaly adept at plowing fields (operating under the alias “Joseph”) as he is taking the elevator to the second floor. His fascinations include NSTL FLPZ, the magic schoolbus, maidos and the waiting room couch. Were this not enough, Joey is also pursuing a career in the creative arts, and has already managed to land speaking parts in a number of boring dreams.
BEN HERSH (undergraduate, philosonomer)
Ben claims that his initial introduction to the lab came about as the result of a spiritual conversion. Yep. That’s what he told us. Fact is, this story didn’t wash with the lab elders, who know a philosopher when they see one. Ben was immidiatley prescribed a Nietscheless diet and the usual detox and reprogramming, and in what seems like no time at all he has settled into a useful and productive life in science. His interests include taxonomy, philosophical song and dance shows and electrical engineering. Will probably threaten your stereotype. May have an incurable styrofoam fetish.
ANDREW SUCIU (undergraduate, puppeteer)
Andrew was recently inducted into the lab in secrecy. As well as taking a gazzillion classes, cooking up a storm and blazing an epicurean trail across the planet, Andrew has taken a few moments out of his busy schedule to drop by and create motion picture miracles in the cause of helping children learn words like ‘cat’ and ‘cactus’ and ‘chateau margaux’. A child prodidgy and all round good egg, Andrew still owes us an explanation for the cotton candy scene.
JUSTINE KAO (undergraduate, converse model)
Justine is a sophomore majoring in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Cognitive Science. She’s interested in languages, the mind, creative writing, literature, and DOGS. She especially loves her little West Highland White Terrier, Yogurt, who is happily living with her family in Taiwan.
ARIEL JAMES (undergraduate, aliens expert)
Ariel accidentally walked into Prof. Ramscar’s office while looking for the bathroom and decided to stay when she realized he shares her taste in shoes. If she keeps her ear to the grindstone, she will graduate in 2011, either with a major in Psychology or Extraterrestrial Agriculture, and a minor in Snacks. More often than yacht, you’ll see her wearing too many jackets or pulling leaves out of her hair.
ROB RYAN (undergraduate, poet laureate)
Rob Ryan is not really that interesting (or so he claims). In his spare time, which he has entirely too much of, Rob hangs out with the Spoken Word Collective and fears the future. He hails from a small hamlet (is that still a word?) north of Baltimore, Maryland. No, you’ve never heard of it. He loves Bill Bryson, playing with things that go “beep”, and barely staying abreast of whatever he’s learning in class. Major-wise, Rob is for sale, and looking for a concentration that enjoys poetry, linguistics, and long walks to the Dish. His research interests are vague and shammish, and he only thinks two things with any regularity:
1. Michael Ramscar talks very quickly
2. Rob Ryan is a very small fish in a very large pond.
CHRISTINE TRAN (undergraduate, delayer of gratification)
Christine is a Junior majoring in Human Biology. She is doing her Honors thesis with Ramscar, looking at delay of gratification in children. Outside of the lab, she is a part of the Stanford Vietnamese Student Association, Henry’s Place and Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority.
ED SUH (undergraduate, hamster hugger)
Edward is a coterm in Computer Science with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence. He was brainwashed into doing psychology research after taking Ramscar’s Psych 205 class. Ed is currently working on perfecting ways of teaching perfect pitch, which has so far met with great success on his stuffed hamster. He is secretly known around the lab as the “prodigy RA,” for designing and programming a study in less than three weeks. The other RAs cower where he walks… o_O
LINDA DIANA RUIZ (undergraduate, sometime Tarzan)
Linda is an undergrad Psych major. When not studying or doing homework, her favorite things to do are read, run, bike, generally be outside and watch BBC Nature Documentaries. She’s what you’d call a nature nerd, though she does wish she had more practical experience in vine swinging and tree climbing– Tarzan is her role model. Her goal is to one day “run around the world with her hubby” (no joke!).
CASSIDY VUONG (undergraduate, go-to girl)
Cassidy is a senior majoring in Psychology and hoping to attend medical school and pursue a career in child and adolescent psychiatry. She loves working with children because they are so funny and full of life! In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer, watching LA Laker games, and hanging out with friends.
STEPHEN BROWN (undergraduate, night rider)
Stephen is a junior majoring in psychology and linguistics, with a minor in creative writing. Stephen hails from Los Angeles, CA, where he has lived for pretty much his whole life. When not moonlighting as a stealth operative, or catching ungodly diseases for sport, Stephen interests himself in the uninteresting things that most people do (movies, sleeping, reading, doing nothing), and most of the time ends up pretending he is interested in the things that other people find interesting just so he has something different to do.
PAIGE MISSION (research guru, child wrangler)
Paige graduated from UCLA June 2008 with a major in (surprise surprise) Psychology, with a focus on adolescent development and applied developmental psychology. She is currently working as a behavioral tutor for children with autism as well as an early reading teacher, teaching phonics for First Focus in Mountain View. She is not a morning person, she has never quit a job, and she secretly (or not so secretly, as the case may be) wants to be a professional soccer player.
KEVIN HOLMES (undergraduate)
Kevin majoring in Human Biology, with a concentration of “The Development of Language, Cognition, and Social Behavior.” He’s interested in linguistic relativity, theory of mind, social cognition, and cognitive development, to name a few topics. He’s a lab rat this summer, working with labmates Hattie, Curly, and Muffin Monster to torture… er, learn from small children. If you have any questions about tennis, Kevin is your man.
KIM BASURTO (undergraduate, stealth professor)
Kim joined the lab by accident. While serving as a mentor to Ramscar in his attempts to offer advice and succor to freshman undergraduates, Kim accidentally signed a form that obliged her to run 400 infant subjects in return for her freedom. Kim has taken this misfortune in her stride, and she can be seen around the lab cheerily running babies, deploying her considerable organizational powers, and scratching a record of her endeavors into the walls of her cell. Um. Office.
TIFFANY CHIEN and SHREYA NATHAN (high scholars, rainmakers)
As interns from the military, these intrepid high scholars have been slowly accumulating information that they intend to use to get Ramscar deported. Their original deep cover mission was to pose as child-laborers, but the swift way in which they assumed mastery of every project on the lab soon blew their cover. Instead they have embarked on a program of work will likely make the SAT obsolete and result in every student at Harker gained admission to Stanford. Interests include to-do lists and individualism. Homework often includes baking brownies.
JAMILA AMARSHI (undergraduate)
Jamila combined her career in the lab with studies of art and pyramids. Her research investigated the key question of how we could manage to bribe small children to sit still long enough for us to pick their brains. Jamila’s endless supplies of stickers and jolly ranchers soon established her a a lab hero, and she is sorely missed.
ALICIA DANTZKER (co-term, kgb trained assassin)
Alicia is our co-term student. She enjoys playing games with the children and secretely has a crush on Muffin Monster. Alicia played ultimate for the Stanford Ultimate team, which won the National Championship this year. Good show, mate! Alicia is revered among lab insiders for kicking Yarlett high in the air during a soccer showdown. Even better show, mate!!
BECCA SERR (undergraduate)
Becca is majoring in Human Biology. She got interested in the lab after taking a class on language and thought. She now spends time asking very small people to answer questions about Swedish hippos in disguise.
GREG CARLSON (undergraduate, linguistic prodigy)
Greg is a pretty happy guy, and is very pleasant to be around, except those times when he is in the corner speaking in tongues. Some linguists came over to investigate. The current theory is that a malfunction in his Language Acquisition Device caused him to repeat “Os ferpelem een verlopitam bol” over and over again.
ANNIE WILKINSON (undergraduate)
Annie, an undergrad from Missoula, Montana, loves music and sings with Stanford’s a cappella group Mixed Company and writes music too. She loves foreign foods, movies, and languages. She’s working to understand how children’s language development interacts with their attention (or lack thereof) to help them interpret ambiguous sentences. This summer she gained the unofficial designation of “Lab Hero” for her work in tracking down and bringing to justice more than 120 Red Rat Eaters, protecting many fortunate children in Wyoming and Montana from the dangerous phenomenon of stimulus impoverishment. Her hero is Pippi Longstocking.
NADJA BLAGOJEVIC (undergraduate)
Weaned on a diet of pomegranates and sweet potatoes, German cuisine came as a shock to Nadja, or “Nad” for short, when she arrived in Germany for a year-long stay before her first quarter at Stanford. However, she quickly adjusted, in the process gaining an undying affection for schnitzel, blutwurst, and language acquisition. Now that she’s in sunny California, she’s looking to capitalize on her experiences abroad with possible majors in psychology or linguistics and maybe a minor in German on the side. Welcome Nadja!
DARICE CHANG (undergraduate)
Name: Darice Chang
What I do here: Junior, majoring in Math and maybe Psych too
What I’m interested in CogSci wise: mental representation, learning, and experiments involving stuffed animals.
Favorite accomplishment: hm…
Favorite food: mango!
LAUREN SCHMIDT (former lab coordinator)
Lauren is a gnome, as can clearly be seen from the picture to the left. She has spent a little too much time talking about Whorf, and it’s starting to affect her thinking. She’s also interested in statistical models of concept learning, and how language and cognitive abilities develop in tiny people. Lauren will soon venture east to MIT to continue her studies.
DAVIE YOON (undergraduate)
Davie likes neurons, experiments, and rock. She likes to pretend she’s a grad student, and Bjork. She likes eating week-old Ramscar Lab Pringles and defending theory theory, at least one of which is a habit we’re trying to break. She works with glove puppets to find out more about children’s developing understanding of syntax and semantics. The glove puppets really only contribute a small portion of the brainpower in that collaboration, though. Now she’s off in the UK getting her master’s.
DAISY RAMIREZ (undergraduate)
Daisy is a sophomore who is interested in psychology, language, and history. She also is a member of the Stanford Ballroom Dance Team. Daisy has been working with Muffin Monster (Cookie Monster’s cousin) to learn more about how language skills develop in little people, and how they can sometimes fix their mistakes without receiving any feedback.
NIKKI AGUIRRE (undergraduate, injury-prone snowboarding champ)
MONCHETTE (ANAYA) GONDA (undergraduate, many-named creature)
MIKE MELLENTHIN (undergraduate, tin-tinabulator)
REVANTH KOSARAJU (prodigy, chunkifier)
MUFFIN MONSTER AND FRIENDS
Muffin Monster is the brains, the muscle and the inspiration behind the lab. An intellectual powerhouse, a raconteur and an all round good egg, he is available for weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs, and can knock out an overdue term paper packed with well turned phrases for a small fee. His sidekicks Hattie and Curly are more dubious characters.