Michael RamscarMichael 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.


I joined the Department of Linguistics of the University of Tübingen in the Fall of 2011 as a Senior Researcher. Prior to that, I served as an assistant professor at Stanford University in Psychology (2002-2010) and a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in Informatics (1999-2000) and Artificial Intelligence (1997-1999).


My background is interdisciplinary in nature. My early training was in Philosophy (Kings College, BA, 1989) and Computer Science & Electronic Engineering (Strathclyde University, MSc, 1990), followed by several years working as a research associate in Architecture (University of Edinburgh, 1991-1996). In 1999, I finished a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science at Edinburgh. I completed the APA Advanced Training Institute in fMRI at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2001.


During my term at Stanford, my research was funded by a major grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), an NSF Career Award, and generous support from the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing (2003). While at Edinburgh, I was funded through two EPSRC modelling grants (1994, 1999).

NSF Grant (no. 0547775)
The Dynamics of Probabilistic Grammar (2007) Co-Investigators: Joan Bresnan, Dan Jurafsky and Tom Wasow

NSF Career Award (no. 0624345)
The Relationship Between Comprehension and Production in Language Development (2006)

Research Program

My current research seeks to understand and explain our everyday notions of concepts, reasoning and language in terms of the psychological and neurological underpinnings of learning and memory. The goal is to develop an ever more precise computational understanding of mind. Particular areas of focus include: the relationship between usage and meaning; language production, comprehension and acquisition; the development and representation of conceptual knowledge; the changing nature of mental computation in development; cognitive modeling; and philosophy of mind, language and psychology.

More information can be found in my CV and research statement.