Elika Bergelson

Office: Room 210, Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University
Email: myfirstname.mylastname.at.duke.edu
CV (PDF) | Publications

Here's the website about my big longitudinal study, called SEEDLingS! (N.B.: data collection ended in July 2016).

About Me

As of Summer 2016, I am an Assistant Professor at Duke University's Psychology and Neuroscience Department.

I spent 2014-2016 as a Research Assistant Professor in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at the University of Rochester, thanks to having received an Early Investigator Award from NIH. At UR I was also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Language Sciences. In 2013-14, I was a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Richard Aslin.

With the SEEDLingS project, I am conducting 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.

During my PhD (completed in summer 2013), 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 body parts, 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.

Before graduate school 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.

I am happy to send copies of any of our articles upon email request (or you can snag them from my Publications page).

Some Media About Our Research

Click here to read about my latest research on the NIH Director's Blog.

Click below 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.

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

  • Once coded, the audio and video recordings from our (in progress) longitudinal corpus study will be shared through HOMEBANK and Databrary.
  • A set of visual stimuli of objects from the MCDI (we're sharing a bunch of our CDIs with wordbank too!)
  • Interested in Naturalistic Home Recordings of Infants Language Environments? Check out DARCLE!
  • R Markdown scripts that show how the stats/figures in our papers were generated

Former 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
Penn Psych
Penn Infant Language Center
UMD Project on Children's Language Learning
NYU Center for Child Language
Yeled v'Yalda Research Institute
Elikorpus-created and maintained by my friend Dave Kush

Things I Care About/Enjoy

Local food: Red Earth Farm, Clark Park Farmer's Market, Rochester Public Market
Chamber music
Impact Network
The New Yorker
Helping animals find good homes