Terry Regier

Professor, Linguistics and Cognitive Science
Director, Cognitive Science Program

Email: firstname dot lastname at berkeley dot edu
Office: Dwinelle 1221 (office hours Mondays 10-12)
Lab: Evans 553-555

My research investigates the relation of language and thought. I seek to understand why semantic categories vary across languages in the ways they do, and what that cross-language variation reveals about the mind and about communication. I also seek to understand the ways in which language can create and shape our thoughts, such that speakers of different languages think about the world in different ways. I approach these questions using computational models and methods, coupled with behavioral experiments and cross-language semantic data. My work is centered in the Language and Cognition Lab, which I direct.

Some representative publications:

Emily Cibelli, Yang Xu, Joseph L. Austerweil, Thomas L. Griffiths, and Terry Regier (2016). The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and probabilistic inference: Evidence from the domain of color. PLOS ONE 11(7): e0158725.

Terry Regier, Alexandra Carstensen, and Charles Kemp (2016). Languages support efficient communication about the environment: Words for snow revisited. PLOS ONE 11(4): e0151138.

Yang Xu, Terry Regier, and Barbara C. Malt (2015). Historical semantic chaining and efficient communication: The case of container names. Cognitive Science, 1-14. [Supplementary material] [An earlier version of this paper appeared in the Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (2015) and received the conference prize for computational modeling of language.]

Terry Regier, Charles Kemp, and Paul Kay (2015). Word meanings across languages support efficient communication. In B. MacWhinney & W. O'Grady (Eds.), The handbook of language emergence (pp. 237-263). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Terry Regier, Naveen Khetarpal, and Asifa Majid (2013). Inferring semantic maps. Linguistic Typology, 17, 89-105. [Preprint] [Supplementary material]

Charles Kemp and Terry Regier (2012). Kinship categories across languages reflect general communicative principles. Science, 336, 1049-1054. [Preprint] [Commentary by S. Levinson] [Supplementary material] [Project page] [FAQ]

Terry Regier and Paul Kay (2009). Language, thought, and color: Whorf was half right. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13, 439-446.