A Linguist Outside of Linguistics: Professor Rick Lewis


By Hayley Heaton, Kate Sherwood and Andries Coetzee
Oct 20, 2012 Bookmark and Share

Professor Rick Lewis

Professor Rick Lewis

At the University of Michigan, there are many faculty outside of the Linguistics Department with strong research commitments to linguistic issues. We are fortunate to have several of these faculty affiliated with our Department through courtesy appointments. These faculty contribute much to our Department through their interaction with Linguistics faculty and students. We will use the blog to introduce some of these "Linguists outside of Linguistics" here at Michigan. The second installment of this series is dedicated to Professor Rick Lewis.

Rick Lewis is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, where he directs the Language and Cognitive Architecture Lab.  Research in his lab is wide-ranging, touching on many aspects of human cognition, from reinforcement learning, to cognition and emotion, to language and memory. Most of Professor Lewis's work on language has focused on syntactic processing, and specifically on the role of short term memory in syntactic processing. He uses innovative approaches ranging from tracking eye-movements during sentence reading, to computational modeling of the human sentence processor. His research is regularly published in some of the premier journals in the field (Memory & Cognition, Cognition, Language & Cognitive Processes, etc.). The research in his lab is supported with grants from the NSF, NASA, the Office of Naval Research, and more.

Professor Lewis is an active participant in the Linguistics community at the University of Michigan. He regularly serves as a member of Linguistics dissertation committees. Linguistic students, both graduate and undergraduate, are frequent participants in his classes. Professor Lewis also collaborates on research with both faculty and graduate students from our Department. Most recently, he conducted a study on short term memory and syntactic parsing together with Professors Sam Epstein and Julie Boland, and our recent PhD alum Miko Obata. This research has been presented at a recent meeting of the North East Linguistic Society.

Professor Lewis was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science in 2010—well-deserved recognition for his many contributions to the field of Psychology. He was also recognized for his teaching and advising by students of the University of Michigan by being selected as one of only two Honorary Faculty Members of the Golden Key International Honour Society in 2011.

Professor Lewis will deliver a colloquium talk in our Department on Friday, November 16 (note that this is date change!). More information on this colloquium is available here.