Eva Wittenberg

Eva Wittenberg

UC San Diego

Dr Eva Wittenberg is Assistant Professor of linguistics at UC San Diego, where she directs the Language Comprehension Lab. Her research has two main objectives: advancing linguistic theory with the help of psycholinguistic data from a broad range of languages and varieties, and advancing psycholinguistic data by developing methods, paradigms, and research instruments. She is interested in language comprehension broadly as it speaks to linguistic architecture: What is language, so that our brain can process it? Before joining Linguistics, Dr Wittenberg was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Research in Language at UCSD, where she worked with Roger Levy (now MIT) and Victor Ferreira (UCSD Psychology). She received her Ph.D. from Potsdam University under the supervision of Heike Wiese, and she also closely worked with Ray Jackendoff, Gina Kuperberg and Jesse Snedeker.

Understanding language understanding

Big data uses linguistic information to understand almost every corner of human existence: what people do, what they want, how they feel, or what they think about. In this talk, I show how behavioral experiments can be a crucial complement to big data, if we want to understand how people use language: How can we leverage effects of the current pandemic inform our understanding of how language is stored in the brain? What do people actually imagine when they read about events? And how do you know that someone is stressed, based on how they write?