I'm a postdoctoral researcher, currently at MIT Brain & Cognitive Sciences working with Ev Fedorenko and Jesse Snedeker (Harvard Psychology).

I enjoy verbs, events, early conceptual representations, replicability, open science, and metadata

I study the intersections between cognitive development and language acquisition. I am broadly interested in questions about early development and the implications they have for how we understand adult cognition and language. First, how are pre- or non-linguistic concepts like causation, agency and physical space mapped to language? Second, how do early cognitive capacities like social cognition and awareness of information structure impact early language learning and use?

More specifically, I am interested in how children (and adults) use syntactic structures to make inferences about what sentences mean, and to choose the right things to say to get their own meanings across. I study how children use their conceptual and linguistic representations of causation to make inferences about particular events in the world, and about the meanings of syntactic structures such as the transitive (Jane broke the lamp) and periphrastic causative (Jane made the lamp break). I also look at how event representations and pragmatics interact for children who are just beginning to form their first multi-word utterances.

Printable CV


Use this link for up-to-date information on published papers for now: Google Scholar link

The list below isn't up to date yet. It contains some 'legacy' links to supplemental material whose websites are listed in published docs. Eventually I'd like to have systematic links to repositories, stimuli, etc.

Kline, M., Muentener, P. & Schulz, L. (2013). Transitive and periphrastic sentences affect memory for simple causal scenes. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Supplemental material.

Kline, M. & Demuth, K. (2013). Syntactic generalization with novel intransitive verbs. Journal of Child Language , issue no. pending

Kline, M., Snedeker, J., & Schulz, L. (2011). Children's comprehension and production of transitive sentences is sensitive to the causal structure of events. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Supplemental material.

Kline, M., & Demuth, K. (2010). Factors facilitating implicit learning: The case of the Sesotho passive. Language Acquisition, 17(4), 220-234.

Demuth, K. & Kline, M. (2006). The distribution of passives in spoken Sesotho. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, 24, 377-388. (Special issue on Theory and Description of Southern Bantu Syntax).

links to git etc.

Most recent things I've written/adapted can be found on Gitub or OSF. Stay tuned for some highlight panels here. Feel free to reuse and adapt any of those experimental scripts or the ones here, with citation.

Here is a link to an older page of resources, including an implementation of Talk2Tobii and the Willow python package, and a little R script called CLANtoR that very slowly gives you CHILDES corpora in a data frame.


Katherine Demuth

Evelina Fedorenko

Ted Gibson (PhD Committee)

Paul Muentener

Laura Schulz(PhD Committee)

Jesse Snedeker(PhD Committee)

Josh Tenenbaum(PhD Committee)


Office: 46-3037F, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA 02139

Email: mekline@mit.edu

Twitter: @melissaekline

Github: mekline