<img style="float:right; PADDING-LEFT:10px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px" src="http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/donuts_Mht.JPG" width="250px"> Hi, I'm MH. My full name is Michael Henry Tessler. I am a Postdoctoral Associate working in the [Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences](http://bcs.mit.edu) at [MIT](http://www.mit.edu) with [Roger Levy](http://www.mit.edu/~rplevy/index.html) (and the [Computational Psycholinguistics Lab](http://cpl.mit.edu)) and [Josh Tenenbaum](http://web.mit.edu/cocosci/josh.html) (and the [Computational Cognitive Science Group](http://cocosci.mit.edu)). I received a Ph.D. from the [Department of Psychology](https://psychology.stanford.edu) at [Stanford](http://stanford.edu), where I worked with [Noah Goodman](http://cocolab.stanford.edu/ndg.html) and the [CoCoLab](http://cocolab.stanford.edu/index.html). We don't often say what we mean, and even if we try, the words are still vague. In my research, I use computational modeling and behavioral experiments to better understand how peple convey meaning in language and how we learn from language. I am broadly interested in thinking, speaking, and learning. I view language through the lens of psychology, and psychology through the lens of computer science and statistics. I am also interested in the philosophy of science, particularly with respect to statistical inference. I occasionally write [stories about travels](https://tesslertravels.blogspot.com). You can email me at `tessler@mit.edu` + [Github: mhtess](https://github.com/mhtess) + [Twitter: mhtessler](https://twitter.com/mhtessler) + [Project library: mhtess](https://mhtess.github.io) ### Publications #### Preprints + [Warm (for Winter): Inferring comparison classes for gradable adjectives](https://psyarxiv.com/8bfna) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. (under review). + [Not unreasonable: Why two negatives don't make a positive.](https://psyarxiv.com/tqjr2) **Tessler, M. H.** & Franke, M. (under review). + [Pragmatic cue integration in adults' and children's inferences about novel word meanings.](https://psyarxiv.com/xma4f) Bohn, M., **Tessler, M. H.**, Merrick, M., & Frank, M. C. (under review). + [Learning from generic language.](https://psyarxiv.com/hnm8p) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. (under review). #### 2020 + [Polite speech emerges from competing social goals.](https://psyarxiv.com/67ne8) \*Yoon, E. J., **\*Tessler, M. H.**, Goodman, N. D., & Frank, M. C. (to appear). *Open Mind: Discoveries in Cognitive Science.* + [Informational goals, sentence structure, and comparison class inference](https://psyarxiv.com/n8eyj/). **Tessler, M. H.**, Tsvilodub, P., Snedeker, J., & Levy, R. P. (2020). In *Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [How many observations is one generic worth?](https://psyarxiv.com/cyhmu/) **Tessler, M. H.**, Bridgers, S., & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2020). In *Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Leveraging Unstructured Statistical Knowledge in a Probabilistic Language of Thought](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/Lew-Tessler-etal-cogsci2020-final.pdf). Lew, A. K., **Tessler, M. H.**, Mansinghka, V. K., & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2020). In *Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* #### 2019 + [The Language of Generalization.](https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-07481-001) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. (2019). *Psychological Review*, 126(3), 395-436. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rev0000142. [[repo]](https://github.com/mhtess/genlang-paper) [[preprint]](http://arxiv.org/abs/1608.02926) + [Incremental Understanding of Conjunctive Generic Sentences](https://psyarxiv.com/puk96). **Tessler, M. H.**, Gu., K, & Levy, R. P. (2019). In *Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Integrating Common Ground and Informativeness in Pragmatic Word Learning](https://psyarxiv.com/cbx46/). Bohn, M. ,**Tessler, M. H.**, & Frank, M. C. (2019). In *Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [The first crank of the cultural ratchet: Learning and transmitting concepts through language](https://cogsci.mindmodeling.org/2019/papers/0060/0060.pdf). Chopra, S. **Tessler, M. H.**, & Goodman, N. D. (2019). In *Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* #### 2018 + [Communicating generalizations: Probability, vagueness, and context](https://purl.stanford.edu/wc040bs2668). **Tessler, M. H.** (2018). PhD dissertation. + [Not unreasonable: Carving vague dimensions with contraries and contradictions](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/Tessler2018-negant-cogsci-final.pdf). **Tessler, M. H.**, & Franke, M. (2018). In *Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [webppl-oed: A practical optimal experiment design system](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/OuyangTessler2018-oed-cogsci-final.pdf). \*Ouyang, L., **\*Tessler, M. H.**, Ly, D., & Goodman, N. D. (2018). In *Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Tiptoeing around it: Inference from absence in potentially offensive speech](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/Gates-etal-cogsci2018.pdf). Gates, M. A., Veuthey, T. L., **Tessler, M. H.**, Smith, K. A., Gerstenberg, T., Bayet, L., & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2018). In *Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Probabilistic language understanding: An introduction to the Rational Speech Act framework.](http://www.problang.org) Scontras, G., **Tessler, M. H.**, & Franke M. (2018). https://www.problang.org #### 2017 + [Warm (for winter): Comparison class understanding in vague language](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/Tessler2017-cogsci-final.pdf).**Tessler, M. H.**, Lopez-Brau, M. & Goodman, N. D. (2017). In *Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Avoiding frostbite: It helps to learn from others](https://cocolab.stanford.edu/papers/TesslerEtAl2017_commentary.pdf). Commentary on Lake et al., Building machines that learn and think like people. **Tessler, M. H.**, Goodman, N. D., & Frank, M. C. (2017). *Behavioral and Brain Sciences*. + ["I won't lie, it wasn't amazing": Modeling polite indirect speech.](http://langcog.stanford.edu/papers_new/yoon-2017-cogsci.pdf). Yoon, E. J., **Tessler, M. H.**, Goodman, N. D., & Frank, M. C. (2017). In *Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Generating random sequences for you: Modeling subjective randomness in competitive games.](http://iccm-conference.org/2017/ICCMprogram_files/paper_52.pdf) Yuan, A. and **Tessler, M. H.**. (2017). In *Proceedings of the 15th Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Cognitive Modeling.* + [Privileged functional connectivity between the Visual Word Form Area and the Language System.](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28450544) Stevens, W. D., Kravitz, D., Peng, C. S., **Tessler, M. H.**, & Martin, A. (2017). *Journal of Neuroscience* #### 2016 + [Communicating generalizations about events.](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/Tessler2016-cogsci.pdf) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. (2016). In *Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Talking with tact: Politeness as a balance between informativity and kindness.](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/YoonTessler2016-cogsci.pdf) Yoon, E. J.\*, **Tessler, M. H.**\*, Goodman, N. D., & Frank, M. C. (2016). In *Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* * [What does the crowd believe? A hierarchical approach to estimating subjective beliefs from empirical data.](http://www.sfs.uni-tuebingen.de/~mfranke/Papers/FrankeDablander_2016_What_does_the_crowd_believe.pdf) Franke, M., Dablander, F., Scholler, A., Bennett, E., Degen, J., **Tessler, M. H.**, Kao, J., & Goodman, N. D. (2016). In *Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* #### 2015 + [Understanding *belief bias* by measuring prior beliefs for a Bayesian model of syllogistic reasoning.](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/Tessler2015-esslli.pdf) **Tessler, M. H.** (2015). In *Proceedings of the Student Session of the 27th European Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information (ESSLLI).* + [Wonky worlds: Listeners revise world knowledge when utterances are odd.](http://cocolab.stanford.edu/papers/DegenEtAl2015-Cogsci.pdf) Degen, J., **Tessler, M. H.**, & Goodman, N. D. (2015). In *Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Functional connectivity constrains the category-related organization of human ventral occipitotemporal cortex.](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25704493) Stevens, W. D., **Tessler, M. H.**, Peng, C. S. & Martin, A. (2015). *Human Brain Mapping* #### 2014 + [Some arguments are probably valid: Syllogistic reasoning as communication.](https://web.stanford.edu/~ngoodman/papers/cogsci14-syllogisms_tessler.pdf) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. (2014). In *Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* ### Conference posters + [webppl-oed: A practical optimal experiment design system](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/oed-cogsci2018.pdf) + [Warm (for winter): Comparison class understanding in vague language](https://c8a64e0d-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/comppsychlingmeaning/tessler.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7cqOPzTbpRtu-vdIkPikj19YSlgzmdnYVcjEp1jsS6QoXNTtVqsboKSHh_cjkuyoi_5iA_UeJgi_-1tdIuu1xsGFNlYl2nW0_X-EyhHZFkbd-OdcOR1Gtx42IVeh0IHpCs0waGSSD2e9klUuKmvKoEmCK1YL8PV8G8dTFg-BzlHP8IJ3KmTKy_Po5DviEVyHeeQH3TlBEizwMLOvrPq7R6VRnZm-AQ%3D%3D&attredirects=0) **Tessler, M. H.**, Lopez-Brau, M. & Goodman, N. D. (February 2017) *Bridging computational and psycholinguistic approaches to the study of meaning (CSLI workshop)* Stanford University. + [Talking in generalizations: A pragmatic theory of generic and habitual language.](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/spp-tessler-generics-2016.pdf) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. (2016). *Poster presented at 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Philosophy and Psychology.* ### Research tools and educational content + [RWebPPL](https://github.com/mhtess/rwebppl): An R package for WebPPL + [Probabilistic Language Understanding](https://gscontras.github.io/probLang/): An introduction to the Rational Speech Act framework + [Bayesian Data Analysis using Probabilistic Programs (in prep)](https://mhtess.github.io/bdappl/): Currently, mostly introductory tutorials for WebPPL + [WebPPL OED](https://github.com/mhtess/webppl-oed): Optimal Experiment Design for WebPPL models ### Past courses, lectures, and workshops #### Generic language + [Generalization, from representation to transmission](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/generics-symposium-cogsci2018.pdf). Symposium at CogSci 2018. + [A Generic Workshop](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/generic-wrkshp/generic-wrkshp.html) at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) at Stanford (Spring 2017) #### Bayesian Data Analysis and Computational Models of Pragmatics + [Probabilistic Modeling and Bayesian Data Analysis of Experimental Semantics and Pragmatics](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/short-courses/2018-bdarsa-esslli/). A one-week course taught at the European Summer School for Logic, Language, and Information (ESSLLI) in Sofia, Bulgaria in Summer 2018. + [Bayesian Data Analysis using Probabilistic Programs](https://mhtess.github.io/bdappl2018/). Day-long tutorial at CogSci 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin in Summer 2018. [[abstract]](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/papers/bda-tutorial-cogsci2018.pdf) + [Computational Pragmatics](http://www.mit.edu/~tessler/short-courses/2017-computational-pragmatics/). A two-week course taught with Michael Franke at the Fall School for Computational Linguistics (German Linguistics Society) in Dusseldorf, Germany in September 2017. + [Bayesian Statistics for Psychologists](https://psych201s.stanford.edu) A quarter-long course taught at Stanford in Summer 2016. + [Bayesian Data Analysis](http://probmods.github.io/ppaml2016/chapters/5-data.html). A lecture as part of a week-long course on [Probabilistic Programming using WebPPL](http://probmods.github.io/ppaml2016/) given in Summer 2016. + [Probabilistic Language Understanding](http://gscontras.github.io/ESSLLI-2016/). A one-week course taught at the European Summer School for Logic, Language, and Information (ESSLLI) in Bolzano, Italy with Greg Scontras in Summer 2016. + [Bayesian Data Analysis](https://probmods.org/chapters/14-bayesian-data-analysis.html). A web-book chapter using WebPPL for Noah Goodman's course on Probabilistic Models of Cognition in Autumn 2016. + [Bayesian Data Analysis](http://forestdb.org/models/bayesian-data-analysis.html). A web-book appendix chapter using Church for Noah Goodman's course on Probabilistic Models of Cognition in Spring 2015. <p style="text-align:center"><a href="http://accessibility.mit.edu"><b>Accessibility</b></a></p>