About me

My name is Jiaxuan Li (tɕa˥ ɕʷæn˧˥ lʲi˥) and I am a second-year master student in Computational Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. As a computational psycholinguist, my research build bridges between human brains and machines, addressing how human language is represented and processed in mind, and how it is different from machine language. I am concerned with

  • (i) the temporal and hierarchical aspects of syntactic and semantic processing in real-time language comprehension;
  • (ii) the role of attention in second language acquisition;
  • (iii) interaction between psychological experiments and NLP models.

I use behavioral, electrophysiological methods (e.g. eye-tracking, self-paced reading, EEG), as well as computational modeling with state-of-the-art NLP models (e.g. GloVe, LSTM, transformers).

I am currently working with Dr. Ming Xiang on the neural nature of contextual effect on online sentence comprehension. I am also supervised by Dr. Allyson Ettinger to implement a neuro-computational noisy-channel model to explain the discrepancies in psycholinguistic research of sentence processing, including the argument-role reversal effect and semantic illusion effect.

Before that, I received my bachelor degree in Chinese Linguistics at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where I had trainings in theoretical linguistics, cognitive neuroscience and computer science. My undergraduate thesis was with Dr. Stephen Polizter-Ahles to investigate graded semantic prediction in sentence comprehension with Chinese classifiers.

I was born and raised in Taiyuan, a small town in northern China known for minerals. Besides, I speak Mandarin, Chinese Jin dialect, Cantonese, and Japanese. Other than psycholinguistics, I am foodie of Cantonese cuisine and play games on Nintendo Switch and Steam.