PsychEng Seminar Reservation: Prof. Craig Chambers – Engineering in reverse: How AI and humanoid robotics help reveal how real humans process real language in real time


Tuesday, March 26th, 2019    
12:10 pm - 1:30 pm


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Prof. Craig Chambers (Psychology, University of Toronto)

Engineering in reverse: How AI and humanoid robotics help reveal how real humans process real language in real time

Spoken language interfaces are an increasingly common element in advanced technologies designed for use in education, companionship, and elder care.  To what degree do these interfaces align with our current understanding of the perceptual and cognitive processes underlying real-time language processing?

Although the processing of language by humans might at first glance be thought to involve a series of highly automatized mental operations, the past two decades of psycholinguistic research have highlighted important ways in which core aspects of processing are influenced by social cognition.  As speech unfolds at the millisecond level, listeners draw on various sources of information to generate and dynamically update implicit assumptions about a conversational partner’s intentions, and use this knowledge to guide their analysis of the acoustic input.

In this seminar, I will describe the bidirectional relationship between this “basic science” work and engineering efforts in artificial intelligence.  Although experimental studies of situated communication can provide guidance for the design of automated systems, engineering quandaries and solutions often shine a spotlight on issues that have been largely overlooked in psychology, in turn stimulating new lines of empirical research.  I will illustrate these interconnections in a series of studies exploring the processing of task-related instructions in contexts involving children, younger and older adults, and social robots.

When: Tuesday 26 March 2019, 12:10pm-1:30pm

Where: Room 370, Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship
55 St. George Street – Toronto

RSVP by: 12 noon, Monday 25 March 2019 using the below form to be included in the catering order.


RSVP-changes: Min Kim at

Academic: Prof. Li Shu at

If fully booked, you may add your name to the waitlist:


This event is fully booked.