<img style="float:right; PADDING-LEFT:10px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px" src="https://stanford.edu/~mtessler/donuts_Mht.JPG" width="250px"> It is a remarkable fact that so much is learned from ideas expressed vaguely in words. Precisely defining our terms can be difficult, yet we tend to know what people mean when they say it. How do we uncover the latent messages from vague language? And how does communicating our ideas, even vaguely, spur the evolution of thought and of culture? I am a graduate student in the [Department of Psychology](https://psychology.stanford.edu) at [Stanford](http://stanford.edu), working with [Noah Goodman](http://cocolab.stanford.edu/ndg.html) and the [CoCoLab](https://psychology.stanford.edu). I am interested in cognition, language, 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://mhtess.blogspot.com). You can email me at `mtessler@stanford.edu` + [Github: mhtess](https://github.com/mhtess) + [Twitter: mhtessler](https://twitter.com/mhtessler) + [Project library: mhtess](https://mhtess.github.io) ### Events + I recently taught a two-week course on [Computational Pragmatics](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/short-courses/2017-computational-pragmatics/) with Michael Franke, Sept. 11 - 22 as part of the Fall School on Computational Linguistics (German Linguistics Society) in Dusseldorf, Germany. ### Publications #### Manuscripts + [A pragmatic theory of generic language.](http://arxiv.org/abs/1608.02926) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. *arXiv:1608.02926* (in prep). + [Practical optimal experiment design with probabilistic programs.](http://arxiv.org/abs/1608.05046) Ouyang, L.\*, **Tessler, M. H.**\*, Ly D.\*, & Goodman, N. D. *arXiv:1608.05046* #### 2017 + [Warm (for winter): Comparison class understanding in vague language](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/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.* + ["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.* + [Probabilistic language understanding: An introduction to the Rational Speech Act framework.](https://gscontras.github.io/probLang/) Scontras, G. and **Tessler, M. H.** (2017). + [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://stanford.edu/~mtessler/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://stanford.edu/~mtessler/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://stanford.edu/~mtessler/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/paperDegenEtAl2015-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 + [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://stanford.edu/~mtessler/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 + [A Generic Workshop](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/generic-wrkshp/generic-wrkshp.html) at the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) at Stanford (Spring 2017) + [Computational Pragmatics](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/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](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://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](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.