<img style="float:right; PADDING-LEFT:10px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 5px" src="https://stanford.edu/~mtessler/donuts_Mht.JPG" width="250px"> It is remarkable that so much is learned from ideas expressed vaguely in words. Underspecification is a hallmark of natural language and poses challenges for listeners, who have to uncover a speaker's meaning from more than just their words. In my research, I use computational modeling and behavioral experiments to better understand the context-sensitivity of language and how abstract knowledge is transmitted via language. 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 broadly 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 + CogSci 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin + Tutorial on Bayesian Data Analysis (BDA) [[website]](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/short-courses/2018-bdappl-cogsci/) [[abstract]](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/papers/bda-tutorial-cogsci2018.pdf) + Symposium on Generalization and Generic Language [[abstract]](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/papers/generics-symposium-cogsci2018.pdf) + Talk on Negated Antonyms ("I'm not unhappy") + August 13-17, 2018: I will co-teach a course on BDA and Probabilistic Pragmatics at ESSLLI 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. + September 2018: I will start as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences at MIT. ### Publications #### In press + [Not unreasonable: Carving vague dimensions with contraries and contradictions](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/papers/Tessler2018-negant-cogsci-final.pdf).**Tessler, M. H.**, & Franke, M. (*in press*). In *Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [webppl-oed: A practical optimal experiment design system](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/papers/OuyangTessler2018-oed-cogsci-final.pdf).Ouyang, L.\*, **Tessler, M. H.**\*, Ly, D., & Goodman, N. D. (*in press*). In *Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* + [Tiptoeing around it: Inference from absence in potentially offensive speech](http://stanford.edu/~mtessler/papers/Gates-etal-cogsci2018.pdf). Gates, M. A., Veuthey, T. L., **Tessler, M. H.**, Smith, K. A., Gerstenberg, T., Bayet, L., & Tenenbaum, J. B. (*in press*). In *Proceedings of the 40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.* #### Manuscripts + [A pragmatic theory of generic language.](http://arxiv.org/abs/1608.02926) **Tessler, M. H.** & Goodman, N. D. *arXiv:1608.02926* (in prep). #### 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.