Dr. Marcus Perlman

Department of Cognitive and Information Sciences

University of California, Merced

Email: mperlman at ucmerced.edu

I am currently a lecturer in Cognitive Science at the University of California, Merced. Previously I was a postdoc with Gary Lupyan in the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I also did postdoctoral research at the Gorilla Foundation, where I studied the gorilla Koko. In September, I am moving to Nijmegen for a year to research language evolution as a visitor at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

My research is driven by two big questions. What is language? And where did it come from? My focus in these questions is primarily through the study of iconicity in human communication. I also study the gesturing and vocal behavior of great apes. Some of my research on vocal iconicity was recently featured in Science news, and I also wrote this for the Conversation. My work on Koko's impressive vocal repertoire was recently reported in the Washington Post.

We are in the process of analyzing the results of the Vocal Iconicity Challenge!, a scholarly contest that was sufficiently silly-sounding to be written up in Vice. Email me if you are interested in collaborating to test the resulting vocalizations with listeners from different (non-English) language and cultural backgrounds.

Selected Publications (see cv for complete list)