Zara Harmon

I joined the MPI Language Development Department as a postdoctoral researcher in October 2023. I work with Caroline Rowland on the Language 0-5 project, investigating the development of hierarchical representations and complex planning. I am particularly interested in how prediction, planning, and overgeneralization errors during development help children build representations that organize sequences of words. These representations support the learning of highly familiar sequences as well as the ability to deal with novel contexts. This suggests that both experience and powerful learning mechanisms contribute to the development of these representations. I use corpus studies, experiments, and computational modeling to better understand how these representations are developed. 

I received my PhD in Linguistics from the University of Oregon in 2019. My dissertation examines how accessibility of linguistic forms in language production leads to the extension of those forms to novel contexts. Prior to MPI, I was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

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