Rick Dale associate professor, cognitive science

I am a cognitive scientist in the Cognitive & Information Sciences group at the young UC Merced. My research involves quantifying the dynamics of cognition, with a focus on human communication. The work I've been involved in has touched upon language's many levels of complexity: from how it evolved, to how we carry out brief conversations. I am also interested in a wide range of other topics, such as the interface between language and action, cognitive dynamics, and theoretical issues in cognitive science. I am currently the Ph.D. Program Chair, and also an Associate Editor at the journals of Cognitive Science and Behavior Research Methods.

Recent Publications (see full list)

accepted pending revisions
Dale, R., Kello, C. T., & Schoenemann, P. T. (accepted pending revisions). From syntax to synergy. Topics in Cognitive Science. bibtex
Coco, M. I., & Dale, R. (2014). Cross-recurrence quantification analysis of categorical and continuous time series: an R package. Frontiers in Quantitative Psychology and Measurement, 5. bibtex pdf doi
Dale, R. (2014). Language and cognition: Occasions for synthesis, but not surprise. IEEE CIS AMD Newsletter, 11, 5-6. bibtex pdf
Vinson, D. W., & Dale, R. (2014). An exploration of semantic tendencies in word of mouth business reviews. In Science and Information IEEE Conference (SAI). bibtex pdf
Dale, R., Fusaroli, R., Duran, N. D., & Richardson, D. C. (2013). The self-organization of human interaction. In B. Ross (Ed.), Psychology of Learning and Motivation (pp. 43-95). Academic Press. bibtex pdf


Fall course: COGS 127 Modern Everyday Cognition, see website for details
Spring course: COGS 202 Cognitive Science Foundations II (grad + undergrad course)

more research details
I use diverse research methods, including computational modelinganalysis of naturalistic behavior, and human experimentation. I use these techniques to investigate a diverse range of language-related phenomena with students and collaborators: conversationthinking in languagesentence processingword categorization, and even deception. For example, with Daniel Richardson, I have studied how people become coupled together during linguistic interaction (such as in their eye movements). I have also investigated how complex thinking unfolds in time by tracking the dynamics of people's arm movements (by using, for example, the Nintendo Wii Remote). My work is motivated by the ideas and tools used in the study of complex dynamical systems. I have recently been interested in theoretical issues tying together dynamics with classical theories of cognition in a more pragmatic, plural approach to cognitive science (check out this special issue).
linkedin summary

My LinkedIn profile.

I quantify and visualize the way human behavior is organized in time, with a focus on communication. Our published work has taken steps to assess when and how people understand each other, when deception may be taking place, how positive and constructive an interaction is, how confident people are when making decisions, and more. To accomplish this, collaborators and I have leveraged computationally affordable and automated methods that get direct quantification and modeling of human behavior.

Key interests: human behavior and communication, modeling and analysis of time series, theoretical cognitive science

Some contributions: quantifying coupling between persons, analyzing how bodily movement can reveal mental processes, developing computationally affordable tools for analysis of behavior and interaction

Scientific competencies: experimental design, observational data analysis, regression analysis, computational modeling

Technical competencies: MATLAB, R, Python, JavaScript, ActionScript, PHP/server-side design, relational database design, interface development, shell play

Other experiences: undergraduate and graduate research mentoring, teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels in both content-oriented and technical courses, grant management and writing, a variety of university-level service activities including chairing committees and programs

past jobs

Past Positions

Associate Professor
Cognitive and Information Sciences
University of California, Merced

2011 - 2012
Associate Professor (on leave)
Department of Psychology
The University of Memphis

2006 - 2011
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
The University of Memphis



Ph.D. Cornell University, Psychology

Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Ph.D. program)

B.A. University of Toronto at Scarborough, Linguistics

past teaching
Courses as Instructor

UC Merced, Cognitive and Information Sciences

Mind, Technology, and Society Seminar (public seminar)

Cognitive Science Foundations II (grad + undergrad course)

Modern Everyday Cognition (large undergraduate course)

The University of Memphis, Department of Psychology

2006-2011: PSYC 3303: Thinking and Cognitive Processes.

2007-2011: PSYC 7302: Advanced Statistics I.

2007-2009: PSYC 4305: Mind, Brain, and Intelligence.

2007, 2009: COMP/PSYC 7/8514: Cognitive Science Seminar.

Cornell University, Department of Psychology

Fall, 2003: Instructor for "Intro to Cognitive Science Writing Seminar."

Summer, 2004: Co-instructor for "Introduction to Cognitive Science."

Summer, 2005: Instructor for "Introduction to Cognitive Science."

Courses as Teaching Assistant in Previous Years

Fall, 2001: TA for "Psychology and Law."

Spring, 2002, 2003: TA for "Psycholinguistics."

Fall, 2002: TA for "Applied Visual Perception."

Spring, 2003: TA for "Psycholinguistics."

Spring, 2004: TA for "Psychology of Music."

Spring, 2005: TA for "Computational Modeling of Cognition."



Many NSF panels for a range of programs.

Editorial Board/Board of Reviewers

Associate Editor, Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 2012-present

Associate Editor, Cognitive Science, 2011-present

Associate Editor, Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, 2008-present

Review Editor, Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 2010-2012

Board of Reviewers, Cognitive Science, 2009-2011

Program Committee Member/Society Service

Society for Computers in Psychology (SCiP), Secretary/Treasurer, 2012-present

Society for Computers in Psychology (SCiP), Steering Committee Member, 2010-2012

International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL '10), 2010, 2011

The Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society, NLP Track, 2009

The Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2007-2009, 2011-2013

Workshop: Psychocomputational Models of Human Language Acquisition, 2008

International Service

PhD Jury External Member, Pernille Bruhn (Chair: Annette Bohn, Members: Thomas Habekost). Aarhus University, March 1, 2013 (unable to attend in person).

PhD Jury External Member, Maarten Wijnants (Chair: Anna Bosman, Members: Didier Delignières, Paul van Geert, Jay Holden, Bert Steenbergen). Radboud University, June 27, 2012.

Invited workshop presentation: Basic recurrence methods using MATLAB. MindLAB Seminar, Aarhus University, December 9, 2011.

PhD Jury External Member, Marc-Antoine Nüssli, with P. Dillenbourg (chair), P. Jermann (chair), A. Billard, and A. Duchowski (Clemson). EPFL-CRAFT, November 3, 2011.

Invited seminar guest in undergraduate course "Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience" (PS418), with M. Elliott (instructor). NUI Galway School of Psychology, January 28, 2010.

I have also contributed ad hoc reviews for:

Acta Psychologica; Advances in Cognitive Psychology; American Psychologist; Applied Cognitive Psychology; Applied Psychophysiology; Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing; Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics; Behavior Research Methods; Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Cerebral Cortex; Cognition; Cognitive Psychology; Cognitive Science; Cognitive Systems Research; Consciousness and Cognition; Current Psychology Letters; Developmental Review; Discourse Processes; Dual-Eye Tracking Workshop for CSCW '12; Ecological Psychology; Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior Bulletin; Frontiers in Cognition; Frontiers in Human Neuroscience; Human Factors; IEEE-TPC; Interaction Studies; Interface Focus (Royal Society); International Conference on Development and Learning; International Conference on Social Robotics; Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology; John Wiley & Sons; Journal of Experiental Psychology: General; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance; Journal of Memory and Language; Journal of New Mathematics and Natural Computing; Journal of Nonverbal Behavior; Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior; Judgment and Decision Making; Language and Cognition; Language and Cognitive Processes; Language Learning; Memory & Cognition; National (Irish) Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science; National Science Foundation; Oxford University Press; Philosophical Psychology; Psychological Review; Psychological Science; Psychonomic Bulletin & Review; PLoS ONE; Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology; Routledge Books; Speech Communication; Springer Proceedings in Mathematics; The Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society; Topics in Cognitive Science (topiCS); Trends in Cognitive Sciences