Rick Dale

Department of Communication
University of California, Los Angeles
rdale at ucla -- Edie, you?
For appointment, contact me directly


I am a cognitive scientist in the Department of Communication at UCLA. 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.

Lab: Communicative Mind Laboratory (Co-Mind Lab)

I use diverse research methods, including computational modeling, analysis of naturalistic behavior, and human experimentation. I use these techniques to investigate a diverse range of language-related phenomena with students and collaborators: conversation, thinking in language, sentence processing, word 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).

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, analytics and corpus methods, 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: analytics and corpus methods, 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

Some service to the field

Some recent papers

NB: Documents are provided for personal or educational use only. Downloading a document is considered a request by you for a single copy. Do not circulate or disseminate.
Abney, D. H., Dale, R., Kello, C. T. & Louwerse, M. M. (2018). The bursts and lulls of multimodal interaction: Temporal distributions of behavior reveal differences between verbal and non-verbal communication. Cognitive Science.
Dale, R. & Kello, C. T. (2018). "How do humans make sense?" Multiscale dynamics and emergent meaning. New Ideas in Psychology.
Vinson, D. W. & Dale, R. (2017). Social structure relates to linguistic information density. In M. Jones (Ed.), Big Data in Cognitive Science: From Methods to Insights (pp. 91-116). Psychology Press: Taylor & Francis.
Cornish, H., Dale, R., Kirby, S. & Christiansen, M. H. (2017). Sequence memory constraints give rise to language-like structure through iterated learning. PLOS ONE, 12, e0168532.
Lupyan, G. & Dale, R. (2016). Why are there different languages? The role of adaptation in linguistic diversity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 20, 649-660.
Duran, N. D., Dale, R. & Galati, A. (2016). Towards integrative dynamic models for adaptive perspective-taking. Topics in Cognitive Science, 8, 761-779.
Main, A., Paxton, A. & Dale, R. (2016). An exploratory analysis of emotion dynamics between mothers and adolescents during conflict discussions. Emotion, 16, 913-928.
Dale, R., Kello, C. T. & Schoenemann, P. T. (2016). Seeking synthesis: The integrative problem in understanding language and its evolution. Topics in Cognitive Science, 8, 371-381.
Sindi, S. & Dale, R. (2016). Culturomics as a data playground for tests of selection: mathematical approaches to detecting selection in word use. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 405, 140-149.
Paxton, A., Rodriguez, K. & Dale, R. (2015). PsyGlass: capitalizing on Google Glass for naturalistic data collection. Behavior Research Methods, 47, 608-619.
Fusaroli, R., Perlman, M., Mislove, A., Paxton, A., Matlock, T. & Dale, R. (2015). Timescales of massive human entrainment. PLOS ONE, 10, e0122742.
See lab site for full list