Glushko Dissertation Prize

The Cognitive Science Society and the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation will award up to five outstanding dissertation prizes in cognitive science. The goals of these prizes are to increase the prominence of cognitive science, and encourage students to engage in interdisciplinary efforts to understand minds and intelligent systems. The hope is that the prizes will recognize and honor young researchers conducting ground-breaking research in cognitive science. The eventual goal is to aid in efforts to bridge between the areas of cognitive science and create theories of general interest to the multiple fields concerned with scientifically understanding the nature of minds and intelligent systems. Promoting a unified cognitive science is consistent with the belief that understanding how minds work will require the synthesis of many different empirical methods, formal tools, and analytic theories. 2011 was the inaugural year of this prize, and a new competition is held annually.

A Description of the Prizes

  1. Up to five Robert J. Glushko Dissertation/Ph.D. Thesis Prizes in Cognitive Science will be awarded annually. Each prize will be accompanied by a certificate and a $10,000 award to be used by the recipient without any constraints. Prize winners will also receive three years of complimentary membership in the Cognitive Science Society starting with the year in which they have won the prize.
  2. Prize-winning dissertations/Ph.D. theses are expected to transcend any one of the individual fields comprising cognitive science. They should centrally address issues of interest to multiple fields that comprise cognitive science, including: psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, neuroscience, and education.
  3. Prize-winners must have received a PhD degree no more than two years before the January 30 nomination deadline. For the 2015 prizes, dissertations will be considered from individuals who received their PhD degrees during the period from January 15, 2013 to January 15, 2015.
  4. The dissertation/Ph.D. thesis prizes are open to any student who has conducted dissertation/thesis research related to cognitive science, regardless of nationality or originating department.



The prizes are funded by the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation, based in San Francisco.

Robert J. Glushko is an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley who received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology in 1979 under David Rumelhart’s supervision. He is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Information (I-School) at the University of California, Berkeley. He also funds the David E. Rumelhart Prize for Contributions to the Theoretical Foundations of Human Cognition.


The Robert J. Glushko Prize is administered by the Prize Selection Committee in consultation with the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation. Screening of nominees and selection of the prize winner will be performed by the Prize Selection Committee. Scientific members (including the Chair) of the Prize Selection Committee will serve for up to two four-year terms, and are appointed by the Governing Board of The Cognitive Science Society in consultation with the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation. A representative of the Foundation also serves on the Prize Selection Committee.

Prize Committee

  • Linda B. Smith (Chair), Distinguished Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, United States
  • Kathleen Akins, Professor of Philosophy, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • Dedre Gentner, Professor of Psychology and of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University, United States
  • Adele Goldberg, Professor of Linguistics, Princeton University, United States
  • Tim Shallice, Professor of Neuropsychology, University College London, England
  • Thomas Griffiths, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of California-Berkeley, United States
  • John Laird, John L. Tischman Professor of Engineering, University of Michigan, United States


  1. The deadline for nominations is January 30. Self-nominations are welcome.
    Awardees will be announced by April 15.
  2. Candidates for the award or an advisor who nominates a candidate should submit the following materials electronically by the deadline above to this e-mail, in ascii, PDF, or Word format.
    • A cover letter indicating the name and current contact information for the candidate, title of the dissertation, Ph.D. institution, date on which the Ph.D. was awarded, and contact information for the three faculty who will be contributing letters of support.
    • A curriculum vitae of the candidate
    • The dissertation itself
    • A précis of no more than 4,000 words (references do not count in the word limit) written by the candidate describing the dissertation research. This description should clearly express the importance, novelty, and interdisciplinary contribution of the dissertation. The précis should be suitable for review by a broad spectrum of cognitive scientists.
  3. In addition, candidates or nominators should arrange for letters of support from three faculty members, sent individually by each letter-writer to this e-mail. The letters should explicitly describe how the dissertation research transcends a single field comprising cognitive science to address core issues of relevance to several fields. We recommend that these letters refer to particular sections of the dissertation to support claims for interdisciplinary importance.



  • Harm Brouwer – 2014 PhD thesis “The Electrophysiology of Language Comprehension: A Neurocomputational Model” from University of Groningen, précis
  • Da Cheong (Jena) Hwang – 2014 PhD thesis “Identification and Representation of Caused Motion Constructions” from University of Colorado, précis
  • Brenden Lake – 2014 PhD thesis “Towards more human-like concept learning in machines: Compositionality, causality, and learning-to-learn” from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, précis
  • Jessica Sullivan – 2014 PhD thesis “The Roles of Inference and Associative Learning in the Construction of Mappings Between Number Words and Numerical Magnitudes” from University of California – San Diego, précis


  • Samuel Gershman – 2013 PhD thesis “Memory Modification in the Brain: Computational and Experimental Investigations” from Princeton University, précis
  • Celeste Kidd – 2013 PhD thesis “Rational Approaches to Learning and Development” from University of Rochester, précis
  • Victoria Leong – 2013 PhD thesis “Speech Rhythm Cognition : A Multi-Disciplinary Account” from University of Cambridge, précis
  • Ian Lyons – 2012 PhD thesis “A Sense of Order: Ordinality and the meaning of symbolic numbers” from University of Chicago, précis
  • Takao Sasaki – 2013 PhD thesis “Psychology Of A Superorganism” from Arizona State University, précis


  • Douglas Knox Bemis – 2012 PhD thesis “Simple Composition During Language Processing: An MEG Investigation” from New York University, précis
  • Neil Cohn – 2012 PhD thesis “Structure, Meaning, and Constituency in Visual Narrative Comprehension” from Tufts University, précis
  • George Kachergis – 2012 PhD thesis “Mechanisms for Cross-Situational Learning of Word-Referent Mappings: Empirical and Modeling Evidence” from Indiana University,précis
  • Andrew Lovett – 2012 PhD thesis “Spatial Routines for Sketches: A Framework for Modeling Spatial Problem Solving” from Northwestern University, précis
  • Liad Mudrik – 2011 PhD thesis “Processing Visual Context Violations: The Roles of Attention and Awareness” from Tel Aviv University, précis


  • Timothy F. Brady – 2011 PhD thesis “Structured Representations in Visual Working Memory” – précis
  • Jennifer L. Culbertson – 2010 PhD thesis “Learning Biases, Regularization, and the Emergence of Typological Universals in Syntax” -” précis
  • Nazbanou Nozari – 2011 PhD thesis “Is Comprehension Necessary for Error Detection? A Conflict-based Account of Monitoring in Speech Production” – précis
  • Steven T. Piantadosi – 2011 PhD thesis “Learning and the language of thought” –précis
  • Rachel Wu – 2011 PhD thesis “Learning (to Learn) from Spatial Attention Cues During Infancy” – précis


  • Vera Demberg-Winterfors – 2010 PhD thesis “A Broad-Coverage Model of Prediction in Human Sentence Processing” – précis
  • Michael Frank – 2010 PhD thesis “Early Word Learning Through Communicative Inference” – précis
  • Chi-Tat Law – 2009 PhD thesis “Mechanisms of learning a visual motion discrimination task” – précis
  • Eric Mandelbaum – 2010 PhD thesis “The Architecture of Belief: An Essay on the Unbearable Automaticity of Believing” – précis
  • Edward Vul – 2010 PhD thesis “Sampling in human cognition” – précis


Inquiries should be sent to:

Linda Smith
Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Indiana University
1101 East 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

Nominations should be electronically sent to this e-mail.