We study what people know about the meanings of words and sentences, and how young children acquire knowledge like that. We combine cutting-edge thought in philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive psychology to investigate this remarkable human ability: the capacity to produce and understand language. 

Our research is conducted by Principal Investigator Alexis Wellwood in collaboration with and supported by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students drawn from at least one of Philosophy, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Computer Science. Learn more about our current team!

The Meaning Lab was founded in August 2017. Previously, Professor Wellwood founded and directed the ChiLDlab at Northwestern University. Our recent focus has been on thought and talk of events, using words like more and most as a probe. Learn more about our projects and publications!

We conduct short, fun research studies with preschool-aged children and adults. If you or someone you know has a child who is interested in participating in research studies online, check out our available studies and those of other participating labs on MIT's Lookit page; you can find more information here

The Meaning Lab is more than just a hub for research in experimental semantics. We host biweekly, public research talks by faculty and graduate students, attended by a broad array of people from across our participating academic units at USC and beyond. Check out our current and past schedules!