Michael Jones

Michael Jones

Professor, Cognitive Science

Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences


  • Ph.D., Psychology, Queen’s University, January, 2005
  • M.A., Psychology, Queen’s University, August, 2001
  • B.A. (Hon), Psychology, Nipissing University, April, 1999

Research interests

My research focuses on language learning, comprehension, and knowledge representation in humans and machines. I employ a combination of computational and experimental techniques to examine large-scale statistical structure of certain environments (such as language corpora) with the goal of understanding how this structure could be learned and represented with the mathematical capabilities of human learning and memory. This line of my research has applications in machine learning and intelligent systems. The overall premise of my work is that complex behavior often naturally emerges as a product of many simple processors working together at a large scale in response to statistical redundancies in a complex environment.

Under the same unified theme of large-scale statistical learning, I study human associative and recognition memory, categorization, decision making, and the role of attention in reading and perception. I am particularly interested in the temporal dynamics of learning in all these domains, and how to model the time course of knowledge acquisition. My secondary interests involve the application of these models to practical problems in text mining, intelligent search algorithms, and automated comprehension and scoring algorithms.

Representative publications

Representing word meaning and order information in a composite holographic lexicon (2007)
Michael N Jones and Douglas JK Mewhort
Psychological review, 114 (1), 1

Optimal foraging in semantic memory (2012)
Thomas T Hills, Michael N Jones and Peter M Todd
Psychological review, 119 (2), 431

High-dimensional semantic space accounts of priming (2006)
Michael N Jones, Walter Kintsch and Douglas JK Mewhort
Journal of memory and language, 55 (4), 534-552

14 Semantic Memory (2013)
Ken McRae and Michael Jones
The Oxford handbook of cognitive psychology, 206

Activating event knowledge (2009)
Mary Hare, Michael Jones, Caroline Thomson, Sarah Kelly and Ken McRae
Cognition, 111 (2), 151-167

Maintenance of sinus rhythm with an ablation strategy in patients with atrial fibrillation is associated with a lower risk of stroke and death (2012)
Ross J Hunter, James McCready, Ihab Diab, Stephen P Page, Malcolm Finlay, Laura Richmond ...
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Cardiovascular Society. 98 (1), 48-53

More data trumps smarter algorithms: Comparing pointwise mutual information with latent semantic analysis (2009)
Gabriel Recchia and Michael N Jones
Behavior research methods, 41 (3), 647-656

Models of semantic memory (2015)
Michael N Jones, Jon Willits, Simon Dennis and Michael Jones
Oxford handbook of mathematical and computational psychology, 232-254

Redundancy in perceptual and linguistic experience: Comparing feature‐based and distributional models of semantic representation (2011)
Brian Riordan and Michael N Jones
Topics in Cognitive Science, 3 (2), 303-345

Case-sensitive letter and bigram frequency counts from large-scale English corpora (2004)
Michael N Jones and Douglas JK Mewhort
Behavior research methods, instruments, & computers, 36 (3), 388-396

The words children hear: Picture books and the statistics for language learning (2015)
Jessica L Montag, Michael N Jones and Linda B Smith
Psychological Science, 26 (9), 1489-1496

Allelic variants of complement genes associated with dense deposit disease (2011)
Maria Asuncion Abrera-Abeleda, Carla Nishimura, Kathy Frees, Michael Jones, Tara Maga, Louis M Katz ...
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 22 (8), 1551-1559

The semantic richness of abstract concepts (2012)
Gabriel Recchia and Michael Jones
Frontiers in human neuroscience, 6 315

Perceptual inference through global lexical similarity (2012)
Brendan T Johns and Michael N Jones
Topics in Cognitive Science, 4 (1), 103-120

Longitudinal changes in medial temporal cortical thickness in normal subjects with the APOE-4 polymorphism (2010)
Markus Donix, Alison C Burggren, Nanthia A Suthana, Prabha Siddarth, Arne D Ekstrom, Allison K Krupa ...
Neuroimage, 53 (1), 37-43

Dissertation Committee Service

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Denton, Stephen Exploring Active Learning in a Bayesian Framework (September 2009) Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Busemeyer, J. (Co-Chair), Jones, M., Todd, P.
Gokcesu, Bahriye S. Metaphor Processing and Polysemy (December 2007) Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Gershkoff-Stowe L., Jones, M.
Goldberg, Joshua When, Not Where A Dynamical Field Theory of Infant Gaze (January 2009) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Port, R., Schoner, G., Spencer, J.
Hanania, Rima Selective Attention and Attention Shifting in Preschool Children (August 2009) Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Gershkoff-Stowe, L. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Jones, S.
Johns, Brendan Language in Memory: Modeling the Influence of Linguistic Structure on Processing (August 2012) Jones, M. (Chair), Todd, P., Shiffrin, R., Yu, C.
Kachergis, George Earle Mechanisms for Cross-Situational Learning of Word-Referent Mappings: Empirical and Modeling Evidence (December 2012) Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Yu, C. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Jones, M., Kruschke, J.
Recchia, Gabriel Investigating the Semantics of Abstract Concepts: Evidence From a Property Generation Game (December 2012) Jones, M. (Chair), Goldstone, R., Kubler, S., Todd, P.
Riordan, Brian Comparing Semantic Space Models Using Child-directed Speech (March 2007) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Jones, M. (Co-Chair), Kubler, S., Yu, C.
Samuelson, L. K. Statistical Regularities in Vocabulary Guide Language Acquisition In 15-20-Month-Olds And Connectionist Models (June 2000) Smith, L. B. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Gasser, M., Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair)
Sanborn, Adam Uncovering Mental Representations with Markov Chain Monte Carl (September 2007) R. Shiffrin (Chair), R. Nosofsky, J. Gold, M. Jones
Sandhofter, C. M. Language Input And The Process of Learning Words: Evidence From Dimensional Adjectives (April 2002) Smith, L. B. (Chair), Gasser, M. E., Jones, S. S., Mix, K. S.
Yurovsky, Daniel Mechanisms of Statistical Word Learning (September 2012) Yu, C. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Shiffrin, R., Jones, S., Busemeyer, J.,
Zapf, Jennifer Comprehension production, and meaning: What the regular English plural can tell us about language (July 2007) Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Gierut, J (Co-Chair)., Gasser, M.