Rick Dale

Cognitive scientist of human communication.

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.

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. My work is motivated by the ideas and tools used in the study of complex dynamical systems. I have also taken interest 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, and this more recent theoretical paper).

Forthcoming courses (tentative)

  • Winter 2019: COMM 130 (Science of Language)
  • Spring 2019: COMM 131 (Computer Models of Communicators)
  • Spring 2019: COMM 115 (Interpersonal Dynamics)

Some service to the field

Profile image: I had to leave this workshop early. I left my badge behind. The attendees drew me on the whiteboard, and dutifully affixed my badge. I remain honored. The name refers to phase-space reconstruction, or Takens's embedding. It's a beautiful thing.