My research is primarily motivated by offering language learners an opportunity to find their voice in written and spoken communication. At the heart of this is Empathy: understanding the perspective of others and conveying one’s own perspective. To this end, the primary pillars of my research involve finding and analyzing the pragmatic role of empathy in interaction as well as psycholinguistic experimentation into the correlations between Linguistic Empathy and Psychological Empathy.

Sample Papers

Psycholinguistics: Kann, T., Cohen, M.S., Gülser, M., Goldknopf, E., Berman, S., Erlikhman, G., Zaidel, E. Linguistic Empathy: Behavioral Measures, Neurophysiological Correlates, and Correlation with Psychological Empathy. Manuscript in Preparation.

  • Established neurophysiological correlates between grammatical perspective and empathy.
  • Led transdisciplinary team of professors, PhDs, grad students, undergrads as first author.

Dissertation: 2017. Measuring Linguistic Empathy: An Experimental Approach to Connecting Linguistic and Social Psychological Notions of Empathy.

  • Established behavioral correlate between grammatical perspective and empathy.
  • Proposed and established the notion of measuring a person’s capacity for Linguistic Empathy.

Educational Advocacy: 2015. Seeking Natural Interaction: A Comparison of Emergent Language within Developmental Therapies for Children with Autism.

  • Discourse analyses of therapeutic interaction with children with Autism Spectrum Condition.
  • Multi-modal transcriptions produced to analyze natural interaction and language processing.

Master’s Thesis: 2010. The Prosodical Son: Music’s Influence on the Evolution of Language.

  • Comprehensive literature review of the theories of language evolution.
  • Proposed music and intonation as catalyst for co-evolution of music and language


2019. Invited Speaker, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference: War of Words: Conflict/ing Narratives, Myth, and Folklore, UCLA. “Humor as Defensive and Offensive: Manipulating linguistic perspective in political and social media exchanges.”

2015. “Exploring Empathy and Language Acceptability through Electrophysiology,” UCLA (AppLing 10W: Fundamentals in Applied Linguistics)

2014. Co-presenter (with Distinguished Professor Olga Yokoyama) “EEG Methods in Pragmatics Research,” AMPRA, UCLA

2014. “Neurology, Language, and Empathy,” UCLA (AppLing 10W: Fundamentals in Applied Linguistics)

2012. Presenter “The Prosodical Son: The Influence of Music and other Modalities on Evolution of Language,” Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language Conference. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

2012. “‘Dude’ as a Term of Endearment between Males” UCLA (AppLing 40W: Language & Gender)

2012. “Identifying, Collecting, and Analyzing Conversational Nuances,” UCLA (AppLing 161W: Talk & The Body)

2010. “Intonation Incorporated: Prosodic Patterns in Speech” UCLA (AppLing 161W: Talk & The Body)