Cognitive Science is taking place in a variety of faculties and departments at SFU and includes a wide range of research

Cognitive Science Lab

The Cognitive Science Lab at SFU specializes in the study of human attention, learning, and concept formation.  It is equipped with a state-of-the-art eye tracker—a device that tracks eye movements—, which Mark Blair uses to study the early flow of information from the attentional system to higher-order knowledge and psychological abilities.

Computational Logic Laboratory

The Computational Logic Laboratory includes James P. Delgrande and Cognitive Science affiliate members David Mitchell, Oliver Schulte, and Eugenia Ternovska. This group of researchers is interested in the study of logics which are useful for expressing or solving computational problems, and the computational properties of those logics.

Experimental Syntax (XSyn) Lab 

The Experimental Syntax (XSyn) Lab focuses on the study of natural language syntax and its interface to semantics, using data obtained through controlled experimentation from both adults and children, and statistical patterns found in naturally occurring corpora. Directed by Chung-hye Han, the lab also does research on computational applications of linguistic theories, using mathematically well-defined grammar formalisms such as Tree Adjoining Grammars.

Human Motor Systems Laboratory

The Human Motor Systems Laboratory investigates the planning and control of human movements, as well as motor learning and skilled human performance. Here, co-director Christine MacKenzie, now Professor Emeritus, has been examining goal-directed human behaviour in natural, and computer-augmented environments.

iSpace Lab

The iSpace Lab, and Bernhard Riecke, aims to inves­ti­gate what con­sti­tutes effec­tive, robust, and intu­itive human spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion and behav­iour. This fun­da­men­tal knowl­edge will be applied to design novel, more effec­tive human-computer interfaces and inter­ac­tion par­a­digms that enable sim­i­lar processes in computer-mediated envi­ron­ments like vir­tual real­ity (VR) and multi-media.


 iVizLab is directed by Steve DiPaola. An interdisciplinary research lab that strives to make computational systems bend more to the human experience by incorporating biological, cognitive and behavioural knowledge models.

Laboratory for Logic and Experimental Philosophy

The Laboratory for Logic and Experimental Philosophy is directed by Ray Jennings.  The research in the LLEP focuses on Preservationist Logic and the biology of language.  The main objective is to support and advance philosophical research that exploits mathematical and other scientific concepts.

Language and Brain Lab

The Language and Brain Lab focuses on the study of language and speech, including its perception, production, and acquisition, as well as cognitive and neural processing. Yue Wang conducts behavioural and neuro-imaging research with both adults and children, across a variety of languages.

Language Learning and Development (LangDev) Lab

The LangDev Lab is directed by Henny Yeung, and examines language learning in infants and young children, as well as in adult learners who are studying a new language.  The goal of the LangDev lab, is to understand the relation between language learning and human perception and cognition.  We try to understand how language learning changes the way we perceive the world, and also try to identify the optimal conditions for accelerating language learning and development.

Logic and Functional Programming Group

The Logic and Functional Programming Group, directed by Veronica Dahl, is a strongly interdisciplinary group comprising members from Computing Sciences, Linguistics, Mathematics, Centre for Systems Science, Education, Engineering, who are found at SFU, UBC, UVic and Aizu University in Japan.  Logic programming is the art of using logic to describe knowledge in a more human-oriented way than is possible with traditional programming languages.

Metacreation Lab

Directed by Philippe Pasquier, the Metacreation Lab is a collaboration between scientists, experts in artificial intelligence, cognitive sciences and composer/creator of interactive computer music, the project aims to investigate the theory and practice of computational creativity, through the development of artificially creative musical systems (metacreations), computational models of human musical creativity, and computational systems for supporting musical creativity.

Natural Language Laboratory

The Natural Language Laboratory brings together students and professors in computing science and linguistics under the direction of Anoop Sarkar and former Director of the Cognitive Science Program, Fred Popowich. The lab conducts research in both the theory and applications of natural language processing, including information extraction, machine translation, semi-supervised learning of language and language processing tasks, and statistical syntactic and semantic parsing.

Neurophilosophy Research Group 

The Neurophilosophy Research Group with Kathleen Akins attempts to understand how various traditional, long-standing problems about the nature of the mind and the world can be resolved by current findings within the neurosciences. Dr. Akins also heads the McDonnell Project in the Neurosciences, an unprecedented $1 million line of research into the nature of colour vision. She and a group of philosophers and scientists around the world started a research program in 1999 asking what it means to see the world 'in colour'.

Phonology & Cognition Lab

The Phonology & Cognition Lab studies theoretical phonology and its intersections with theories of cognitive processes. The Phonology & Cognition Lab is directed by John Alderete and Ashley Farris-Trimble of SFU Linguistics and includes research associate Paul Tupper from Mathematics, and other academic institutions​,​including Guelph University, the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta, and the University of Toronto. See also, Vancouver Phonology Group:

Phonological Processing Lab

The Phonological Processing Lab is directed by Ashley Farris-Trimble.  The lab's primary focus is on how listeners use their language's sound system in the representation and recognition of words.  We use experimental methods to study how children and adults process phonological structure, including eye-tracking in the visual world paradigm to examine real-time phonological processing; other research methods include recorded and transcribed speech and phonetic and statistical analysis.  The lab is staffed by graduate and undergraduate research assistants.

Social Cognition and Interactive Expertise in Natural and Computational Environments (SCIENCE) Lab

The Social Cognition and Interactive Expertise in Natural and Computational Environments (SCIENCE) Lab, directed by Brian Fisher, conducts field studies and laboratory experiments to understand how humans can use information and communication technologies to achieve cognitive goals: understanding and knowledge-building, collaboration and coordination of activities. Much of this work falls under the label of visual analytics: the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces.