Research Associate at the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, University of Cambridge

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2003-2007, B.S. in Symbolic Systems (Honors and With Distinction), Stanford University
2007-2012, Ph.D. in Cognitive Science (minor: Computational Linguistics), Indiana University at Bloomington


2012 “Computationally Estimating Geographical Information from User-Contributed Data,” (named postdoc; PI: Max Louwerse), $221,728
2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention
2008 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention
2008 Society for Computers in Psychology’s Castellan Award for Best Student Paper
2007 Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
2007 Accepted to Phi Beta Kappa
2005 Recipient of research grant from Undergraduate Research Programs (‘The Role of High-Level Knowledge in Event Perception’), Stanford University ($1,200)
2003 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology Regional Finalist (awarded 2003, funds received 2010; $1,000)


Selected Publications

Dryhurst, S., Schneider, C. R., Kerr, J., Freeman, A. L. J., Recchia, G., van der Bles, A. M., Spiegelhalter, D. & van der Linden, S. (2020). Risk perceptions of COVID-19 around the world. Journal of Risk Research. DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2020.1758193

Recchia, G. (2020). The fall and rise of AI: Investigating AI narratives with computational methods. In S. Dillon, S. Cave, & K. Dihal (Eds)., AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking About Intelligent Machines. Oxford University Press.

Recchia, G., Chiappi, A., Chandratillake, G., Raymond, L., Freeman, A. L. J. (2019). Creating genetic reports that are understood by nonspecialists: a case study. Genetics in Medicine. doi:10.1038/s41436-019-0649-0

Recchia, G. & Nulty, P. (2017). Improving a fundamental measure of lexical association. In G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, & E. Davelaar (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2963-2968). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Recchia, G., Jones, E., Nulty, P., Regan, J., & de Bolla, P. (2016). Tracing shifting conceptual vocabularies through time. In Ciancarini, P. et al. (Eds.): Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management: EKAW 2016 Satellite Events, EKM and Drift-an-LOD, Bologna, Italy, November 19–23, 2016, Revised Selected Papers (pp. 19-28). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International AG.

Gruenenfelder, T. M., Recchia, G., Rubin, T., & Jones, M. N. (2016). Graph-theoretic properties of networks based on word association norms: Implications for models of lexical semantic memory. Cognitive Science, 40(6), 1460-95. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12299

Hladish, T.J., Pearson, C.A.B, Chao, D.L., Rojas, D.P., Recchia, G.L., Gómez-Dantés, H., Halloran, M.E., Pulliam, J.R.C., & Longini, I.M. (2016). Projected impact of dengue vaccination in Yucatán, Mexico. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 10(5). doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004661

Recchia, G. & Louwerse, M. (2016). Archaeology through computational linguistics: Inscription statistics predict excavation sites of Indus Valley artifacts. Cognitive Science, 40(8), 2065-2080. doi: 10.1111/cogs.12311

Recchia, G., Sahlgren, M., Kanerva, P., & Jones, M. N. (2015). Encoding sequential information in semantic space models: Comparing holographic reduced representation and random permutation. Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience. doi: 10.1155/2015/986574

Recchia, G., & Louwerse, M. M. (2015). Reproducing affective norms with lexical co-occurrence statistics: Predicting valence, arousal, and dominance. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68(8), 1584-1598. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2014.941296

Louwerse, M. M., Hutchinson, S., Tillman, R., & Recchia, G. (2015). Effect size matters: the role of language statistics and perceptual simulation in conceptual processing. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 30(4), 430-447. doi: 10.1080/23273798.2014.981552

Recchia, G., Slater, A. L., & Louwerse, M. (2014). Predicting the good guy and the bad guy: Attitudes are encoded in language statistics. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1264-1269). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Recchia, G., & Louwerse, M. (2014). Grounding the ungrounded: Estimating locations of unknown place names from linguistic associations and grounded representations. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1270-1275). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Recchia, G. L., & Louwerse, M. M. (2013). A comparison of string similarity measures for toponym matching. In Scheider, S., Adams, B., & Janowicz, K. (Eds.), Proceedings of 2013 ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Computational Models of Place (pp. 54-61). Orlando, FL: ACM.

Recchia, G. L., & Jones, M. N. (2012). The semantic richness of abstract concepts. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6(315). doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00315

Jones, M. N., Johns, B. T., Recchia, G. L. (2012). The role of semantic diversity in lexical organization.  Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(2), 115-124. doi: 10.1037/a0026727

Hard, B., Recchia, G., & Tversky, B. (2011). The shape of action. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(4), 586-604. doi: 10.1037/a0024310

Cox, G., Kachergis, G., Recchia, G., & Jones, M. N. (2011). Towards a scalable holographic word-form representation. Behavior Research Methods, 43(3), 602-615.

Kachergis, G., Recchia, G., & Shiffrin, R. M. (2011). Adaptive magnitude and valence biases in a dynamic memory task. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 819-824. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Jones, M. N., & Recchia, G. L. (2010). You can’t wear a coat rack: A binding framework to avoid illusory feature migrations in perceptually grounded semantic models. In S. Ohlsson and R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Cognitive Science Society, 877-882. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Recchia, G., & Jones, M. N. (2009). More data trumps smarter algorithms: Comparing pointwise mutual information with latent semantic analysis. Behavior Research Methods, 41(3), 647-656. Version presented at the Society for Computers in Psychology won Castellan Award for Best Student Paper, 2008.

Recchia, G., Johns, B. T., & Jones, M. N. (2008). Context repetition benefits are dependent on context redundancy. In V. Sloutsky, K. McRae, & B. Love (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Cognitive Science Society, 267-272. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Hard, B. and Recchia, G. (2006). Reading the language of action. In R. Sun & N. Miyake (Eds.), Proceedings of the 28th Cognitive Science Society, 1434-1439.


Recchia, G. L. (2012). Investigating the semantics of abstract concepts: Evidence from a property generation game. Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University. Raw data, tagged data, and codebooks available here.

Selected Presentations

(See the above “Publications” section for presentations with published conference or workshop proceedings.)

Recchia, G., Nulty, P., Jones, E., Regan, J. & de Bolla, P. (2018). A network methods approach to exploring conceptual forms. Invited presentation to the 20th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL), workshop on Computational approaches to investigating meaning in the history of the English language: The challenge to theories of historical semantics. University of Edinburgh, 29 Aug 2018.

Recchia, G. (2017). Fall and rise of AI: Computational methods for investigating cultural narratives. Invited presentation to AI Narratives: Workshop 1, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and the Royal Society, 16 May 2017, Hughes Hall, Cambridge.

Recchia, G. (2017). Words of a feather flock together. McMenemy Seminar Series, Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

de Bolla, P., Jones, E., Nulty, P., Recchia, G., & Regan, J. (2016). The Concept Lab. Invited presentation to The Stanford Literary Lab and Alan Liu’s research group at UC Santa Barbara.

Regan, J. J. & Recchia, G. (2016). An introduction to distributional conceptual analysis. Invited talk at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, UK.

Recchia, G. (2016). Tracing concepts through time. Invited talk at Natural Language and Information Processing Seminar Series, University of Cambridge, UK.

Recchia, G. (2016). Computational thinking: Games, tools, and resources. Invited talk/workshop at Leysin American School, Leysin, Switzerland.

Recchia, G. (2016). Big data in the social sciences and the humanities. Invited talk/workshop at Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership: Workshop on Big and Small Data, University of Cambridge, UK. Workshop report available here.

Recchia, G. (2015). Considerations for evaluating models of language understanding and reasoning. Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) RAM (Reasoning, Attention, Memory) Workshop, Montreal, Canada.

Recchia, G. (2015). Making sense of language: It’s okay to count. Invited talk at Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK.

Recchia, G. (2015). The unreasonable effectiveness of co-occurrence based models. Big Data Methods for Social Sciences and Policy, University of Cambridge, UK.

Jameson, E. & Recchia, G. (2015). From audience to architect: how participants become designers crafting with creative technologies. Keynote presentation at eLearning 2.0. Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK.

Recchia, G. (2013). Using textual similarity for toponym matching and place estimation. Invited talk presented at NARP 2013, Washington, DC.

Recchia, G. (2013). The role of distinctive features and contexts in semantic organization. Invited talk presented at the University of Memphis Cognitive Science Seminar, Memphis, TN.

Recchia, G. & Jones, M. N. (2012). The role of context in abstract concept representation. Talk presented at the Midwest Cognitive Science Conference in Bloomington, IN.

Recchia, G. & Jones, M. N. (2012). Different representational frameworks for abstract and concrete words? A closer look. Poster presented at the 2012 Context & Episodic Memory Symposium in Bloomington, IN.

Smith-Robbins, S., Ricci, M., Jameson, E., & Recchia, G. (2012). Using ARGs for learning: Creating games with social media. Workshop presented as part of the Games and Learning Event Series, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Indiana University.

Beasley, A., & Recchia, G. (2012). Virtual agents and motivation: Toward an empirical link. Poster presented at the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Recchia, G., Kievit-Kylar, B., Jones, M. N., & McRae, K. (2011). Using web games to elicit associative and feature-based conceptual representations. Poster presented at the Society for Computers in Psychology.

Recchia, G. & Jones, M. N. (2011). Crowdsourcing large-scale semantic feature norms. Talk presented at the Midwest Cognitive Science Conference in East Lansing, MI.

Fennewald, T., Recchia, G. & Jameson, E. (2011). Examining reflective awareness in gaming experience. Talk presented at Games for Change in New York, NY.

Recchia, G., Mota, P., Fennewald, T., & Jameson, E. (2011). Happy pets, happy players: Designing virtual pets to foster mindfulness and collaborative practices. Poster presented at Games, Learning, and Society in Madison, WI.

Recchia, G. & Saleh, A. (2011). Connecting ethical choices in games to moral frameworks. Ethical Inquiry through Video Game Play and Design: A Symposium, Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN.

Kuperman, V., Bresnan, J., & Recchia, G. (2011). Incremental production of the English dative constructions. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America.

Recchia, G. L., & Jones, M. N. (2010). Modeling semantic feature effects without features. Poster presented at the Society for Computers in Psychology.

Kuperman, V., Bresnan, J., Recchia, G. & Ford, M. (2010). Converging evidence from production and comprehension of dative constructions in English. Poster presented at the CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference.

Recchia, G. (2008). STRATA: A Search Tool for Richly Annotated and Time-Aligned Data. Poster presented at the Society for Computers in Psychology.


Designed & taught Literary Critical Coding, a graduate training series in Python programming and digital methods for the humanities. Faculty of English, University of Cambridge. 8-week pilot in Easter Term 2016; expanded to 16-week program for Lent & Easter terms of 2017 & 2018.

Co-taught Machine Reading the Archive, a digital methods development programme organised by Cambridge Digital Humanities Network, Cambridge Big Data and the Cambridge Digital History Programme, University of Cambridge. Lent/Easter Term 2017, Lent Term 2018. Workshops organized include Digital Research Project Design for Beginners, Curating Your Own Digital Archive, Introduction to Webscraping, Introduction to OCR.


Current member (2021) of the Cognitive Science Society

Have served as an external reviewer for the National Science Foundation, as well as a reviewer for the following journals: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review; Cognitive Science; Cognition; Topics in Cognitive Science; Behavior Research Methods; Cognitive Processing; Frontiers in Psychology – Cognition (Review Editor); Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology (co-reviewer); Games, Learning, & Society; Behaviour & Information Technology; Data & Knowledge Engineering

Book proposals and book chapters reviewed:

  • Quantitative Semantics, ed. Sverker Sikström (proposal). Springer.
  • Big Data in Cognitive Science: From Methods to Insights, ed. Michael Jones. Taylor & Francis.
  • Learning, Education & Games, Volume 2: Bringing Games into Educational Contexts, ed. Karen Schrier. ETC Press.

Co-organized the University Keywords Senior Seminar (31 March 2017) at University of Cambridge, a workshop on the changing nature of university discourse & computational investigations thereof (co-convened with Alison Wood, Ruth Abbott, Richard Oosterhoff, John Regan, Paul Nulty)

Past member or affiliate of American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Society for Computers in Psychology; past volunteer for Games, Learning, & Society


University of Cambridge, 2014-present

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, 2018-present
Research Associate

  • Conducting experimental research on methods for communicating risks and benefits
  • Lead on user testing, including quant/qual evaluation of variables related to user experience (e.g. comprehension of visualizations, wording, etc.) for health-related communications tools (e.g. genetic reports, Predict 2.1)

Cambridge Centre for Digital Knowledge, Concept Lab, 2014-2018
Research Associate

  • Developing novel computational methods that can be used to investigate isomorphisms among concepts, to track how they change over time, and to characterize their properties. Specific interests include concepts of place and space, abstract concepts, and methods for combining language-based statistics with other sources of information
  • Developing and designing computational tools to allow humanities researchers to understand and visualise statistical properties of word occurrences in large historical textual datasets
  • Applying network methods to evaluate models of conceptual relatedness in semantic memory

University of Memphis, 2013-2014

Institute for Intelligent Systems, Multimodal Aspects of Discourse (MAD) Lab
IC postdoctoral fellow

  • Developing co-occurrence based algorithms to estimate geographical information (e.g., longitude, latitude, and population size of a city) from text (e.g., newspapers that do not explicitly describe such geographical information)
  • Investigated the role that semantic representations play in a variety of cognitive tasks (place estimation, conceptual processing, valence estimation)

Indiana University, 2007-2012

Cognitive Computing Lab
(advisor: Professor Michael N. Jones)
Doctoral candidate, associate instructor, graduate research assistant

  • Developed and investigated computational models of semantic representation, with special attention to demonstrating how simple, neurally plausible mechanisms can extract meaning from noisy, unsupervised data
  • Served as associate instructor for Experiments and Models in Cognition (Q270) and Statistical Techniques (K300)

Stanford University, 2003-2007

Spoken Syntax Lab (advisors: Professor Joan Bresnan, Professor Tom Wasow)

  • Developed search and analysis tools for repositories of temporal, phonological, syntactic and semantic annotations of spontaneous speech
  • Added temporal alignments and other information to a database of 2,350 English datives from the Switchboard corpus; investigated syntactic priming of the dative alternation with the R statistical package

Space, Time, and Action Research Lab (director: Professor Barbara Tversky; supervisor: Dr. Bridgette Hard)

  • Awarded URP grant of $1,200 for research on hierarchical encoding of events in action perception
  • Developed computational metric for quantifying low-level cues in perceived action; assisted in data analysis and conducting experiments

Social Cognitive Development Lab (supervisor: Bridgette Hard)

  • Created experimental stimuli for eye-tracking study and assisted in conducting experiments

SemLab (director: Stanley Peters; supervisor: Elizabeth Bratt)

  • Contributed to development of speech interface of DC-Train, a Navy damage control simulator
  • Developed coding scheme for speech acts and coded videos of tutor-student interactions in Transana


Substantial experience with C#, JavaScript, Typescript, Node.js, Python, HTML/CSS, and statistical packages such as R and SPSS.

Substantial experience with algorithms, software packages and resources used in semantic modeling, including NLTK, word2vec, scikit-learn, WordNet, Latent Semantic Analysis, random indexing, etc.

Earned specialization certificate for Data Science, a 9-course specialization by Johns Hopkins University on Coursera, on February 1, 2016.