Brendan T. Johns, PhD



Society for Computation in Psychology


Brendan T. Johns, PhD

McGill University, Canada

"Researcher Uses Machine Learning to Understand Cognitive Processes of Language"

Dr. Brendan Johns is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at McGill University, serving since January 2020, where he runs the McGill Cognitive Computing Laboratory. He is also an Associate Editor of Behavior Research Methods. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at the University at Buffalo. Before becoming a faculty member, Dr. Johns was an NSERC post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, under the supervision of Dr. Douglas J. K. Mewhort. He received his Ph.D. at IU under the supervision of Dr. Michael N. Jones in the Cognitive Computing Lab in August 2012. He received his Bachelor of Computing (with a major in Cognitive Science) from Queen’s University in 2007.

Dr. Johns’ research interests lie in big data and machine learning approaches to cognitive science. His research focuses on the development of large-scale computational models of cognition, with a specific emphasis on understanding the computational mechanisms that support the acquisition and representation of semantic information from naturalistic big data, as well as how this knowledge is used in online natural language processing and memory retrieval. The goal of this research is to develop cognitively plausible machine learning models that can further our understanding of human cognition. Additionally, his research involves using these models to gain a better understanding of the effects of lifelong learning on cognitive aging, bilingualism, and memory and language disorders.