Research Interests

As a defining hallmark of our species, human language is a Complex Adaptive System. Regarding this system, my research concerns: the origins and evolution of language, the unique ways in which biology and culture interact during language learning, and the roles of language and literacy related skills on reading behavior. My research questions include: how human cognitive capacity enables us to process language structures, how socio-cultural constraints influence the dynamics of language change, and how individual difference in reading skills interact with lexical properties during online reading. My research approaches include: computational modeling, language learning experiments, and eye-tracking reading experiments.


Ph.D. Language Engineering Laboratory, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2007.

Recent Publications

Chirkova, K. & Gong, T. (2014). Simulating vowel chain shift in Xumi. Lingua, 152: 65-80.

Gong, T., Shuai, L., & Zhang, M. (2014). Modeling language evolution: Examples and predictions (target article). Physics of Life Reviews, 11: 280-302.

Zhang, M. & Gong, T. (2013). Principles of parametric estimation in modeling language competition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 110(24): 9698–9703.

Gong, T. & Shuai, L. (2012). Modeling the coevolution of joint attention and language. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279(1747): 4643–4651.

Baronchelli, A., Gong, T., Puglisi, A., & Loreto, V. (2010). Modeling the emergence of universality in color naming patterns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 107(6): 2403–2407.

Grant information:

Individual Differences in Learning Potential for Language and Literacy (1R01HD071988-01A1, National Institutes of Health, USA)

See more of my publications at Google scholar website




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