About us

We are a group of researchers investigating human language, computation, and human cognition. We are based at Saarland University and Saarland Informatics Campus, Germany.

Our research studies the following topics:

  • Machine Learning for Language: How do neural language models comprehend language? What explains their success, and what are their limitations? For example, we have investigated the expressive power of transformer models to model recursive structure (TACL 2020) and probed the linguistic knowledge of language models (TACL 2019).

  • Computational Cognitive Science: How does the human mind process information, and how does this shape language? In recent work, we have augmented GPT-2 with memory limitations to examine what makes recursion difficult for humans (PNAS 2022a), propose that grammar reflects pressures towards efficient language use (PNAS 2020, PNAS 2022b), and have developed a unifying theory of biases in human perception across domains (Nature Neuroscience 2024).

Meet the Team

Principal Investigator


Michael Hahn

Assistant Professor



Sasha Bakalova

Research Assistant


Xinting Huang

PhD Student


Kate McCurdy

Postdoctoral Researcher


Mark Rofin

Research Assistant


Yash Sarrof

Research Assistant


Every semester, we organize a range of graduate-level seminars where we read current research papers.

Summer 2024 Seminar Compositionality in Language and Computation (Kate McCurdy).
Summer 2024 Seminar Probing and Analyzing Neural Language Models (Xinting Huang).
Summer 2024 Seminar Aligning Language Models with Human Preferences, Methods and Challenges (Michael Hahn).
Summer 2024 Seminar Neural Networks in Brains and Computers (Michael Hahn).
Winter 2023/24 Seminar Language Models as Cognitive Models (Kate McCurdy).
Winter 2023/24 Foundations of Mathematics (Michael Hahn).

Joining the Lab

If you’re interested in joining, please do not hesitate to contact us at mhahn@lst.uni-saarland.de