Plaut Lab - Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. David C. Plaut

I'm a Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University with a joint appointment in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. My research involves using computational modeling, complemented by empirical studies, to investigate the nature of normal and disordered cognitive processing in the domains of high-level vision, reading and language, and semantics. My modeling work is cast within a connectionist or neural network framework, in which cognitive processes are implemented in terms of cooperative and competitive interactions among large numbers of simple, neuron-like processing units. These models can provide insight into how cognitive processes are implemented in the brain, and how disorders of brain function lead to disorders of cognition. I'm particularly interested in studying the effects of damage in connectionist networks as a way of understanding the nature of cognitive impairments that can arise following brain damage, and in exploring ways of retraining damaged networks to inform patient rehabilitation. I'm also interested in the implications of connectionist learning principles for the nature of normal and abnormal cognitive development.  

Representative Publications

  • Behrmann, M., and Plaut, D.C. (2013). Distributed circuits, not circumscribed centers, mediate visual cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17, 210-219. (link)
  • Botvinick, M., and Plaut, D.C. (2006). Short-term memory for serial order: A recurrent neural network model. Psychological Review, 113, 201-233. (link)
  • Botvinick, M., and Plaut, D.C. (2004). Doing without schema hierarchies: A recurrent connectionist approach to normal and impaired routine sequential action. Psychological Review, 111, 395-429. (link)
  • Plaut, D.C., and Booth, J. R. (2000). Individual and developmental differences in semantic priming: Empirical and computational support for a single-mechanism account of lexical processing. Psychological Review, 107, 786-823. (link)
  • Plaut, D.C., McClelland, J. L., Seidenberg, M. S., and Patterson, K. (1996). Understanding normal and impaired word reading: Computational principles in quasi-regular domains. Psychological Review, 103, 56-115. (link)
  • Plaut, D.C., and Shallice, T. (1993). Deep dyslexia: A case study of connectionist neuropsychology. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 10, 377-500. (link)

A picture of Dr. David C. Plaut, Ph.D.

B.A. in Mathematics and Cognitive Science: University of Rochester, Rochester NY

Ph.D. in Computer Science: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA


Recent publications


Behrmann, M., and Plaut, D.C. (2015). A vision of graded hemispheric specialization. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. (link)

Armstrong, B.C., Zugarramurdi, C., Cabana, A., Lisboa, J.V., and Plaut, D.C. (2015). Relative meaning frequencies for 578 homonyms in two Spanish dialects: A cross-linguistic extension of the English eDom norms. Behavior Research Methods. (link)

Dundas, E.M., Plaut, D.C., and Behrmann, M. (2015). Variable left-hemisphere language and orthographic lateralization reduces right-hemisphere face lateralization. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 913-925. (link)