I'm a cognitive scientist studying communication and cognition. A particular focus is how people communicate visually — in gestures, sign language, and graphical representations. I'm interested in what shapes these forms of expression and what they reveal about the human mind. My projects have involved experiments in the lab, analyses of multimodal corpora, and fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and Mexico.

For more info, check out the rest of this site, see my CV, send me an email (kensy at, or find me on Twitter: @kensycoop



June 2017 – Later this month I'll travel to Rome for a conference on the theme of 'Language as a form of action'. I will be presenting our work comparing pointing in gesturers and signers.

June 2017 – Read my review of the The Book of Circles in Science

May 2017 – In traveled to Pamplona, Spain for a workshop titled 'Time concepts and their expression: creativity, cognition, communication.' The abstract of my presentation—'Research on time concepts: Where we are and where we could go'—is available here.

March 2017 – Read our new article—'Where does the ordered line come from?'—in Psychological Science

December 2016 – Check out our paper—'Spatial analogies pervade complex relational reasoning'— in the new journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

December  2016 – I attended a specialist meeting on ‘Universals and Variation in Spatial Referencing across Languages and Cultures’ in Santa Barbara. Read my position paper on the value of studying “ecologies of spatial language.”

November 2016 – Check out our new piece—‘How we make sense of time’—for Scientific American Mind.


Media coverage

Our work on how Yupno uphill-downhill concepts are used indoors was covered by National Geographic.

Our research on pointing in the Yupno valley of Papua New Guinea was recently covered by Only Human, a National Geographic blog.

Our work on Yupno metaphors for time was featured in Science and in New Scientist.

Our research on Yupno intuitions about the number line was covered by New Scientist.