I'm a cognitive scientist studying how people communicate and think. My primary focus is visual forms of communication — including the gestures that speakers produce, the signs of sign language, and graphical representations like timelines. 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



February 2018 – Read my piece for The Conversation about pointing across cultures. 

January 2018 – Check out our newest paper on Yupno communication and cognition—'The preference for pointing with the hand is not universal'—recently published in Cognitive Science.

October 2017 – The Center for Gesture, Sign, and Language hosted a conference titled 'The Body's Role in Thinking, Performing, and Referencing.' I presented our work on pointing in gesture and sign. 

October 2017 – I presented at the University of Illinois developmental brownbag on 'Spatial analogies in communication and cognition.'

June 2017 – Read 'When Gesture Becomes Analogy,' our contribution to a special issue of Topics in Cognitive Science honoring Dedre Gentner's Rumelhart Prize.

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


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.