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. 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



July 2017 – Later this month I'll be in London for CogSci 2017 and Paris for the 4th Analogy conference. In both places I'll be presenting our new line of work on gesture and analogy.

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 – I was in Rome for a conference on the theme of 'Language as a form of action.' I presented 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


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.