My specialty is in the area of cognitive psychology. But I'm probably better identified as a general psychologist whose research interests range over many of the traditional areas of psychological inquiry. In principle, I could therefore work with a student in any area provided that this student can get me interested in the topic her or she cares about.
In more detail, my own current interests are as follows:
1. For the most part, they focus on what is called "cognitive psychology," especially language (mostly in collaboration with Lila Gleitman), memory and attention.
a. Lila and I, together with several graduate students are presently working on the extent to which syntactic constraints determine semantic meaning, and on 'syntactic bootstrapping', the way in which such constraints affect language learning in the young child.
b. I'm also working (again with Lila Gleitman and several graduate students) on what we call 'symmetrical predicates" such as equal, equal, near, and meet, for which it is the case that if A is X of B (where X is the predicate), it is also true that B is X of A. Some years ago, Amos Tversky and his collaborators suggested that the symmetry of similar is by no means perfect, since sentences such as "South Korea is similar to China" seemed somehow better and more acceptable than "China is similar to South Korea". On the basis of such findings they concluded that similarity is not a symmetrical concept. Our own work, however, shows that these imperfect symmetries hold for other symmetrical predicates too. Thus "Sam meets the Pope" is more acceptable than "The Pope meets Sam", "The bicycle is near the garage" is more acceptable than "The garage is near the bicycle." and so on. From this we conclude that the asymmetry is not in the concepts near, similar, etc. but in the subject-predicate relationship that's in the syntax. I hope to do further studies to study what if any semantic relationship underlies the arguments that force these asymmetries, that is, in what way is South Korea to China as Sam is to the Pope and the bicycle is to the garage.
2. A different interest of mine is in matters related to the psychology of the arts, especially figurative language, humor, and the psychology of the drama.
1. General Psychology
Gleitman, H. 1992 Basic Psychology, 3rd edition. New York, N.Y.: Norton.
Gleitman, H. Some trends in the study of cognition. In S. Koch and D.E. Leary (Eds.), A Century of Psychology as Science. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1985, 420-436.
Gleitman, H. Introducing Psychology. American Psychologist, 1984, 39(4), 421-427.
2. Language and Language Learning
Fisher, C., Gleitman, L.R., and Gleitman, H. Relations between verb syntax and semantics. Cognitive Psychology (in press).
Gleitman, L., Gleitman, H., Landau, B., and Wanner, E. 1988. Where learning begins: Initial representations for language learning. In F.J. Newmeyer (Ed.) Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey, Vol. 3, Language: Psychological and Biological Aspects. New York: Cambridge University Press, 150-193.
Armstrong, Sharon Lee, Gleitman, Lila R., and Gleitman, Henry. What some concepts might not be. Cognition, 1983, 13, 263-308.
3. Psychology of Humor, Play, and Drama:
Gleitman, H. 1990 Some reflections on drama and the dramatic experience. In Rock, I. (Ed.), The legacy of Solomon Asch. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.
Parrott, W. G. and Gleitman, H. 1989 Infants' expectations in play": The joy of peek-a-boo. Cognition and Emotion, 3, 291-311.
4. Spatial Representation:
Landau, B., Spelke, E., and Gleitman, H. Spatial knowledge in a young blind child. Cognition, 1984, 16, 225-260.