Carson G. Miller Rigoli

Cognitive Scientist Rhythm Scientist Occasional Linguist History Enthusiast Yes, I have two last names

About me



Cognitive Scientist

I'm a doctoral candidate in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego. While Cognitive Science means a lot of things to a lot of people, I study humans. In particular, I study how humans learn to control and time their actions. I study how we are able to time our actions in rhythmic patterns, like those we see in music and speech. Questions I ask may be about individual psychology like "how does both long-term and short-term learning change how we time our actions?", about biological and cultural evolution like "how can we infer long-term evolutionary processes using only short-term lab studies of noisy human behavior?", or about data analysis like "how can we best combine expert knowledge and unsupervised learning tools to preprocess messy biophysical data?".


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Human Research Methods

In my research, I have used data collection methods that span much of the cognitive sciences and include approaches like electrophysiology, ethnography, linguistic elicitation, motor synchronization tasks and psychophysics. I am the 2019-2020 UC San Diego Cognitive Science Graduate Study Design Consultant, an elected position in which I offer assistance in research design and data analysis.

Computational Methods

I use tools from machine learning, time series analysis and music information retrieval (MIR) to process and analyze both human behavior recorded in the lab and large datasets such as the Million Song Dataset. In the cognitive science tradition, I supplement my empirical work with simulation and have built dynamical, neural network and statistical models to better understand human motor timing behavior.

Science Studies

In addition to practicing science, I have long held an interest in empirical, critical and historical approaches to understanding how scientific research operates and interacts with society at large. I have been part of a team investigating the dynamics of cognitive science as a unified academic field, with some findings available here.


I have served as instructor of record or teaching assistant for 14 unique undergraduate and graduate level cognitive science courses covering topics in computing, data analysis, language, neuroscience, psychology, and more. I have also worked as a volunteer English instructor and teaching assistant in rural South Mexico.


I have organized two 10-week talk series with internationally recognized speakers who came to La Jolla to discuss "Social Impacts of Cognitive and Information Sciences" and the "Past Present and Future of Mental Representation". I also served on the program committee and designed physical materials for the 2017 meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cogntion -- check out the program here.

Weird Stuff

As a member of an incredibly academically diverse community, I have had the wonderful oportunity to explore a wide range of topics related to cognition, life, development, history and evolution. Some of these side projects have resulted in academic work (eg. my presentation at the 2018 Cultural Evolution Society), while others have not. If you want to talk plant intelligence or how information theory can be best understood as a semiotic system, please send me a line!

Carson Miller Rigoli
San Diego, Calif.