Jon Anthony Willits

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

  • Cognitive Development
  • Word learning, Semantic Development, and Knowledge Acquisition
  • Computational Modeling, Neural Networks, Natural Language Processing, and Data Science

Research Description

Jon Willits studies language and learning in infants, children, adults, and machines. His research uses computational, neurobiological, experimental, and naturalistic methods to better understand how people and machines learn, represent, and use languages and other forms of complex knowledge, especially word meanings and semantic knowledge.


PhD University of Wiscosnin Madison

Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Recent Publications

Minor, K. S., Willits, J. A., Marggraf, M. P., Jones, M. N., & Lysaker, P. H. (2019). Measuring disorganized speech in schizophrenia: Automated analysis explains variance in cognitive deficits beyond clinician-rated scales. Psychological Medicine, 49(3), 440-448.

Willits, J. A., Rubin, T., Jones, M. N., Minor, K. S., & Lysaker, P. H. (2018). Evidence of disturbances of deep levels of semantic cohesion within personal narratives in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 197, 365-369.

Huebner, P. A., & Willits, J. A. (2018). Structured semantic knowledge can emerge automatically from predicting word sequences in child-directed speech. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(FEB), [133].

Baayen, R. H., Shaoul, C., Willits, J. A., & Ramscar, M. (2016). Comprehension without segmentation: a proof of concept with naive discriminative learning. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(1), 106-128.

Willits, J. A., Amato, M. S., & MacDonald, M. C. (2015). Language knowledge and event knowledge in language use. Cognitive Psychology, 78, 1-27.

View all publications on Illinois Experts