Kushin Mukherjee

Psychology PhD student

University of Wisconsin-Madison


I'm a first year Psychology PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My primary interest is in the nature of visual concepts. How are they learned? Why are they useful? Can machines be taught these concepts? I study drawings as a means to answer these questions.

I'm affiliated with the Knowledge and Concepts Lab, Schloss Visual Reasoning Lab, Austerweil Lab, and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. I grew up in Kolkata, India, a bustling city with hot summers and torrential monsoons. Noticing a distinct lack of snow in my climate collection, I moved to upstate New York, where I received my BA in Cognitive Science and Japanese from Vassar College.

While at Vassar, I was advised by Ken Livingston and Josh de Leeuw. I also spent a summer at the Computation and Cognition Lab at Stanford University as a CSLI intern, working with Judy Fan and Robert Hawkins.


  • Graphical communication
  • Neural network models of cognition
  • Probabilistic modeling


  • BA, Cognitive Science and Japanese, 2019

    Vassar College



PhD in Psychology

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sep 2019 – Present Madison
I'm currently interestered in how people learn visual concepts and how these concepts might support behavior such as sketching.
I use a combination of behavioral experiments and computational modeling techniques to try and answer these questions. My primary advisor is Tim Rogers.

BA in Cognitive Science and Japanese

Vassar College

Aug 2015 – May 2019 New York

I was introduced to Cognitive Science at Vassar through Ken Livingston's freshman writing seminar - The Science and Fiction of Mind.
The title of my undergraduate thesis was Visual Cognition and Graphical Production: Exploring Semantic Part Structure in Communicative Sketches.
I also picked up a second major in Japanese, and spent the summer of 2016 studying at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo.
Josh de Leeuw introduced me to computational modeling in cognitive science, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to minor in Mathematics.

I was also involved with Vassar Debate and was a member of the Vassar Men's Rugby Team during my undergraduate years.


High School

La Martiniere for Boys

Apr 2000 – May 2015 Kolkata, India
I spent 15 years in La Martiniere from nursery school till 12th grade and made many lifelong friends.
I focused on STEM subjects in high school though I really wanted to do studio art.


(2019). Communicating semantic part information in drawings. Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.

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