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From the Director

Matthew Dye

Faculty, staff, and students in the Sensory, Perceptual, and Cognitive Ecology (SPACE) Center conduct research into how deaf children and adults make sense of the world using their visual abilities. We avoid ableist misconceptions of deaf individuals, focusing instead on how being deaf transforms the ways in which individuals navigate and explore the world around them.

Matthew Dye
Associate Dean of Research

About the Center

We study the sensory, perceptual and cognitive abilities of deaf individuals over the lifespan, from infancy to adulthood. Our guiding philosophy is that deaf individuals are not just passively transformed by their deafness; they also actively engage with and shape their environments.

SPACE promotes transparent ("open") science in an accessible environment free from harassment and judgment that allows all individuals to achieve their learning goals and desired employment outcomes. We encourage all interested students, staff and faculty to engage with us and learn more about what we do.


  • May 9, 2022

    mother and child reading a Sesame Street book.

    New lab studies cognitive development in children

    Rain Bosworth, an assistant professor and experimental psychologist at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, has created a new research lab that will help scientists learn more about cognition, language, and perception in infants and young children.

  • January 31, 2022

    student wearing sensors on her head adjusts a robotic arm.

    AI research collaboration begins

    Cecilia Alm, an associate professor in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, was awarded nearly $2 million by the National Science Foundation to lead a team of RIT faculty addressing a lack of diversity in the artificial intelligence research community and gaps in AI curricula.

  • January 11, 2021

    professor wearing labcoat and examining a grow on a petri dish.

    RIT Sponsored Research garners $82 million

    RIT had its best year ever for sponsored research funding. For fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30, RIT received 382 new awards totaling $82 million. The record funding follows almost $58 million in research expenditures in fiscal year 2019, also a record.

  • September 4, 2020

    two researchers posing in front of poster presentation.

    RIT/NTID researchers study how deaf and hearing people watch sign language

    A recent study has shown that readers’ eye gaze behaviors are strong indicators of words that are unexpected, new, or difficult to understand. The study by Rain Bosworth, an assistant professor and researcher at NTID, explores the unknown qualities of gaze behavior for “sign watching” and how these are affected by a user’s language expertise and intelligibility of the sign input.  

  • March 13, 2019

    Head-and-shoulders view of man with glasses

    New research unlocking the secrets of how languages change

    New research is helping scientists around the world understand what drives language change, especially when languages are in their infancy. The results will shed light on how the limitations of the human brain change language and provide an understanding of the complex interaction between languages and the human beings who use them.