When we listen to someone talk, we not only attempt to understand the meanings of the words they are saying, but we also make inferences about the speaker based on aspects of their speech. My work examines the intersection of these two processes. In general, I ask: What do listeners expect, understand, evaluate, and remember from others’ speech, particularly when that speech sounds different than their own? What factors influence these processes? In this way, I am fundamentally interested in variability, from variability in the speech signal (from different talkers, native languages, accents, styles, contexts, etc.) to variability introduced by the listener (their experiences, attitudes, biases, and attentional states).
I take an interdisciplinary approach to answering these questions, bringing in methodologies and insights from phonetics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. I also have a strong applied angle to my work, aiming to reduce linguistic prejudice and discrimination of accented speakers.
Other research areas include: prediction and expectation in language comprehension; social meaning across the lifespan; voice identification and memory; phonetic category learning; sociophonetics; machine learning; data visualization.
For more information, see my research projects, or my CV.