I am currently on leave from the University of Oregon, and am an Assistant Research Professor at the Language Science Center at the University of Maryland.
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 about 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).
In other words, I study the cognitive aspects of sociolinguistics, or, the social aspects of speech processing. To do this takes an interdisciplinary approach; I use 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 discrimination toward marginalized speakers, and am involved in a range of outreach projects that bring language science to the public.
Other research areas include: prediction and expectation in language comprehension; social meaning across the lifespan; voice identification and memory; sociophonetics; phonetic category learning; machine learning.
For more information, see my research projects, or my CV.