I’m currently a postdoc at Villanova University, working with Dr. Joe Toscano in the Word Recognition & Auditory Processing Lab. I recently finished my Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, where I worked with Dr. Rachel Theodore in the Spoken Language Processing Lab.
Language is central to the human experience. However, there are many cognitive challenges that speakers and listeners alike must navigate for successful communication. My research focuses on one of the earliest steps in language comprehension: speech perception, which is characterized by mapping acoustic patterns to speech sound categories. Successful speech perception is often described in terms of finding a solution to the “lack of invariance problem.” Speakers can vary from each other in countless ways – for example, in their age, gender, accent, speaking rate, and more. As a result, any given speech sound can be represented by countless potential acoustic-phonetic patterns. Yet, these variable patterns must ultimately be mapped to the same speech sound category for successful speech and language comprehension. How do listeners accomplish this challenging computational feat? While much of speech perception research has historically focused on the “typical”, or modal language user, no two language users are quite the same, suggesting that there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to the lack of invariance problem.
The goal of my research program is to advance theories of individual differences in speech perception, language processing, and cognition through the study of linguistically variable populations. I meet this goal using behavioral psychophysics, electrophysiology (EEG and ABR), and computational approaches. My three primary lines of research focus on: (1) assessing individual differences in how listeners solve the lack of invariance problem, (2) identifying the cognitive dimensions along which individuals can vary, and (3) advancing methodological refinements that can support researchers in conducting individual differences research.
On this website, you’ll find a list of my publications (including links to PDFs and OSF repositories associated with each paper), as well as my full CV. And just for fun, I’ve linked a Shiny app I made to track my birding hobby!