Grinking #2

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My sabbatical it’s nearing its end (shiver). So, there’s much to catch up on. HLP Lab has once again grown and shrunk, leading to grinking report #2 (cf. #1):

First a farewell to the lost ones:

  • Austin Frank has graduated with an absolutely wonderful thesis (work with Mike Tanenhaus and Dick Aslin) on perturbation. In his studies, Austin manipulates what participants think they are saying by changing the first formants of the acoustic signal produced by them up or down within about 14msecs to play it back to them over head sets, thereby creating the misleading perception of having mispronounced the word (the ‘perturbation’). I won’t go into the gory technical challenges Austin had to overcome to run these studies. His thesis work provides evidence that (a) speakers adapt their pronunciation partly based on auditory feedback about their own production, (b) these adaptations are pretty rapid, (c) they are sensitive to the structure of the phonological lexicon. For example, speakers are less likely to shift their production into a corner of the phonological space that is already occupied by other words in the language …. (yeah, cool, right?). He’s currently holding a post-doc position at Haskins and UConn, working with Jim Magnuson.

and a welcome to the newbies:

  • Esteban Buz has joined us from Johns Hopkins where worked with Robert Frank and Kerry LeDoux. It seems he has chosen some questions on functional explanations to language change as his first research topic, which he will explore using iterative learning studies. In particular, he’s interested in how changes over time are, in part, a reflection of acquisition and processing biases.
  • David Kleinschmidt has joined the lab after a year at Maryland. He did is undergraduate at Williams College with stints at Emory and the University of Maine. He’s interested in computational modeling and speech perception, and specifically in developing models of how phonetic categories are learned and deployed that are plausible from linguistic, computational, neural, and developmental perspectives.  Dave’s also working with Dick Aslin and Alex Pouget.

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