University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Research

Research in our lab examines phonetic variation, focusing on (1) linguistic factors that contribute to systematic phonetic variation in the acoustic signal of speech and (2) a theoretical understanding of the perceptual mechanisms that support language comprehension with respect to phonetic variation.  Our lab broadly considers these questions within the frameworks of linguistics, psychology, and cognitive science.  We use a variety of experimental paradigms to examine how listeners map the speech signal onto individual consonants and vowels – the building blocks of larger linguistic units such as words and phrases.  We also examine factors that influence organization and retrieval of lexical items within memory.  One crosscutting theme of our perception research is the degree to which language comprehension is shaped by input in the environment, both with respect to perceptual learning in end-state representations as well as plasticity underlying acquisition of speech sound categories in development.

Recent publications

Myers, E. B., & Theodore, R. M. (2017). Voice-sensitive brain networks encode talker-specific phonetic detail. Brain and Language, 165, 33-44.

Xin, X., Theodore, R. M., & Myers, E. B. (2017). More than a boundary shift: Perceptual adaptation to foreign-accented speech reshapes the internal structure of phonetic categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43, 206-217.

Skoe, E., Brody, L., & Theodore, R. M. (2017). Reading ability reflects individual differences in auditory brainstem function, even into adulthood. Brain and Language, 164, 25-31.

Drouin, J. R., Theodore, R. M., & Myers, E. B. (2016). Lexically guided perceptual tuning of internal phonetic category structure. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140, EL307-EL313.

Kadam, M. A., Orena, A. J., Theodore, R. M., & Polka, L. (2016). Reading ability influences native and non-native voice recognition, even for unimpaired readers. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 139, EL6-EL12.

Theodore, R. M., Myers, E. B., & Lomibao, J. A.  (2015). Talker-specific influences on phonetic category structure.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138, 1068-1078.

Theodore, R. M., Demuth, K., & Shattuck-Hufnagel, S.  (2015).  Examination of the locus of positional influences on children’s production of plural –s: Considerations from local and global speech planning .  Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58, 946-953.

Orena, A. J., Theodore, R. M., & Polka, L.  (2015).  Language exposure facilitates talker learning prior to language comprehension, even in adults.  Cognition, 143, 36-40.

Theodore, R. M., Blumstein, S. E., & Luthra, S.  (2015).  Attention modulates specificity effects in spoken word recognition: Challenges to the time-course hypothesis.  Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 77, 1674-1684.

Recent conference presentations

Xie, X., Theodore, R. M., & Myers, E. B.  (2015). Perceptual adaptation to foreign-accented speech reshapes the internal structure of phonetic categories. Presented at the annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Chicago, Illinois.

Myers, E. B., Theodore, R. M., & Luthra, S. (2015). Neural encoding of talker-specific phonetic information. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, Chicago, Illinois. PDF

Skoe, E., Brody, L., & Theodore, R. M. (2015). Biological markers of reading ability in the adult auditory system. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, Chicago, Illinois.

Bohner, A., Thompson, E., Graham, S., Drouin, J., & Theodore, R. M.  (2015). Effects of reading ability on lexically-informed perceptual learning. Presented at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  PDF

Kadam, M., Orena, A. J., Monto, N. R., Theodore, R. M., & Polka, L.  (2015). Effects of reading ability on native and nonnative talker recognition. Presented at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  PDF

Orena, A. J., Theodore, R. M., & Polka, L.  (2015). Exposure to an unfamiliar language bolster talker learning. Presented at the 169th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Collaborators

Dr. Sheila Blumstein Brown University
Dr. Katherine Demuth Macquarie University
Dr. Adrian Garcia-Sierra University of Connecticut, University of Washington
Dr. Emily Myers University of Connecticut, Haskins Laboratories
Dr. Linda Polka McGill University
Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Erika Skoe University of Connecticut