The Human Language Processing Lab (https://www.hlp.rochester.edu/people/) headed by Florian Jaeger at the University of Rochester is searching for an outstanding post-doctoral researcher to join our project on inference and learning during speech perception and adaptation. Applicants from any fields in the cognitive and language sciences are welcome.

About the position: We are particularly interested in researchers with a strong computational background (ideally, including Bayesian inference, sampling, etc. though that is not necessary). Although this position is part of a specific project, candidates are welcome/encouraged to develop their own independent research program. Expertise in phonetics or speech perception are preferred, but expertise in the relevant inference processes in another perceptual domain (combined with the willingness to acquire expertise in speech) might make for a great fit, too.

The core of our research project is behavioral and computational, but expertise in fMRI and, specifically, MVPA and related methods are an additional plus, as there is the potential to collaborate across labs on the neural foundations of speech adaptation (w/ Raj Raizada). The most important thing though is the drive to dig beyond the surface with an interest in understanding the nature of the implicit adaptive processes (and the structure of the representations that support them) that allow robust language understanding (… whether in speech perception or higher levels of language processing).

The position will provide competitive NIH-level post-doctoral salaries and travel funding (plus moving expenses). Start dates could be as early as now or as late as 9/2016. If there is a great fit between the candidate and the project, we can wait. The lab has a good record at job placement, with three of the four most recent post-docs now holding tenure-track positions in linguistics or psychology.

Interested candidates should contact HLP lab manager Olga Nikolayeva (onikolay@u.rochester.edu) along with a CV and a brief statement of primary research interests (no full research statement necessary, but if there is one we’d be happy to read it). Recommendations are will be elicited after initial review of applications, but applicants are welcome to include them in the initial application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis starting 3/1. (if you’re wondering whether it makes sense to apply, please contact Florian Jaeger at fjaeger@mail.bcs.rochester.edu).

About the project: The project includes research on lack of invariance, learning in non-stationary environments, inference under uncertainty, causal attribution, and the relation between linguistics and social perception. Our main goals are

1) to investigate the organization of the implicit probabilistic beliefs that underlie speech perception, such as implicit knowledge about the covariance of socio-indexical features (such as gender, age, dialects, etc.) and phonetic properties

2) to understand how these beliefs are acquired, adapted, and employed in inferences during online language understanding, including drawing on previous experience with talkers and the ability to generalize to similar talkers.

For an overview, of our research program and goals, see Kleinschmidt and Jaeger (2015-PsychRev)

About the team / HLP Lab: HLP lab is part of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the Center of Language Sciences. The team currently consists of one post-doctoral fellow and four graduate students (plus other lab members working on other questions). Related projects include work on accent and dialect adaptation (incl. a large project involving researchers in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK), pedagogical use of adaptation in the class room, and L2/Ln learning/teaching (in collaboration with researchers in Hong Kong; see also Pajak et al., 2016-LangLearn). We also investigate similar processes in speech production and in language processing at higher levels of representations (see Fine et al., 2013-PLoS One; Fine and Jaeger, 2016-JEP:LMC; Jaeger & Snider, 2013-Cognition; Yildirim et al., 2015-JML) and language production (e.g., Buz et al., 2015-JML; Seyfarth et al., 2016-JASA; Weatherholtz et al., 2014-LVC). Most recent papers are available via ResearchGate.