I am interested in how production and comprehension complexity (due to locality; expectation) influences speakers' choice in language variation. I use psycholinguistic experimentation and corpus-based statistical modeling to investigate whether/to what extent speakers use prosodic and syntactic cues to make unexpected information easier to process (predictability; information structure; common ground), and to which extend this is done for their addressees (audience design). For more see my CV.


I am interested in variation and speech processing. My primary line of research investigates the cognitive processes by which listeners cope with pronunciation variation in order to recognize and comprehend spoken language (learning, adaptation, generalization, social inference). I also investigate the relationship between language production and language processing, particularly how/when people adapt their productions in response to other talkers (alignment). To address these issues, I combine psycholinguistic experimentation and statistical modeling with tools, techniques, and insights from a range of disciplines, including phonetics, sociolinguistics, and social psychology.

Grad students

Zach Burchill (BCS)

I'm interested in language adaptation, production, and comprehension, but I haven't narrowed my focus much as of yet. Other areas that have caught my curiosity include binomial word order, text-setting, and synchronous speech.

Wednesday Bushong (BCS)

I'm interested in prediction, learning, and adaptation during language comprehension. One current line of my research investigates whether people learn abstract linguistic constraints through prediction error-based learning. I'm also interested in how expectations about upcoming words influence the detail with which we maintain representations about the current input.

My interests are in phonetic production and variation, audience design and computational models of speaker behavior. My current focus is on if speakers behave in a boundedly rational way during phonetic production.

I'm 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. I'm also interested in how phonetic categories interact with lexical representations.

Linda Liu (BCS)

I am interested in taking computational and experimental approaches to investigate sentence comprehension, accent adaptation, and how listeners form structural generalizations across speaker groups. I also have interests computational modeling, prosody, and cross-modality/domain work, e.g. sign language and music cognition.

I'm interested in the kinds of information people take into account when comprehending or producing referring expressions. In particular my research asks questions about how people generate and constrain alternative interpretations, adapt to different speakers and contexts, and how young children learn to integrate all of this information in their comprehension and productions.

Maryam Seifeldin (BCS)

I am interested in how higher-level implicit knowledge of the sociolinguistic distribution of feature variation can affect adaptive strategies in sentence processing.


Olga Nikolayeva (BCS)

I am a graduate from the University of Rochester with a BA degree in Russian and Linguistics. I was introduced to research when I started volunteering for Chigusa Kurumada collecting child prosody data and have been working in the lab since. I am currently a lab manager for the Rochester Kinderlab and the Human Language Processing lab. Current projects are building a tutorial for BCS 152: Introduction to Psycholinguistics and helping to set up the Kinderlab. I will be pursing a Masters degree this upcoming Fall (2015).

Andrew Watts (BCS)

I came to the lab in 2007 with a Bachelors in Computer Science and Linguistics and a Masters in Linguistics from The Ohio State Univeristy. My primary responsibilities are maintaining the computing environment and webpage, programming experiments (for in the lab and on the web), providing programming assitance, and just plain programming.

Current Undergraduate RAs

Madeline Clark (Linguistics and Japanese, 2018)

Works with: Zach Burchill and Linda Liu

Bethany Gardner (BCS, 2018)

Works with: Esteban Buz

Emily Lewis (???, 2018)

Works with: Esteban Buz

Lauren Oey (BCS and Statistics, 2018)

Works with: Zach Burchill and Linda Liu

Wesley Orth (BCS and Linguistics, 2017)

Works with: Zach Burchill and Linda Liu