Author: Hannah Mechtenberg

Special Issue LAB Lab Digest – Summer 2021

Our latest LAB Lab Digest is published!

This special issue is brought to you by our fabulous high school Scholars sponsored by UConn’s Young Scholars Senior Summit. Alina Vo and Laelim Jung joined us for 3 weeks, in which they learned about what it means to be a speech scientist.

The Digest features the interviews they conducted of current, affiliated, and former LAB Lab members.

They also chose journal articles about topics they were interested in and wrote up a science communication article that summarized the main findings.

We hope you enjoy, and we are so proud of all their hard work!

A Big Week in the LAB Lab!

Several big milestones were reached during the week of July 6th, 2020, in the Language in Brain Lab.

First, on July 7th, PhD student Sahil Luthra successfully defended his dissertation proposal. He is now able to proceed with data collection! Congratulations!

Also, on July 10th, PhD candidate Pamela Fuhrmeister successfully defended her dissertation! Congratulations Dr. Fuhrmeister! She will be moving on to start a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Potsdam in Germany on July 15th. Best of luck to her!

New LAB Lab Publication in Brain and Language!

LAB Lab members Sahil Luthra, Pamela Fuhrmesiter,  PI Dr. Emily Myers, and collaborators Dr. Pete Molfese (National Institutes of Health), Dr. Sara Guediche (Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language), and Dr. Sheila Blumstein (Brown University) have a new publication in Brain and Language titled “Brain-behavior relationships in incidental learning of non-native phonetic categories.”  Check it out here!

LAB Lab postdoc Dr. Chris Heffner accepts faculty position!

Please join us in congratulating LAB Lab member Dr. Chris Heffner, who has accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at the University at Buffalo. Chris will be starting his professor position in August 2020; until then, he will continue as a post-doctoral researcher funded by a fellowship from the Acoustical Society. Congrats, Chris!


LAB Lab PI Dr. Emily Myers and co-collaborator Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer, of the Dramatic Arts department at UConn, have been awarded one of two 2018-2019 UConn STEAM Innovation grants, worth $40,000.

The goal of the STEAM Innovation grant is to encourage collaboration between the arts and STEM fields.

Dr. Myers said: “Our voices are fundamental to our identities. We flexibly navigate between different voices, dialects, and speech registers, perhaps adopting “baby talk” with an infant and a “phone voice” in the office. Yet for some, deploying the right voice at the right time carries significantly greater stakes. Surprisingly little is known about the neural, cognitive, and social traits that allow individuals to smoothly switch between multiple voices. In this proposal, we use behavioral tests, acoustic analysis, interviews, and neuroimaging methods (fMRI) to understand voice switching. In this collaboration between the Language and Brain Lab and Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer in the Drama Department, we ask why some are natural mimics and/or particularly adept at working across dialects. Further, by comparing our findings across a diverse set of people with extraordinary experience switching voices, (actors, trans people, social code-switchers), we will search for commonalities in the substrates of voice switching.”



LAB Lab travels to New Orleans for Psychonomics 2018

A large group of LAB lab members are heading to New Orleans to attend the 2018 Psychonomics Conference, which runs from November 15 – 18.

LAB lab PI Dr. Emily Myers will be giving a talk entitled: “Consolidation in Non-Native Phonetic Learning” on November 16th from 10:20 – 10:35 AM in Celestin E (third floor).

LAB lab postdoctorate fellow Dr. Chris Heffner is presenting a poster titled: “Reliability and Individual Differences in Phonetic Learning and Adaptation” at Poster Session III on November 16th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM in Elite Hall A (first floor).

PhD candidate Pamela Fuhrmeister will be presenting a poster called: “Helping the Rich Get Richer: Aptitude and Challenging Learning Conditions Facilitate Overnight Improvement of Non-Native Phonetic Learning” during Poster Session III on November 16th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM in Elite Hall A (first floor).

PhD student Sahil Luthra is presenting two posters.  The first is entitled: “Orthographic Neighbor Effects on Visual Word Identification Differ Across Letter Positions” during Poster Session I on November 15th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM in Elite Hall A (first floor).  The second poster is called: “Predictive Processing in Computational Models of Spoken Word Recognition” and will be presented at Poster Session III on November 16th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM in Elite Hall A (first floor).

Abstracts, as well as additional information about the conference, can be found in the Psychonomics 2018 Abstract Book.