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.

LAB Lab at the Second Language Research Forum

Pam Fuhrmeister, PhD candidate, will be giving a talk entitled “Memory consolidation in learning second language speech contrasts” on Friday October 26th from work conducted with collaborators Dr. Emily Myers (University of Connecticut), Dr. Anita Bowles and Dr. David Harper (Rosetta Stone).

SLRF 2018 will be held in Montreal, Canada from October 26 – October 28.

More information can be found on the SLRF website.

Strong showing from the LAB lab at UConn LangFest 2018!

The LAB lab would like to acknowledge its excellent undergraduates for their participation at this year’s UConn Language Fest! This year, there were two posters created and presented by undergraduate researchers in addition to two posters presented by senior lab members.

David Busel, a senior SLHS major, presented a poster entitled “Dynamic Adaptation During Lexically-Guided Perceptual Learning in People with Aphasia”, following up on work he has done for the last year in the LAB lab in conjunction with David Saltzman and lab almuna Kathrin Rothermich. This project sought to understand the role of frontal brain areas in adapting to novel phonetic information by having people with aphasia engage in an experiment that requires them to implicitly adapt to an “accented” talker.



Alyssa Finuoli and Madison Perriolat, both junior SLHS majors, presented a poster entitled “Training manipulations and individual aptitude affect non-native speech sound learning”, which came from work in conjunction with graduate student Pam Fuhrmeister. This project sought to find the most advantageous approach to teaching listeners unfamiliar non-native speech sounds by manipulating the kinds of training participants received.



Post-doctoral scholar Chris Heffner also presented a poster on his work entitled “Good Learners are Good Learners: Reliability in Phonetic Learning”:

Graduate students Pam Fuhrmeister and Sahil Luthra presented a collaborative project entitled “Brain-behavior relationships in implicit learning of non-native phonetic categories”:

New LAB Lab Publication in Neuroscience Letters!

Lab alumnus F. Sayako Earle (Assistant Professor, University of Delaware) and LAB Lab PI Emily Myers, along with UConn Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences faculty member Nicole Landi have a new publication in Neuroscience Letters entitled “Adults with Specific Language Impairment fail to consolidate speech sounds during sleep”. A PDF is available upon request.