CBCS Event

Communication Sciences and Disorders Seminar

Friday April 2 at 3:30 pm in PCD4004

A Dynamical Approach to Speech Categorization


Dr. Betty Tuller, Director, Program in Perception, Action, and Cognition National Science Foundation and Professor in the Depts. of Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and Psychology at Florida Atlantic University.


Speech perception depends largely on information in an acoustic stream that is inherently dynamic:  it changes constantly and fades rapidly. Transitions occur on many levels and timescales, from those between sound segments to syntactic change over historical time.  In this talk, I will describe a program of research that draws on the theory of nonlinear dynamical systems, as applied to the perception, production, and learning of speech sounds. Specifically, I will illustrate how speech sound categorization can occur via transitions between attractors in a dynamical system and explore whether learning to perceive non-native contrasts is akin to the emergence of attractors in an existing dynamical system.  Finally, I will discuss implications for current theories of the cognitive representation of phonological structure.