USF will co-sponsor the International Association of Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics Conference

The International Association of Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics Conference (IAFPA) will take place July 21-24, 2013 in Tampa, FL at the Grand Hyatt on Bayport Drive. For the first time since 1995, this organization will meet in the U.S.

"It will attract people from all over the world who work with the legal system in their country," said Dr. Ruth Bahr, USF's director of the speech-language pathology graduate program. "They help to provide forensic evidence on the voices involved in the commission of a crime or any other noises that may be present during the commission of a crime, like gun shots or airplane noises during a crash."

Bahr and her doctoral student will be present a poster titled Voice identification from a cell phone in a moving car: listener judgments vs. speech timing. Forensic phonetics is the analysis of recorded speech samples, evaluating the consistency and degree of distinctiveness. Forensic phonetics can be used when there is a recording of a criminal's speech in order to identify them. For example, Bahr said this type of evidence is currently playing a crucial role in the Trayvon Martin case, which has recently gone to trial.

The IAFPA seeks to foster research and provide a forum for ideas and information regarding practice, development, and research in forensic phonetics and acoustics. The organization also works to establish standards of professional conduct and procedure for those involved in casework. Members are often called on by local, federal, and international policing agencies to analyze evidence and testify in trials.

Forensic acoustics can be used to identify various materials other than speech. It is also used to improve poor recordings and authenticate recordings.