Broadly speaking, I'm interested in information; specifically, the relationship between the information which exists in the world and that which exists in our minds. My research focuses on representations of sound information: how the perceptual system turns acoustic information into linguistically and musically meaningful structures, and how this process is modified by experience.

Currently, I am attempting to determine how perceptual dimensions relevant to the tonal system of a speaker's native language affect the ability to perceive musical melodies. I also hope to extend these findings to a second language context, and examine the effects of short-term musical training on lexical tone perception. On a related track, I am also examing how task characteristics, such as dealing with stimulus variability, correlate between language and music, and how the ability to perceive linguistic and musical stimuli under different task conditions correlates with linguistic and musical background as well as other individual differences.

Answering these questions requires the converging use of many methods; my work has included a variety of techniques, including theoretical description, behavioral experimentation, neurophysiological studies, and non‑experimental techniques, such as acoustic and corpus analysis. I also strive to incorporate the best quantitative methods into my work, as robust statistical methods are as indispensable to research as basic measurement techniques.

I approach the research process by attempting to be a synthesizer, in the sense described by E.O. Wilson:

…in the twenty‑first century, the world will not be run by those possessing mere information alone. Thanks to science and technology, access to factual knowledge of all kinds is rising exponentially while dropping in unit cost. It is destined to become global and democratic. Soon it will be available everywhere on television and computer screens. What then? The answer is clear: synthesis. We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.

Here, you can find descriptions of my current research projects, download my papers, and find out where I'll be presenting my work.

Summary of research program [pdf].
Downloadable publications and manuscripts.
Upcoming presentations.
Crosslinguistic perception of pitch in language and music.
Ongoing projects and raw ideas [restricted access].

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upcoming presentations

You can see my work presented at these upcoming conferences:

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Recent work presented with students

downloadable papers

For course materials, please see the teaching portion of the site.

for a full list of publications, please see my cv.

Speech and Music Perception


Sentence Processing

  • Testing the sensory hypothesis of the early left anterior negativity with auditory stimuli.
  • Language Acquisition


    Crosslinguistic perception of pitch in language and music

    Language and music are both complex systems of organized sound, but the degree to which they share mental representations and resources remains an open question. My dissertation research aimed to contribute to this discussion by examining the effect of language experience on the perception of pitch in musical contexts (and vice-versa).

  • full text [pdf]
  • dissertation abstract [pdf]
  • This work was funded by the National Science Foundation (BCS-1156289) and the University of Delaware.

    If you have specific questions about the studies, stimuli, or anything else, please feel free to email me.