Carleton Connects: Julia Strand, Psychology

21 April 2016

This program took place on Thursday, April 21, 2016

Understanding spoken words should be a tremendously difficult task; listeners must rapidly translate sound waves into meaningful information about speech, distinguish between perceptually similar words (did he say “forty” or “fourteen”?), adapt to speaker accent and other idiosyncrasies, parse filler words such as “like” and “um,” discriminate between the speech signal and background noise, and make sense of ambiguity (“does she mean Carleton knights or Carleton nights?”). Yet, despite these challenges, most listeners appear to understand spoken words instantly and effortlessly. Carleton professor of psychology Julia Strand will present research from her laboratory that helps shed light on the process of spoken word recognition, including how listeners make use of contextual information and visual cues (seeing the talker).


Julia Strand (B.A., Tufts University; PhD., Washington University in St. Louis) teaches courses including Introduction to Psychology, the Psychology of Spoken Words, and Sensation & Perception. Her research focuses on how humans are able to turn sensory information about speech into meaningful representations. Topics of research include how cognitive abilities influence language perception, what traits of words promote easy recognition, how word recognition abilities change with age, and how visual information (seeing the talker) influences language processing.

Carleton Connects: “Why you’re a better listener than your smartphone: Context and visual cues in spoken word recognition”

Julia Strand, Psychology