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Cognitive psychology, psychology of language, Speech perception and spoken word recognition
Current/Recent Research Projects:
In my research, I am studying how people use both auditory and visual information to identify spoken words. Some of this work uses a perceptual illusion called the "McGurk effect." This occurs when an auditory speech signal of a person saying one syllable (such as "ba") is presented at the same time as a video clip of a person saying a different syllable (such as "da"). Very often, the mismatched visual signal actually causes listeners to mis-hear the auditory syllable.
Some recent and ongoing studies involving the McGurk effect:
• How "top-down" knowledge of words in a language influences the McGurk effect
• How perception of auditory speech is affected by visual speaking rate
I am also conducting research to try to understand why it's easier to understand words spoken by a familiar person. I am currently conducting studies investigating how and why multimodal (hearing and seeing) experience with an individual might lead to better comprehension of that person's speech.
Much of my research is conducted in collaboration with researchers at Haskins Laboratories, a non-profit research laboratory in downtown New Haven that is dedicated to the study of speech and reading and reading disabilities. My research is partially supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to Haskins Laboratories, and has also been supported by a CSU research grant.
Although my own research focuses on specific aspects of spoken communication, I can provide resources and support for student research projects dealing with other issues in psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology. For example, a recent undergraduate honors thesis that I supervised examined listeners' reactions to foreign-accented speech; the student found evidence for unconscious negative biases towards the speech produced by a person with a foreign accent.
Brancazio, L., Best, C. T., & Fowler, C. A. (in press). Visual influences on perception of speech and nonspeech vocal-tract events. Invited manuscript to special issue of Brain and Language.
Brancazio, L., & Miller, J. L. (in press). Use of visual information in speech perception: Evidence for a visual rate effect in McGurk and non-McGurk responses. Perception & Psychophysic.
Brancazio, L. (2004). Lexical influences in audiovisual speech perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 445-463.
Brancazio, L., Miller, J. L., & Paré, M. A. (2003). Visual influences on the internal structure of phonetic categories. Perception & Psychophysics, 65, 591-601.
Recent Conference Presentations:
Brancazio, L. (2004). Visual contributions to talker attunement. Poster presented at the 147th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, New York , NY, May 24-28, 2004 .
Brancazio, L., Miller, J. L., & Mondini, M. (2002). Audiovisual integration in the absence of a McGurk effect. Poster presented at the 143rd meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Pittsurgh , PA , June 3-7, 2002.
Every semester, students can register for Psy 197 (Research Internship) for up to three credits. Psych 197 is a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience in how cognitive psychology research is conducted. Students enrolled in Psych 197 are responsible for running participants in experiments, and get involved in various aspects of the research process, such as organizing data and files, scheduling and cataloging participants, and helping with data analysis.
If you are interested in enrolling in Psych 197, please email me during the registration period or during the add/drop period.
Independent Study/ Undergraduate Honors Thesis / Master's Thesis:
If you have an idea for an experiment that you would like to conduct that involves language (or related topics in cogntive psychology), please come see me so we can discuss how to set up an independent study project.
Off-Campus Research Internships and Other Research Opportunities:
Haskins Laboratories has many ongoing projects involving several aspects of speech perception, speech production, and reading, including skilled reading, reading acquisition, and reading disability. Some projects involve research using brain-imaging techniques such as fMRI. There are sometimes opportunities for psychology majors to do an internship working with research teams at Haskins, by registering for Psych 463 (Field Practicum in Psychological Research). There are also occasionally paid research assistant positions (part-time and full-time) there.