Jordana R. Heller
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Research Interests
  • Influences of meaning-related and probabilistic top-down processes on word recognition and fluent production in discourse contexts

  • Speech perception and production

  • The perception-production link in language learning and phonological change

  • *** Current Projects ***

    Syntactic and Semantic Influences on Lexical-Phonological Activation during Sentence Production
    Dissertation research
    Committee: Matt Goldrick (Chair), Ann Bradlow, Masaya Yoshida

    Past work has investigated lexical-phonological interaction during speech production by examining effects of phonological neighborhood size on reaction times and phonetic outcomes. The current work examines the extent to which this interaction is constrained by syntactic and semantic predictability processes during sentence perception and production.
    Effects of Word Burstiness on Language Processing: Timing of Discourse-Thematic and Non-Thematic Words in Speech and Reading
    with Janet Pierrehumbert and David N. Rapp (Learning Sciences, Psychology)
    with support from Northwestern's Cognitive Science Program

    Words are not randomly distributed through discourses; when a topical word is mentioned, it tends to recur again soon, creating "bursts" of topical word occurrence. This project examines the psycholinguistic consequences of these discourse patterns: does the occurrence of a topical word make its recurrence more predictable than the recurrence of a less-topical word? How is this reflected in speech production and reading time? What are the implications of this reflection for theories of discourse comprehension and lexical access?
    Influences of Lexical Properties and Lexical Context on Vowel Production
    with Matt Goldrick and Heike Lehnert-LeHouillier (BCS, University of Rochester)

    During speech production, how does lexical interaction due to phonological neighborhood density interact with lexical activation due to words nearby in the production context? What implications does this interaction have for theories of lexical access and production planning? We are examining how word repetition and neighbor mentions affect word production using both acoustic and articulatory (ultrasound) experimental paradigms, as well as spontaneous speech corpora.
    Rapid Phonetic Convergence during Spoken Communication
    with Jennifer Pardo (Psychology, Montclair State University)

    We are investigating how social factors influence rapid convergence and divergence of fine phonetic behavior within pairs of interlocutors as speaker roles change over the course of conversational interaction.

    jordana at u dot northwestern dot edu
    last updated november seventh, two thousand and eleven