I am interested in understanding how people make sense of the speech they hear so rapidly and accurately despite the large variability in the physical realization of words. My students and I have been using an eye-tracking methodology to assess people's interpretation of speech as they hear and process it. Participants' eye movements to visually present objects are monitored as participants follow spoken instructions to select one of the objects. People typically fixate on a few of the displayed objects before selecting the named object but usually remain unaware of where their gaze falls. Analysis of their fixations over time, however, uncovers their on-going interpretation of the speech. Our work has revealed listeners' exquisite sensitivity to the acoustic detail present in the speech they hear, with a temporal grain that would be difficult to attain with other methodologies. Furthermore, by analyzing fixations to objects other than the named one, we have demonstrated that listeners adjust their representations of words (as opposed to their interpretation of the speech signal) to reflect their past experience with a talker's speech.
PSYC 135-401 (Psychology of Language), an undergraduate lecture course usually taught in the fall.
PSYC 335-301 (Research Experience in Cognitive Psychology: Language), a undergraduate seminar that provides advanced undergraduate students hands-on experience conducting research on language comprehension, usually taught in the fall.
Psychology Graduate Group; Linguistics Graduate Group
(These are selected publications that best illustrate my work. For a complete list of publications, click here)
Dahan, D. (in press). The time course of interpretation in speech comprehension. Current Directions in Psychological Science.
Dahan, D., Drucker, S. J., & Scarborough, R. A. (2008). Talker adaptation in speech perception: adjusting the signal or the representations? Cognition, 108, 710-718.
Dahan, D., & Gaskell, M. G. (2007). Temporal dynamics of ambiguity resolution: Evidence from spoken-word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 57, 483-501.
Dahan, D., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (2005). Looking at the rope when looking for the snake: Conceptually mediated eye movements during spoken-word recognition. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 12, 453-459.
Dahan, D., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (2004). Continuous mapping from sound to meaning in spoken-language comprehension: Immediate effects of verb-based thematic constraints. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30, 498-513.
Salverda, A. P., Dahan, D., & McQueen, J. M. (2003). The role of prosodic boundaries in the resolution of lexical embedding in speech comprehension. Cognition, 90, 51-89.
Dahan, D., Tanenhaus, M. K., & Chambers, C. G. (2002). Accent and reference resolution in spoken-language comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 47, 292-314.
Dahan, D., Magnuson, J. S., & Tanenhaus, M. K. (2001). Time course of frequency effects in spoken-word recognition: Evidence from eye movements. Cognitive Psychology, 42, 317-367.