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Research Interests


Much of my research centres on errors in speech: how do errors come about? What do they tell us about the processes involved in speaking? Are listeners sensitive to speech disfluencies, and if they are, what use can they make of them?

I am part of the Edinburgh Disfluency Group, which includes people from Edinburgh and Queen Margaret Universities, as well as the odd member or visitor from further afield.

I am a member of the Language, Cognition and Communication Group in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. I also have links with the Psychological Imaging Laboratory at the University of Stirling.

Below you can find a list of current (and nearly-current) projects that I am involved in.

Language Production

Formation of Speech Errors
What causes people to make errors when they speak? By eliciting errors in controlled laboratory situations, we hope to be able to investigate and model errors in detail. Work with Paul Brocklehurst, Rob Hartsuiker, Robin Lickley, Corey McMillan, and Suzy Moat.
Hesitation in Speech
Under what circumstances do people hesitate in speech (using um or uh, or prolonging words?) We hope to cast light on this by manipulating the kinds of things that people are talking about. Work with Ian Finlayson, Rob Hartsuiker, Michael Schnadt, and Ollie Stewart.
Causes of Stuttering
An investigation into what may make people stutter, relying on stutterers' ratings of fluent and disfluent speech. Work with Paul Brocklehurst, Rob Hartsuiker, Robin Lickley, and Melanie Russell.
Syntactic Priming
Priming in languages with free word-order; timing issues in priming; priming from syntactically ambiguous constituents. Work with Christoph Scheepers and Sarah Haywood.

Language Comprehension

Comprehension of Filled Pauses
Researchers have suggested that we can infer much about the current state of a speaker from filled pauses such as um and uh. Can listeners make use of this information? Work with Philip Collard, David Donaldson, Ian Finlayson, Rob Hartsuiker, and Lucy MacGregor.

Language and Gesture in Autism

How do people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder interpret and produce gestures? Does the fact that some gestures have meaning mean that they are processed differently? Work with Heidi Ham and Thusha Rajendran.

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