Research

Research Interests

  • acoustic phonetics
  • speech perception
  • native and second language speech communication
  • perceptual learning
  • language acquisition

Download statement of research interests (PDF)

CURRENT PROJECTS

Developing perceptual adaptation mechanisms (2016-present)
with Elizabeth Johnson (University of Toronto)

This project examines how listeners initially acquire and continue to employ perceptual adaptation mechanisms. We investigate whether the linguistic system will utilize different adaptation strategies depending on the type of accented exposure they receive and their accumulated linguistic knowledge. We examine in both toddlers (26-28 months) and adults: 1) how distance from listeners’ own accent affects adaptation strategies to familiar words, 2) how accent inconsistency impacts adaptation strategies, and 3) how lexical variation during accent exposure influences adaptation. By examining the developmental trajectory of adaptation mechanisms, this work will contribute to our understanding of perceptual adaptation more generally.

Own voice perception in toddlers and adults (2016-present)
with Elizabeth Johnson and Natalie Fecher (University of Toronto)

This aim of this work is to examine whether toddlers (30-36 months) and adults display a spoken word recognition advantage when presented with items that they produced as compared to items produced by an unfamiliar toddler or adult.

  • Cooper, A. Natalie Fecher and Elizabeth Johnson. (2017). 2.5-year-olds show no own-voice advantage: Implications for the nature of children’s early lexical representations. Poster presented at the 3rd Workshop on Infant Language Development, Bilbao, June 15-17.

Perceptual adaptation to foreign-accented speech (2014-present)
with Ann Bradlow (Northwestern University)

This project investigates the question of what kinds of information facilitate perceptual adaptation to foreign-accented speech. The aim of the current work is to investigate the relative contributions of variability and higher-level contextual information (e.g., lexical, pragmatic knowledge) on perceptual learning.

  • Cooper, A. and Ann R. Bradlow. (2016). Linguistically-guided adaptation to foreign-accented speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(5), EL378-384.
  • Cooper, A. and Ann R. Bradlow. Perceptual learning of accented speech by first and second language listeners. Poster presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Boston, November 17-20.
  • Cooper, A. and Ann R. Bradlow. Linguistically-Guided Perceptual Adaptation to Foreign-Accented Speech. Poster presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Chicago, November 19-22.
  • Cooper, A. and Bradlow, Ann R. (2014). Lexical Feedback and Perceptual Learning of Foreign-Accented Speech. Paper presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Long Beach, November 20-23.

Perceptual integration and encoding of speech and background noise (2012-present)
with Susanne Brouwer (Radboud University) and Ann Bradlow (Northwestern University)

The aim of this project is to examine whether indexical or phonetic aspects of speech and non-speech (e.g. noise) information are integrated during speech perception. We employed a speeded classification paradigm (Garner, 1974), where indexical (talker identity, gender) and noise (pure, filtered white noise) information were manipulated to investigate the extent of interference from these dimensions.

In a follow-up study, we examine how deep this integration of speech and non-speech information goes using a recognition memory paradigm. Listeners are exposed to a set of items in either a pure tone or filtered white noise and later have to identify whether they heard the word or not in the exposure phase. We vary whether or not the item is presented in the same kind of noise at test to determine whether listeners encode context-specific information.

  • Cooper, A., Susanne Brouwer and Ann Bradlow. (2015). Interdependent processing and encoding of speech and concurrent background noise. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 77(4), 1342-1357. PDF
  • Cooper, A. and Ann Bradlow. (2014). Effects of talker and noise variation on recognition memory for spoken words. Poster presented at the Architecture and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP 2014), Edinburgh, September 3-6. PDF
  • Cooper, A., Susanne Brouwer and Ann Bradlow. (2014). Interdependent processing of speech and background noise. Poster presented at the 167th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Providence, May 5-9. PDF
  • Cooper, A., Susanne Brouwer and Ann Bradlow. (2013). Perceptual integration of speech and background noise. Poster presented at Architecture and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP 2013), Marseille, September 2-4. PDF

 

PAST PROJECTS

Musical experience and the perception of rate-varying Thai contrasts (2014-2016)
with Richard Ashley (Northwestern University) and Yue Wang (Simon Fraser University)

The present study investigates the influence of musical experience on non-native perception of speaking-rate-varied Thai phonemic vowel length and lexical tone distinctions. Given that musicians are trained to discern temporal distinctions in music, English musicians were predicted to be more accurate at identifying and discriminating non-native vowel length distinctions than the English non-musicians, particularly at faster rates of speech.

  • Cooper, A., Yue Wang and Richard Ashley. (2017). Thai rate-varied vowel length perception and the impact of musical experience. Language and Speech, 60(1), 65-84. PDF
  • Cooper, A., Yue Wang and Richard Ashley. (2015). Effects of musical experience on Thai rate-varied vowel length perception. Paper presented at the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Glasgow, August 10-14. PDF
  • Cooper, A., Yue Wang and Richard Ashley. (2015). The impact of musical experience on the perception of rate-varied vowel length in Thai. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Society for Music Perception & Cognition (SMPC 2015), Nashville, August 1-5.

Effects of talker familiarity on speech-in-speech perception (2012- 2014)
with Ann Bradlow (Northwestern University)

This project investigates the effect of talker familiarity of competing and target talkers on sentence recognition. Listeners completed a brief training program to become proficient at identifying a set of voices. This was followed by a speech-in-speech task, whereby listeners were asked to transcribe target sentences. Participants heard familiar or unfamiliar target talkers with familiar and unfamiliar competing talkers.

  • Cooper, A. and Ann Bradlow. (2013) Talker familiarity effects on speech-in-speech perception. Poster presented at the 166th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, San Francisco, December 2-6. PDF

Linguistic and extralinguistic factors influencing Cantonese tone word learning (2009 – 2013)
with Yue Wang (Simon Fraser University)

We examined the interaction of musical and linguistic experience on Cantonese tone word learning by training native English and Thai musicians and non-musicians on Cantonese words, minimally distinguished by 5 Cantonese tones, and their associated meanings. We also examined how lexical tone training prior to the word learning training will influence their success in the tone word learning task.

  • Cooper, A. and Yue Wang. (2013). Effects of tone training on Cantonese tone-word learning. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America134(2), EL133-EL139. PDF
  • Cooper, A. and Yue Wang. (2012). The influence of linguistic and musical experience on Cantonese word learning. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America131(6), 4756-4769. PDF
  • Cooper, A. and Yue Wang. (2011). Effects of linguistic experience and tone training on Cantonese tone word learning. Poster presented at the Psycholinguistic Representation of Tone Conference, Hong Kong, August 22-23. PDF
  • Cooper, A. and Yue Wang. (2011). The influence of tonal awareness and musical experience on tone word learning. Paper presented at the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Hong Kong, August 17-21.
  • Cooper, A. and Yue Wang. (2011). Can musical aptitude and experience predict success in non-native tone word learning? Poster presented at the 2nd PanAmerican/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics, Cancun, October 15-19. PDF
  • Cooper, A. and Yue Wang. (2010). Cantonese tone word learning by tone and non-tone language speakers. Poster presented at Interspeech 2010, Makuhari, September 26-30. PDF
  • Cooper, A. and Yue Wang. (2010). The role of musical experience in Cantonese lexical tone perception by native speakers of Thai. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on Speech Prosody, Chicago, May 11-14.

Production and perception of narrow focus in clear speech (2010 – 2011)
with David Potter and Michael Blasingame (Northwestern University)

Depending on the communicative context, talkers spontaneously vary their speech in order to increase communicative efficacy. In situations where listeners have perceptual challenges, such as a hearing impairment or noisy listening environment, talkers will often adopt a speaking style known as ‘clear speech’. This research investigates the interaction of clear speech and narrow focus in English utilizing production and perception tasks.

  • Cooper, A., Michael Blasingame and David Potter. (2011). Communicatively- and prosodically-driven hyper-articulation in English. Paper presented at the 17th Mid-Continental Phonetics and Phonology Conference, Urbana-Champaign, IL, October 21-23.

The processing and learning of pitch in speech (2007 – 2012)
for Yue Wang (Simon Fraser University), Dawn Behne (Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

This project addresses how linguistic pitch is processed in the brain, and how its neural organization may be affected by linguistic and non-linguistic experience and learning. We have conducted several EEG experiments, investigating linguistic and nonlinguistic tone processing by native Mandarin and English listeners, as well as their processing by English listeners who have received lexical tone training. Additionally, we conducted a lexical tone training study, where training conditions for native English listeners varied by phonemic familiarity and the presence or absence of word meaning.

  • Wang, Y., Yang Zhang, Angela Cooper and Mathieu Dovan. (2012). Effects of musical and linguistic experience on the processing of speech and non-speech pitch: an event-related electrophysiological study. Poster presented at the 19th Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 31 – April 3. PDF
  • Wang, Y., Yang Zhang, Angela Cooper and Mathieu Dovan. (2011). Effects of training on the processing of speech and non-speech tone: An event-related potential study. Poster presented at the Psycholinguistic Representation of Tone Conference, Hong Kong, August 22-23. PDF
  • Wang, Y., Angela Cooper, Xianghua Wu and Dawn Behne. (2011). Effect of semantic context on the perceptual learning of lexical tone. Paper presented at the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Hong Kong, August 17-21.
  • Zhang, Y., Angela Cooper and Yue Wang. (2010). Processing of speech and non-speech tonal information by native and nonnative tone language speakers: an event-related electrophysiological study. Paper presented at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Canadian Acoustical Association, Victoria, October 13-15.
  • Wang, Y., Dawn Behne, Angela Cooper, and Jung-Yueh Tu. (2009). Domain-specific processing of Mandarin tone. Poster presented at the 157th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Portland, May 18-22. PDF

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