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Robert Remez
Professor (Barnard College)
Ph. D., University of Connecticut, 1978

General Area of Research

Perception of speech, perceptual organization, perceptual identification of individual talkers.

Current Research

Perceptual organization of speech: How does a listener find and follow a talker’s stream of speech? Acoustically, speech is a composite of heterogeneous constituents--whistles, clicks, hisses, buzzes and hums that a talker produces in expressing linguistic forms. Our studies characterize perceptual sensitivity to the coordinate variation of speech signals. Many of our projects have used exotic forms of synthetic speech, including sinewave replication of utterances, vocoded speech and acoustic chimeras. To understand perceptual organization when a listener can also see the talker, our projects study audiovisual perceptual organization as well as the unimodal auditory setting.

Perceptual identification of individual talkers: How does a listener recognize a familiar talker, and notice characteristic attributes of an unfamiliar talker? Although individual talkers differ in vocal quality-- some are melodious, some harsh, some nasal, some breathy -- they also differ in dialect and in idiolect, the characteristic form of expression of the consonants and vowels that compose words. While dialect and idiolect are often stable aspects of speech, vocal quality is subject to the distortion of poor transmission lines, laryngitis and many other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Our perceptual studies aim to assess the use of linguistic form -- dialect and idiolect -- in the perceptual identification of talkers.

Relevant Publications

Pardo, J. S., & Remez, R. E. (in press). The perception of speech. In M. Traxler and M. A. Gernsbacher (Eds.), The Handbook of Psycholinguistics, 2nd ed. (pp. 000-000). San Diego: Academic Press.

Remez, R. E. (2005). The perceptual organization of speech. In D. B. Pisoni and R. E. Remez (Eds.), Handbook of Speech Perception (pp. 27-50). Oxford: Basil Blackwell

Remez, R. E., Fellowes, J. M., & Rubin, P. E. (1997). Talker identification based on phonetic information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 23, 651-666.

Courses Frequently Taught

  • PSYC BC1108 Perception
  • PSYC G4242 Perception and Production of Language

Columbia University
Psychology Dept.
415C Milbk
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027-6598

Phone: 212-854-4247

Last modified: May 2, 2011 4:43:40 PM EDT