The HESP Department sponsors a series of talks on current research in the areas of hearing, speech, and language by visiting researchers or members of the HESP faculty. All students, faculty, staff, and affiliates are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you would like to join the email distribution list for all upcoming HESP Seminar Series talks, email Dr. Matt Goupell at goupell [at]

Certification Maintenance Hours can be earned by attending these talks.








Monday, February 18, 2019


Kara Hawthorne Gallaudet University Prosody in Speech, Language, and Speech-Language Pathology In this talk, I will present three studies addressing prosody in spoken language. In the first, I will discuss prosody and verb semantics as cues to pronoun interpretation in adults with intellectual disabilities versus typical development. Second, I will present findings from my recent paper on prosody as a tool for syntax acquisition, with a focus on implication for individuals learning language through cochlear implants. Finally, I will overview survey results that examine the status of prosody in speech-language pathology, including clinical practices and potential barriers to the assessment and treatment of prosody in the clinic. LeFrak 2208

Monday, March 4th, 2019


Phoebe Gaston and Hanna Muller UMD Replicability, effect sizes, & power In this talk we’ll discuss how calculating effect sizes and power can help you avoid both false positives and false negatives and make null results more interpretable. In particular, we’ll look at the way in which under-powered studies can lead to over-estimated effects that are unlikely to replicate. We’ll also discuss practical considerations and questions raised when effect size is difficult to estimate or large samples are needed. LeFrak 2208

Monday, March 25th, 2019


Zoe Ovans and Julie Cohen HESP

Online parsing strategies are influenced by verb-specific and language-general biases;

Impact of Talker Familiarity and Aging in a Real-world Environment

Abstract 1:  During comprehension, listeners parse ambiguous sentences like “Jab/Choose the elephant with the carrot” based on knowledge of verbs’ syntactic distributions. For example, “jab” often occurs in VP-attachment contexts (carrot as instrument) and “choose” often occurs in NP-attachment contexts (carrot modifies the elephant). What happens when lexical biases are uncertain (e.g. for infrequent verbs)? We tested whether listeners avoid making parsing commitments or rely on verb-general tendencies. Using a visual-world eye-tracking task, we found that for infrequent verbs, listeners relied on the verb-general VP-attachment bias in English, suggesting that listeners track language-general syntactic distributions and use this information during parsing. 

Abstract 2: Previous studies have shown that speech intelligibility performance improves when the talker's voice is familiar to the listener due to prior auditory training or previous exposure to that talker in their daily lives (as would be the case with a friend or spouse). One potential limitation of previous studies of voice familiarity is that they were conducted in laboratory environments, which may not capture the dynamic strategies that familiar talkers and listeners might be able to adopt to better understand one another in noisy environments. These studies also have not explored whether talker familiarity benefits might extend to tasks involving auditory working memory. This study evaluates talker familiarity benefit younger and older adult couples during a dynamic speech understanding task, conducted with talkers and listeners seated at a table at a local restaurant. The stimuli were novel hybrid sentences composed of a call sign and two CVC words. After four consecutive trials, all listeners were prompted to report the call signs from the previous trials. Preliminary data suggest that both older and younger adults have a familiarity benefit on the speech intelligibility test, but that performance on the working memory task was not modulated by familiarity.

LeFrak 2208
Seminar Series Archive: To see a list of previous HESP Seminars click here. 


Certification Maintenance Hours:

Those who attend these seminars will be awarded Certification Maintenance Hours (CMHs). A CMH is 60 minutes of time spent as a learner and participant in a non-ASHA CEU professional development activity. CMHs are different from ASHA-approved CEUs, which are also offered through the department. ASHA permits the use of CMHs for the purpose of maintaining your CCCs. However, you are responsible for maintaining documentation verifying completion of each activity. Documentation will not be maintained on the ASHA CE Registry. For additional information about CMHs and ASHA certification requirements, please click here. Please be aware that state regulatory agencies and boards of education might not recognize or accept CMHs.

Last modified
03/21/2019 - 6:26 am