Look for the catalog of 2020-21IntroSems to roll out here in August.
Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Social Bias and Earwitness Memory
Speech serves a linguistic function, cueing sounds and words, and a social function, cueing talkers and their social attributes. We might think that the social information cued by talkers is independent from understanding the sounds and words we say. More and more research in the past decade has found this to be false: listeners readily map sound patterns in speech to social and linguistic categories. This mapping introduces automatic social biases into the recognition of and memory for spoken words produced by different groups and individuals. In this course, we will learn about variation present in the speech signal across different speakers and speaker groups across accents, race, and gender. We will survey a small, but growing literature, showing that the ways listeners process and remember (sometimes falsely) information produced by different speakers is quite different depending on who is talking and who else might be talking in a given situation. Through the reading of accessible journal articles we will learn about the complex system of speech perception, word recognition, and memory in the context of human behavior in a social world. We will develop our own research questions building on past work, and learn the tools necessary to test these theoretically relevant questions experimentally. It is expected that the skills developed in this class will prove useful broadly as students continue their Stanford education.