Tag: Terry Gottfried

Lawrence University Psychologist Awarded Fulbright Research Fellowship to Canada

Lawrence University Professor of Psychology Terry Gottfried has been awarded a $25,000 Fulbright Fellowship. Beginning in January 2014, Gottfried will spend five months as the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Brain, Language and Music at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Terry Gottfried

During his fellowship appointment, Gottfried will continue his ongoing research into the relation between music and speech processing. Working in collaboration with McGill researcher Linda Polka, Gottfried will examine the influence of linguistic and musical experience on listeners segmentation of the speech stream into words.

“We speak without clear pauses between words, so listeners must rely on other rhythmic information such as pitch and syllable duration to determine where one word ends and the next one begins,” explained Gottfried, who joined the Lawrence faculty in 1986. “This segmentation of the speech stream by rhythm and pitch is done differently in different languages, so we’re interested in investigating the role musical expertise has on learning how to process speech in a second language.”

“We are delighted that Professor Gottfried has received this wonderful, prestigious award,” said David Burrows, provost and dean of the faculty. “The work that he will do as part of the fellowship will be of great benefit to society. We are very proud to have one of our fine teacher-scholars honored by the Fulbright program. The award is a great testament to the high quality of Lawrence’s faculty.”

Role of Music in Language Perception

A specialist in second language acquisition, Gottfried has previously conducted research that found non-Mandarin-speaking musicians have an advantage over non-musicians in their perception of lexical tonal contrasts in Mandarin Chinese. Other studies suggest musicians acquire some of the speaking and perceiving skills necessary for second language learning more readily than non-musicians.

“My work with Dr. Polka will examine the extent to which musical training and ability may affect speech segmentation patterns,” said Gottfried. “Montreal is an ideal place to conduct this research given the ready availability of French-English monolingual and bilingual listeners, with and without musical expertise.”

He hopes to complete his study in time to present results at the fall 2014 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

“This Fulbright Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to conduct research with a colleague I know as well as collaborate with other researchers interested in the brain mechanisms involved in music and language perception,” said Gottfried. “This will be important as I continue to teach courses in the psychology of music and language at Lawrence.”

This is the second time Gottfried has been recognized by the Fulbright Scholar Program. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2001 for a teaching and research position in the English department at Aarhus University in Denmark, where he taught a seminar on the psychology of language for English language students. He also conducted research comparing Danish and American English listeners’ perception of American English vowels.

Gottfried earned both a bachelor’s degree in French and psychology and a doctoral degree in experimental psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Established in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Scholar Program is the federal government’s flagship program in international educational exchange. It provides grants in a variety of disciplines for teaching and research positions in more than 150 countries.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Relationship Between Musical Ability and Second Language Skills Examined in Science Hall Colloquium

The relationship between musical skills and the ability to better recognize unfamiliar speech sounds when learning a second language will be examined in a Lawrence University Science Hall Colloquium.

Lawrence University Professor of Psychology Terry Gottfried presents “Music and Language Learning: Relation of Musical and Linguistic Tone Perception” Tuesday, May 10 at 4:15 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102. The event is free and open to the public.

A specialist in the perception of speech and sound, Gottfried will discuss the findings of his recent research with Lawrence conservatory students which indicates musicians hold a significant advantage over non-musicians in identifying and producing unfamiliar speech contrasts in a foreign language.

In his study, listeners who had never studied Mandarin Chinese were presented with words that differed only in lexical tone. While non-native listeners had trouble detecting the tonal differences, the musicians were significantly more accurate in their identification and discrimination of the words. The musicians also were more successful in imitating these words than non-musicians.

Gottfried argues that abilities or skills associated with being a musician are related to skills necessary to learn a new speech sound contrast.

With the support of a grant from the Norwegian Marshall Fund Committee, Gottfried recently conducted research in Trondheim, Norway, in which he investigated factors that help or hinder language learners in speaking and understanding a second language.

Part of this research investigated differences in how Norwegian listeners, in comparison to Danes, perceive the vowel contrasts of their native and their second language. He also studied whether the use of linguistic tones in Norwegian provides native speakers of that language with an advantage in learning the lexical tones of Mandarin Chinese.

In 2001, he was awarded a fellowship by the Fulbright Scholar Program for a teaching and research position in the English department of Aarhus University in Denmark, teaching courses on the psychology of language and speech science.

A member of the Lawrence psychology department since 1986, Gottfried earned his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Minnesota.

Lawrence University Psychologist Awarded Norwegian Marshall Fund Grant to Study Cross-Language Speech Perception

Lawrence University psychologist Terry Rew-Gottfried has been awarded a 10,000 kroner grant (approximately $1,500 U.S.) by the Norwegian Marshall Fund Committee to conduct research on cross-language differences in speech perception. The grant will help support his sabbatical research during April and May of 2005 in Trondheim, Norway.

Rew-Gottfried will pursue a two-part research project while in Norway. The first phase is an extension of earlier work he conducted in Denmark comparing Danish and English spectral and durational information in vowels. In collaboration with a Norwegian colleague, he will investigate differences in how Norwegian listeners, in comparison to Danes, perceive the vowel contrasts of their native and their second language.

The second part of his research will focus on determining whether the use of linguistic tones in Norwegian provides native speakers of that language with an advantage in learning the lexical tones of Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin Chinese uses phonemic tones that are primarily cued acoustically by contours of pitch. For example, the syllable ma means “mother,” “hemp,” “horse,” or “scold,” depending on whether the pitch is high-level, mid-rising, low-dipping or high-falling, respectively. Like Mandarin, Norwegian varies pitch contour in some words to indicate different meanings. While American English listeners have considerable difficulty in differentiating the phonemic tones of Mandarin, native Norwegian listeners may have less difficulty, given their native language’s use of linguistic tone to make phonemic distinctions.

Rew-Gottfried’s research is expected to address more broadly the question in psycholinguistics and second language learning of what factors help or hinder language learners in speaking and understanding a second language. Learners vary considerably, according to Rew-Gottfried, in their ability to achieve native-like competence in producing and perceiving speech sounds. The research has important implications for theories of speech processing across many different languages.

A member of the Lawrence psychology department since 1986, Rew-Gottfried has spent more than 20 years investigating the effect of second-language learning on listeners’ ability to identify and discriminate unfamiliar speech sounds, how acoustic characteristics of different languages differ with the context in which they are spoken as well as the relationship of musical ability and second-language learning.

He spent the fall 2001 academic term as a Fulbright Visiting Lecturer/Research Scholar at the English department of Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, teaching the psychology of language and conducting collaborative research on the duration and rate effects on American English vowel identification by native Danish listeners.

Rew-Gottfried has also conducted research on memory, including eyewitness memory and the use of perceptual imagery in improving recall. He earned his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of Minnesota.