Undergraduate Research

The educational mission of the Perrachione Lab is to train the next generation of researchers in the systems neuroscience of human communication – a mission that begins by developing a strong culture of undergraduate research. Have a look at some of the opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research in the laboratory, whether leading their own project or assisting in a larger collaboration. Or, see what current and former undergraduate in the lab have accomplished with us.

Opportunities for undergraduate research

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP): Under the guidance of senior researchers, undergraduate students propose a project and carry out research in the lab during the academic year or summer. UROP students can receive a stipend to support their research, and the lab has a strong history of successful applications for these competitive awards. Visit the UROP homepage or contact Dr. Perrachione for more information about a position. Former UROP students in the lab have presented their research at scientific conferences and been an author on scientific publications.

Work-StudyStudents with federal work-study awards can work on projects in the laboratory as a paid research assistant. If you have a work-study award and are interested in using it to conduct research, please contact us about your interests.

Sargent Thesis for Distinction: Undergraduate students in Sargent College can complete a research project in the lab leading to  Senior Thesis for Distinction. If you are a Junior in Sargent College and interested in Thesis opportunities, please contact us about your interests.

Kilachand Honors College Keystone Project: Undergraduate students in the Kilachand Honors College can conduct a research project in the laboratory leading to completion of their Senior Keystone project. Prior Kilachand Keystone projects have led to conference presentations and publications in scientific journals. Contact us if you are a current KHC student with interest in conducting your Keystone project in the lab.

Volunteer: Students looking to get a feel for what research is like can volunteer their time in the laboratory. This is a good first step for students who want to learn about academic research without taking on larger commitment like a UROP project.

Undergraduate Alumni Highlights

Michelle Njoroge (CAS ’20) received numerous UROP awards to work on projects related to speech perception using EEG and eyetracking. She completed an Honors Thesis in Neuroscience and coauthored two journal articles that used these psychophysiological techniques to understand the brain bases of auditory processing. She currently works in Admissions here at BU.

Kristina Furbeck (SAR ’18) carried out her Sargent Thesis for Distinction project (“Acoustic features associated with similarity judgments of voices”) in the lab. Her thesis work was presented at the 2018 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Minneapolis. She went on to complete her MS-SLP degree at the University of Pittsburgh.

Alina Razak (SAR / KHC ’17) completed her Kilachand Keystone Project (“Who’s at the cocktail party? Effects of noise on talker identification”) in the lab. She presented her thesis work at the 2017 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America meeting in Boston. She is currently an MD student at BUMC.

Elly Hu (CAS ’16) worked in the lab for several years as a UROP student, leading a project to understand how phonetic similarity affects perceptual ambiguity across different talkers. She is an author on a scientific paper featuring her work. Elly went on to receive an MBA and draws on her quantitative and empirical background in STEM to develop better perception- and behavior-based marketing solutions.

Deirdre McLaughlin (SAR ’15) was the recipient of several UROP awards to study how people learn to recognize voices. She presented her undergraduate research at the 2015 International Congress of Phonetic Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland. She is also an author on several papers featuring her undergraduate research. Deirdre went on to receive her clinical certification in speech-language pathology.

View all Perrachione Lab alumni.

Publications by Perrachione Lab undergraduates

Journal Articles

Lim, S.-J., Carter, Y.D., Njoroge, J.M., Shinn-Cunningham, B.G., & Perrachione, T.K. (2021). Talker discontinuity disrupts attention to speech: Evidence from EEG and pupillometry. Brain & Language, 221, 104996. | Preprint | Publisher | PDF

Perrachione, T.K., Furbeck, K.T., & Thurston, E.J. (2019). Acoustic and linguistic factors affecting perceptual similarity judgments of voices. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 146, 3384-3399. Publisher | PDF

Choi, J.Y., Hu, E.R., & Perrachione, T.K. (2018). Varying acoustic-phonemic ambiguity reveals that talker normalization is obligatory in speech processing. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 80, 784-797. | Publisher | PubMed | PDF

Conference Presentations

Fleming, J.T., Njoroge, M., Noyce, A.L., Perrachione, T.K., & Shinn-Cunningham, B.G. (2020). Sensory modality and information domain modulate behavioral and neural signatures of working memory interference. 27th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (Boston, March 2020).

Lim, S.-J., Qu, A., Tin, J.A.A., & Perrachione, T.K. (2019). Attentional reorientation explains processing costs associated with talker variability. 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (Melbourne, August 2019).

Lim, S.-J., Tin, J.A.A., Qu, A., & Perrachione, T.K. (2019). Attention vs. adaptation in processing talker variability in speech. 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Louisville, May 2019).

Furbeck, K.T., Thurston, E.J., Tin, J.A.A., & Perrachione, T.K. (2018). Perceptual similarity judgments of voices: Effects of talker and listener language, vocal source acoustics, and time-reversal. 175th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Minneapolis, May 2018).

Razak, A., Thurston, E.J., Gustainis, L.E., Kidd, G. Jr., Swaminathan, J., & Perrachione, T.K. (2017). Talker identification in three types of background noise. 173rd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Boston, June 2017).

Perrachione, T.K., Dougherty, S.C., Choi, J.Y., & Hu, E.R. (2016). Noninvasive brain stimulation to facilitate foreign language speech-sound learning in low-aptitude learners. 172nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Honolulu, November 2016).

Choi, J.Y., Hu, E.R., & Perrachione, T.K. (2016). Orthogonal interference of indexical information occurs even when phonetic contrasts are unambiguous across talkers. 171st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Salt Lake City, May 2016).

Perrachione, T.K., Dougherty, S.C., McLaughlin, D.E., & Lember, R.A. (2015). The effects of speech perception and speech comprehension on talker identification. 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (Glasgow, August 2015).

McLaughlin, D.E., Dougherty, S.C., Lember, R.A., & Perrachione, T.K. (2015). Episodic memory for words enhances the language familiarity effect in talker identification. 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (Glasgow, August 2015).

Dougherty, S.C., McLaughlin, D.E., & Perrachione, T.K. (2015) A language familiarity effect for talker identification in forward but not time-reversed speech. 169th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Pittsburgh, May 2015).