mw. drs. S.M.M. (Sophie) ter Schure


  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
    Capaciteitsgroep Taalwetenschap
  • Spuistraat  210
    1012 VT  Amsterdam
  • S.M.M.terSchure@uva.nl

Research interests

- Language acquisition
- Influence of input on learning
- Acquiring categories of words and sounds
- Evolution of language

Teaching

In 2011/12, I taught Taal- en spraakvermogen (Psycholinguistics) to second year students. In this course we focus on the language ability of normal adults: what cognitive processes are engaged in the production and comprehension of words, sentences, discourse? We discussed the mono- and multilingual lexicon, the neurological basis of language, models of language processing and the connection between language and thought. 

Current research

Category learning across linguistic and object representation domains (PhD project, 2010-2014).
This study is part of the research project ' Models and tests of early category formation: interactions between cognitive, emotional and neural mechanisms ' (see link below) within the university priority program Brain and Cognition. My project focuses on the difference between learning categories in the linguistic domain and in the object-perception domain within the first year of life.
Together with Dorothy Mandell, Paola Escudero and Maartje Raijmakers, I investigated multimodal learning in infants. When learning object-side associations, do 8- to 11-month-old infants benefit from getting both visual and auditory information, or is it easier when there is just one source for learning to categorize objects? 
The second experiment is on the mechanism behind learning categories from visual and auditory information. Do infants use statistical mechanisms to learn sounds as proposed in Maye et al. (2002)? If there is indeed a 'distributional learning mechanism' behind learning sound categories, does it play a role in learning from both auditory (formants) and visual sound information (mouth shapes)?

Contact

Although I am a member of the Capaciteitsgroep Taalwetenschap (Linguistics), I also work at the Roeterseilandcomplex (building D, souterrain) with the other Brain & Cognition researchers, usually on Thursdays. The address is Nieuwe Achtergracht 129-131. My room number there is DS-19. There is no phone installed, but I reply to emails fairly quickly. When I'm at the Bungehuis, you can reach me at 020-5253811. My pidgeon hole is at the Bungehuis (4th floor).
Page last updated: May 1, 2012

Apart from doing research

- I sing folk songs. Studying in Edinburgh during my BA gave me the opportunity to learn beautiful old and new songs from Scots and Scottish singers, and I haven't stopped singing them since. Apart from in bands - The Lasses and Bound for the waves - I often sing solo or at sessions (for example, Mulligans' Wednesday session: 21.00-1.00, Amstel 100, Amsterdam).    

- I edit texts for hard/ /hoofd , online magazine for journalism and art. Texts and images on politics, beauty, philosophy, music, food, random observations, people, science. My favourite topics of these are science and food, and so I edit and streamline the texts on those subjects. 

Possible student projects

I have room for some projects for students at the CSCA or the BA/MA Linguistics in the field of experimental psycholinguistics. At the moment, I'm mainly working on distributional learning and categorical perception. For questions, don't hesitate to contact me: 
s.m.m.terschure@uva.nl


Learning speech sounds
Since Maye et al. (2002) published their results supporting the idea that infants learn phonetic categories by paying attention to statistical distributions of sounds, and that this might enable them to learn these categories before acquiring words, this finding seems to have been accepted as common knowledge (e.g., reviews by Johnson & Munakata, 2005; Kuhl, 2004; Swingley, 2009). Yet, distributional learning for speech sounds in infants has proven difficult to replicate. Also, the ultimate test of the role of statistical learning for category learning has yet to be executed. In your project, you will carry out an eye-tracking experiment with Dutch 8-month-old infants to test whether they are able to learn two phonetic categories if sounds are paired with two distinctive objects, but the statistical distribution suggests one category.

This is an experimental (psycho)linguistic project with drs. Sophie ter Schure at the ACLC. Candidates should have an interest in experimental psychology and/or linguistics and preferably, but not necessarily some experience with E-Prime and SPSS. The period for this project should be between February 2013 and February 2014.

2011

2010

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