Summer school "Coping with the complexity in speech production and perception"

Organizer(s) Susanne Fuchs, Anne Hermes (1), Leonardo Lancia (1) & Martijn Wieling (2)
Affiliaton(s) (1) Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie, CNRS/Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris; (2) University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Start of event 04.07.2022, 14.00 o'clock
End of event 08.07.2022, 13.00 o'clock
Venue Chorin, Brandenburg
Link to external webpage


The objective of this summer school, held in 2022, in Chorin, Germany is to address recent advances in linguistics, psychology and neuroscience with respect to the topic “Coping with the complexity in speech production and perception”. Discussing complexity in speech production and perception is important as there are currently two major trends that will affect how research will be carried out in the future: 

(1) On the one hand, it has been generally acknowledged that speech is multimodal in nature, i.e., not only the spoken “text” delivers information to a listener, but also e.g., clothing, interlocutor’s attitude, prosody, body posture, facial expressions and hand gestures can contribute to the meaning in the respective situative context or may even determine how a listener is perceiving the expression of the speaker. These factors only concern complexity of the speaker-listener interaction. Additional complexity is added, when we zoom into the production and perception of specific sounds within larger linguistic units. Sounds are produced in context which influences their production and perception (coarticulation) and they occur in a certain prosodic and syntactic position within the speech stream etc. Controlling all these factors in laboratory settings can be fruitful, because one can disentangle their contribution, but may also be different from real-life communicative behaviour.

(2) On the other hand, speech scientists are also affected by the replication crisis in psychology, raising awareness for the reproduction of results, sample size of participants and the potential to make generalizations. Many researchers in psychology suggest reducing statistical designs to one or two influencing factors, because more complex designs require an extraordinarily high number of participants. But such an approach is not always feasible, if we consider the multimodal nature of speech. Moreover, it becomes even more serious for the survival of disciplines using advanced methodology like electromagnetic articulography (EMA), functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), which are very costly in terms of data processing and work force. Using these techniques may limit the number of participants, while for e.g., button-press experiments or online experiments it is much easier to obtain very high numbers of participants. We think that it is important taking both views into account. This summer school therefore aims to help young researchers navigate these issues. Thus, one main aim of this summer school is to transfer knowledge related to this topic and to facilitate discussions between researchers from different disciplines, between senior scientists and junior researchers, between Germany, France, the Netherlands and other countries. Another aim is to discuss the complexity of speech and the consequences that it has on experimental designs. Furthermore, we aim to familiarize young researchers with how to engage the general audience, the society and what career possibilities are there outside of the academic world.