The Cluster invites guest speakers from various departments to present their innovative linguistic research and provides members with the opportunity to engage in lively discussion. We also host professional development workshops, which are facilitated by faculty members, industry professionals, and graduate students.

Our next talk of the 2022-2023 academic year:

Dr. Michelle Cohn

UC Davis, Linguistics

Voice assistant- vs. human-directed? Speech style differences as a window to social cognition.

Monday, April 10th 

Zoom, 1:30 to 2:30 pm PT

Zoom Link:

If you have any questions, please email us:

See below for more information about Dr. Cohn and our Spring Schedule:

Description of Dr. Cohn's Talk: Individuals of all ages increasingly use spoken language to interface with technology, such as with voice assistants (e.g., Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant). In this talk, I will present some of our recent research examining speech style adaptations in controlled psycholinguistic experiments with voice assistant and human addressees. Our findings suggest that both a priori expectations of communicative competence, as well as the actual error rate in the interaction, shape acoustic-phonetic adaptations. I discuss these findings in terms of the interplay of anthropomorphism and mental models in human-computer interaction, and raise the broader implications of voice technology on language use and language change.

About Dr. Cohn: Dr. Michelle Cohn is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the UC Davis Phonetics Lab, associated with the Department of Linguistics. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics at UC Davis in 2018. Her postdoctoral training includes a 2.5 year Social, Behavioral, and Economics (SBE) Postdoctoral Fellowship through the National Science Foundation. Since 2022, Dr. Cohn has also been a Visiting Researcher with the Google Responsible AI and Human-Centered Technologies group. Dr. Cohn's research program aims to uncover the cognitive sources of variation in how people produce and perceive phonetic details in speech.

Spring 2023 Schedule

Co-chairs: Nicholas Aoki (Linguistics), Roxanne Elliott (Education), and Ana Ortega Pérez (Spanish and Portuguese) 

Michelle Cohn (UC Davis; Linguistics)

Aleese Block (UC Davis; Linguistics)

Ingrid Sub Cuc (UC Davis; Native American Studies)

Previous speakers and workshop facilitators: 


Co-chairs: Nicholas Aoki (Linguistics), Roxanne Elliott (Education), and Ana Ortega Pérez (Spanish and Portuguese)

Winter 2023:

Valeria Zunino Edelsberg (UC Davis; Education)

Margarita Jimenez-Silva, Ed.D. (UC Davis; Education)

Fall 2022:

Diana Ruggiero, PhD (University of Memphis; World Languages and Literatures)

Kristin Predeck, PhD (Knowledge Engineer at Amazon)

Georgia Zellou, PhD (UC Davis; Linguistics)


Co-chairs: Sophia Minnillo (Linguistics), Beverly Cotter (Psychology), and Ana Ruiz Alonso Bartol (Spanish & Portuguese) 

Spring 2022:

Winter 2022:

Fall 2021:


Co-chairs: Skyler Reese (Linguistics) and Lillian Jones (Spanish & Portuguese) 

Spring 2021:

Winter 2021:

Fall 2020:


Co-chairs: Peter Joseph Torres (Linguistics) and Daniela Cerbino (Spanish & Portuguese) 

Fall 2019:


Co-chairs: Glen Heinrich-Wallace (Linguistics) and Cory Osburn (Spanish and Portuguese) 

Spring 2019:

Winter 2019:

Fall 2018:


Co-chairs: Claire Henderson (Linguistics) and Marta Llorente Bravo (Spanish and Portuguese) 

Spring 2018:

Winter 2018:

Fall 2017:


Co-chairs: Benjamin Gomes (Linguistics) and Aaron Yamada (Spanish and Portuguese) 

Spring 2017:

Winter 2017:

Fall 2016:


Co-chairs: Caitlin Tierney (Linguistics) and Melissa Vega-Valdez (Spanish & Portuguese) 

Winter 2016:

Fall 2015: