Research Summary
My research has focused since 1986 on perceptual learning and attention and working memory. Our research uses a wide range of methods including behavioral paradigms for studying learning and sleep consolidation, attention limitations in learning and perception, and the role of working memory in perception. Our lab is equipped for high-density EEG measurements, fMRI data analysis (with access to a 3T scanner), auditory brainstem recordings, and a wide range of speech recording, editing, analysis, synthesis, and sound modification tools. We test individuals, and can carry out nap studies in-lab with polysomnography. We can collect and analyze peripheral physiological measurements (heart rate variability, respiration, etc.) and in collaboration with colleagues carry out genetic analyses. My graduate students and postdoctoral trainees have gone on to become tenured faculty members at a wide range of international research institutions including Michigan State, Purdue, University College London, University of Trento (Center for Mind/Brain Research), and Birkbeck College in London. My graduate students and trainees publish their research in the top scientific journals including Nature, Current Biology, Neuron, J. Neuroscience, PNAS, Learning & Memory, Cognition, and Psychological Science. My students are trained in the lab in basic behavioral research methods, on-line research methods, signal processing, advanced statistical analysis and modelling, human electrophysiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, comparative methods in communication (comparing humans and songbirds), sensory research methods, fMRI, and computational modeling. Students in my laboratory reported the first scientific evidence for sleep consolidation of generalized learning (Fenn et al., 2003, Nature), the first behavioral evidence for functional effects of sleep consolidation in songbirds (Brawn et al., 2010, J. Neuroscience), the first evidence that adults can learn perfect pitch and this learning depends on working memory capacity (Van Hedger et al., 2015, Cognition), and the first evidence of the fate of interfering material following sleep consolidation (Brawn et al.. 2013, Psychological Science). Students and trainees working with me develop new methods for research, develop broad and deep cognitive neuroscience skills and knowledge, and publish successfully their research going on to successful tenure track and tenured faculty research positions.
speech perception, Auditory Perception, Sleep, Attention, Learning, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Decision Making, Memory consolidation
  • Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, BA Computer Science, Psychology 06/1976
  • State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, PhD Cognitive Psychology 06/1981
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, Postdoctoral Speech, Hearing, and Sensory Communication 06/1984
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
Awards & Honors
  • 2007 - Future Faculty Mentorship Award The University of Chicago
  • 2009 - Fellow Association for Psychological Science
  • 2012 - Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching The University of Chicago
  • 2014 - Fellow The Psychonomic Society
  • 2018 - Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology The University of Chicago
  1. Lehet MI, Fenn KM, Nusbaum HC. Shaping perceptual learning of synthetic speech through feedback. Psychon Bull Rev. 2020 Jun 04. View in: PubMed

  2. Uddin S, Reis KS, Heald SLM, Van Hedger SC, Nusbaum HC. Cortical mechanisms of talker normalization in fluent sentences. Brain Lang. 2020 02; 201:104722. View in: PubMed

  3. Van Hedger SC, Heald SLM, Nusbaum HC. Absolute pitch can be learned by some adults. PLoS One. 2019; 14(9):e0223047. View in: PubMed

  4. Berman MG, Kardan O, Kotabe HP, Nusbaum HC, London SE. The promise of environmental neuroscience. Nat Hum Behav. 2019 05; 3(5):414-417. View in: PubMed

  5. Van Hedger SC, Nusbaum HC, Heald SLM, Huang A, Kotabe HP, Berman MG. The Aesthetic Preference for Nature Sounds Depends on Sound Object Recognition. Cogn Sci. 2019 05; 43(5):e12734. View in: PubMed

  6. Hasson U, Nusbaum HC. Emerging Opportunities for Advancing Cognitive Neuroscience. Trends Cogn Sci. 2019 05; 23(5):363-365. View in: PubMed

  7. Van Hedger SC, Nusbaum HC, Clohisy L, Jaeggi SM, Buschkuehl M, Berman MG. Of cricket chirps and car horns: The effect of nature sounds on cognitive performance. Psychon Bull Rev. 2019 Apr; 26(2):522-530. View in: PubMed

  8. Van Hedger SC, Nusbaum HC. Individual differences in absolute pitch performance: Contributions of working memory, musical expertise, and tonal language background. Acta Psychol (Amst). 2018 Nov; 191:251-260. View in: PubMed

  9. Brawn TP, Nusbaum HC, Margoliash D. Sleep-dependent reconsolidation after memory destabilization in starlings. Nat Commun. 2018 08 06; 9(1):3093. View in: PubMed

  10. Brawn TP, Nusbaum HC, Margoliash D. Differential development of retroactive and proactive interference during post-learning wakefulness. Learn Mem. 2018 07; 25(7):325-329. View in: PubMed

  11. Van Hedger SC, Heald SLM, Uddin S, Nusbaum HC. A note by any other name: Intonation context rapidly changes absolute note judgments. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2018 Aug; 44(8):1268-1282. View in: PubMed

  12. Uddin S, Heald SLM, Van Hedger SC, Nusbaum HC. Hearing sounds as words: Neural responses to environmental sounds in the context of fluent speech. Brain Lang. 2018 04; 179:51-61. View in: PubMed

  13. Uddin S, Heald SLM, Van Hedger SC, Klos S, Nusbaum HC. Understanding environmental sounds in sentence context. Cognition. 2018 03; 172:134-143. View in: PubMed

  14. Brookshire G, Lu J, Nusbaum HC, Goldin-Meadow S, Casasanto D. Visual cortex entrains to sign language. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 06 13; 114(24):6352-6357. View in: PubMed

  15. Tong LC, Ye KJ, Asai K, Ertac S, List JA, Nusbaum HC, Horta├žsu A. Trading experience modulates anterior insula to reduce the endowment effect. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 08 16; 113(33):9238-43. View in: PubMed

  16. Van Hedger SC, Heald SL, Huang A, Rutstein B, Nusbaum HC. Telling in-tune from out-of-tune: widespread evidence for implicit absolute intonation. Psychon Bull Rev. 2017 04; 24(2):481-488. View in: PubMed

  17. Van Hedger SC, Heald SLM, Nusbaum HC. What the [bleep]? Enhanced absolute pitch memory for a 1000Hz sine tone. Cognition. 2016 09; 154:139-150. View in: PubMed

  18. Williams PB, Mangelsdorf HH, Kontra C, Nusbaum HC, Hoeckner B. The Relationship between Mental and Somatic Practices and Wisdom. PLoS One. 2016; 11(2):e0149369. View in: PubMed

  19. Van Hedger SC, Heald SL, Nusbaum HC. The effects of acoustic variability on absolute pitch categorization: Evidence of contextual tuning. J Acoust Soc Am. 2015 Jul; 138(1):436-46. View in: PubMed

  20. Van Hedger SC, Heald SL, Koch R, Nusbaum HC. Auditory working memory predicts individual differences in absolute pitch learning. Cognition. 2015 Jul; 140:95-110. View in: PubMed

  21. Heald SL, Van Hedger SC, Nusbaum HC. Auditory category knowledge in experts and novices. Front Neurosci. 2014; 8:260. View in: PubMed

  22. Heald SL, Nusbaum HC. Talker variability in audio-visual speech perception. Front Psychol. 2014; 5:698. View in: PubMed

  23. Heald SL, Nusbaum HC. Speech perception as an active cognitive process. Front Syst Neurosci. 2014; 8:35. View in: PubMed

  24. Hedger SC, Heald SL, Nusbaum HC. Absolute pitch may not be so absolute. Psychol Sci. 2013 Aug; 24(8):1496-502. View in: PubMed

  25. Fenn KM, Margoliash D, Nusbaum HC. Sleep restores loss of generalized but not rote learning of synthetic speech. Cognition. 2013 Sep; 128(3):280-6. View in: PubMed

  26. Dandan T, Wenfu L, Tianen D, Nusbaum HC, Jiang Q, Qinglin Z. Brain mechanisms of valuable scientific problem finding inspired by heuristic knowledge. Exp Brain Res. 2013 Aug; 228(4):437-43. View in: PubMed

  27. Hedger SC, Nusbaum HC, Lescop O, Wallisch P, Hoeckner B. Music can elicit a visual motion aftereffect. Atten Percept Psychophys. 2013 Jul; 75(5):1039-47. View in: PubMed

  28. Brawn TP, Nusbaum HC, Margoliash D. Sleep consolidation of interfering auditory memories in starlings. Psychol Sci. 2013 Apr; 24(4):439-47. View in: PubMed

  29. Coelho CJ, Nusbaum HC, Rosenbaum DA, Fenn KM. Imagined actions aren't just weak actions: task variability promotes skill learning in physical practice but not in mental practice. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2012 Nov; 38(6):1759-64. View in: PubMed

  30. Egidi G, Nusbaum HC. Emotional language processing: how mood affects integration processes during discourse comprehension. Brain Lang. 2012 Sep; 122(3):199-210. View in: PubMed

  31. Aue T, Nusbaum HC, Cacioppo JT. Neural correlates of wishful thinking. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2012 Nov; 7(8):991-1000. View in: PubMed

  32. Fenn KM, Shintel H, Atkins AS, Skipper JI, Bond VC, Nusbaum HC. When less is heard than meets the ear: change deafness in a telephone conversation. Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2011 Jul; 64(7):1442-56. View in: PubMed

  33. Shintel H, Nusbaum HC. Moving to the speed of sound: context modulation of the effect of acoustic properties of speech. Cogn Sci. 2008 Sep; 32(6):1063-74. View in: PubMed

  34. Brawn TP, Fenn KM, Nusbaum HC, Margoliash D. Consolidating the effects of waking and sleep on motor-sequence learning. J Neurosci. 2010 Oct 20; 30(42):13977-82. View in: PubMed

  35. Dick F, Lee HL, Nusbaum H, Price CJ. Auditory-motor expertise alters "speech selectivity" in professional musicians and actors. Cereb Cortex. 2011 Apr; 21(4):938-48. View in: PubMed

  36. Gentner TQ, Fenn K, Margoliash D, Nusbaum H. Simple stimuli, simple strategies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 20; 107(16):E65; author reply E66-7. View in: PubMed

  37. Brawn TP, Nusbaum HC, Margoliash D. Sleep-dependent consolidation of auditory discrimination learning in adult starlings. J Neurosci. 2010 Jan 13; 30(2):609-13. View in: PubMed

  38. Margoliash D, Nusbaum HC. Language: the perspective from organismal biology. Trends Cogn Sci. 2009 Dec; 13(12):505-10. View in: PubMed

  39. Fenn KM, Gallo DA, Margoliash D, Roediger HL, Nusbaum HC. Reduced false memory after sleep. Learn Mem. 2009 Sep; 16(9):509-13. View in: PubMed

  40. Francis AL, Nusbaum HC. Effects of intelligibility on working memory demand for speech perception. Atten Percept Psychophys. 2009 Aug; 71(6):1360-74. View in: PubMed

  41. Lyons IM, Mattarella-Micke A, Cieslak M, Nusbaum HC, Small SL, Beilock SL. The role of personal experience in the neural processing of action-related language. Brain Lang. 2010 Mar; 112(3):214-22. View in: PubMed

  42. Hasson U, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Task-dependent organization of brain regions active during rest. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 30; 106(26):10841-6. View in: PubMed

  43. Skipper JI, Goldin-Meadow S, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Gestures orchestrate brain networks for language understanding. Curr Biol. 2009 Apr 28; 19(8):661-7. View in: PubMed

  44. Brawn TP, Fenn KM, Nusbaum HC, Margoliash D. Consolidation of sensorimotor learning during sleep. Learn Mem. 2008 Nov; 15(11):815-9. View in: PubMed

  45. Beilock SL, Lyons IM, Mattarella-Micke A, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Sports experience changes the neural processing of action language. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 09; 105(36):13269-73. View in: PubMed

  46. Monteleone GT, Phan KL, Nusbaum HC, Fitzgerald D, Irick JS, Fienberg SE, Cacioppo JT. Detection of deception using fMRI: better than chance, but well below perfection. Soc Neurosci. 2009; 4(6):528-38. View in: PubMed

  47. Cacioppo JT, Norris CJ, Decety J, Monteleone G, Nusbaum H. In the eye of the beholder: individual differences in perceived social isolation predict regional brain activation to social stimuli. J Cogn Neurosci. 2009 Jan; 21(1):83-92. View in: PubMed

  48. Shintel H, Nusbaum HC. Dialogue processing: Automatic alignment or controlled understanding? Behav Brain Sci. 2004 Apr; 27(2):210-211. View in: PubMed

  49. Hasson U, Skipper JI, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Abstract coding of audiovisual speech: beyond sensory representation. Neuron. 2007 Dec 20; 56(6):1116-26. View in: PubMed

  50. Lamm C, Nusbaum HC, Meltzoff AN, Decety J. What are you feeling? Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess the modulation of sensory and affective responses during empathy for pain. PLoS One. 2007 Dec 12; 2(12):e1292. View in: PubMed

  51. Francis AL, Nusbaum HC, Fenn K. Effects of training on the acoustic phonetic representation of synthetic speech. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2007 Dec; 50(6):1445-65. View in: PubMed

  52. Hasson U, Skipper JI, Wilde MJ, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Improving the analysis, storage and sharing of neuroimaging data using relational databases and distributed computing. Neuroimage. 2008 Jan 15; 39(2):693-706. View in: PubMed

  53. Skipper JI, Goldin-Meadow S, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Speech-associated gestures, Broca's area, and the human mirror system. Brain Lang. 2007 Jun; 101(3):260-77. View in: PubMed

  54. Magnuson JS, Nusbaum HC. Acoustic differences, listener expectations, and the perceptual accommodation of talker variability. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2007 Apr; 33(2):391-409. View in: PubMed

  55. Hasson U, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Brain networks subserving the extraction of sentence information and its encoding to memory. Cereb Cortex. 2007 Dec; 17(12):2899-913. View in: PubMed

  56. Skipper JI, van Wassenhove V, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Hearing lips and seeing voices: how cortical areas supporting speech production mediate audiovisual speech perception. Cereb Cortex. 2007 Oct; 17(10):2387-99. View in: PubMed

  57. Shintel H, Nusbaum HC. The sound of motion in spoken language: visual information conveyed by acoustic properties of speech. Cognition. 2007 Dec; 105(3):681-90. View in: PubMed

  58. Hasson U, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Repetition suppression for spoken sentences and the effect of task demands. J Cogn Neurosci. 2006 Dec; 18(12):2013-29. View in: PubMed

  59. Gentner TQ, Fenn KM, Margoliash D, Nusbaum HC. Recursive syntactic pattern learning by songbirds. Nature. 2006 Apr 27; 440(7088):1204-7. View in: PubMed

  60. Skipper JI, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Listening to talking faces: motor cortical activation during speech perception. Neuroimage. 2005 Mar; 25(1):76-89. View in: PubMed

  61. Wong PC, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Neural bases of talker normalization. J Cogn Neurosci. 2004 Sep; 16(7):1173-84. View in: PubMed

  62. Small SL, Nusbaum HC. On the neurobiological investigation of language understanding in context. Brain Lang. 2004 May; 89(2):300-11. View in: PubMed

  63. Cacioppo JT, Berntson GG, Lorig TS, Norris CJ, Rickett E, Nusbaum H. Just because you're imaging the brain doesn't mean you can stop using your head: a primer and set of first principles. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Oct; 85(4):650-61. View in: PubMed

  64. Fenn KM, Nusbaum HC, Margoliash D. Consolidation during sleep of perceptual learning of spoken language. Nature. 2003 Oct 09; 425(6958):614-6. View in: PubMed

  65. Francis AL, Nusbaum HC. Selective attention and the acquisition of new phonetic categories. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2002 Apr; 28(2):349-66. View in: PubMed

  66. Goldin-Meadow S, Nusbaum H, Kelly SD, Wagner S. Explaining math: gesturing lightens the load. Psychol Sci. 2001 Nov; 12(6):516-22. View in: PubMed

  67. Francis AL, Baldwin K, Nusbaum HC. Effects of training on attention to acoustic cues. Percept Psychophys. 2000 Nov; 62(8):1668-80. View in: PubMed

  68. Luks TL, Nusbaum HC, Levy J. Hemispheric involvement in the perception of syntactic prosody is dynamically dependent on task demands. Brain Lang. 1998 Nov; 65(2):313-32. View in: PubMed

  69. Goldin-Meadow S, Nusbaum H, Garber P, Church RB. Transitions in learning: evidence for simultaneously activated strategies. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1993 Feb; 19(1):92-107. View in: PubMed

  70. Lee L, Nusbaum HC. Processing interactions between segmental and suprasegmental information in native speakers of English and Mandarin Chinese. Percept Psychophys. 1993 Feb; 53(2):157-65. View in: PubMed

  71. Sawusch JR, Nusbaum HC, Schwab EC. Contextual effects in vowel perception II: evidence for two processing mechanisms. Percept Psychophys. 1980 May; 27(5):421-34. View in: PubMed

  72. Schwab EC, Sawusch JR, Nusbaum HC. The role of second formant transitions in the stop-semivowel distinction. Percept Psychophys. 1981 Feb; 29(2):121-8. View in: PubMed

  73. Nusbaum HC, Schwab EC, Sawusch JR. The role of "chirp" identification in duplex perception. Percept Psychophys. 1983 Apr; 33(4):323-32. View in: PubMed

  74. Nusbaum HC. Possible mechanisms of duplex perception: "chirp" identification versus dichotic fusion. Percept Psychophys. 1984 Jan; 35(1):94-101. View in: PubMed

  75. Sawusch JR, Nusbaum HC. Auditory and phonetic processes in place perception for stops. Percept Psychophys. 1983 Dec; 34(6):560-8. View in: PubMed

  76. Greenspan SL, Nusbaum HC, Pisoni DB. Perceptual learning of synthetic speech produced by rule. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1988 Jul; 14(3):421-33. View in: PubMed

  77. Slowiaczek LM, Nusbaum HC, Pisoni DB. Phonological priming in auditory word recognition. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1987 Jan; 13(1):64-75. View in: PubMed

  78. Slowiaczek LM, Nusbaum HC. Effects of speech rate and pitch contour on the perception of synthetic speech. Hum Factors. 1985 Dec; 27(6):701-12. View in: PubMed

  79. Sawusch JR, Nusbaum HC. Contextual effects in vowel perception I: anchor-induced contrast effects. Percept Psychophys. 1979 Apr; 25(4):292-302. View in: PubMed