Lori L. Holt, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Neuroscience


254L Baker Hall, CMU
F: 412-268-2798
Website >


PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1999)


Auditory cognitive neuroscience, with a focus on spoken language

Research Summary

A spoken syllable may persist in the world for a mere tenth of a second. Yet, as adult listeners, we are able to gather a great deal of information from these floating acoustic signals. We may apprehend the physical location of the speaker, the speaker's gender, regional dialect, age, emotional state, and identity, as well as the linguistic message. The ease of everyday conversation belies the complexity involved.

Research in my lab focuses on the cognitive processes that underlie this feat, using speech processing as a platform for investigating learning, plasticity, categorization, cross-modal processing, object recognition, memory, attention and development. Among our current projects, we are investigating the learning that occurs in acquiring the sounds of a second language and how representations of the native language interact with this learning; how listeners' "tune" their auditory perception to the statistical regularities of the sound environment; and how higher-level knowledge may influence early auditory object recognition and speech categorization. The major approach we use is to study human adult (and sometimes child) participants using perception and learning tasks. In addition, we make use of eye-tracking and behavioral methods with nonhuman animals. Students in the lab are also making use of functional imaging to address the neural bases of auditory processing.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program



Speech perception: The view from the auditory system.
Lotto, A. J., & Holt, L. L. (2015). In G. Hickok and S. Small (Eds). The Neurobiology of Language, Academic Press, pp. 185-194.
Probabilistic category learning in Developmental Dyslexia: Evidence from feedback and paired-associate tasks.
Gabay, Y., Vakil, E., Schiff, R., & Holt, L. L. (2015). Neuropsychology, 29, 844-854. PMC4558403. 
Incidental learning of sound categories is impaired in developmental dyslexia.
Gabay, Y. & Holt, L. L. (2015). Cortex, 73, 131-143. PMC4689640.
Dimension-based statistical learning of vowels.
Liu, R. & Holt, L. L. (2015). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41, 1783-1798. PMC4666748.
Generalization of dimension-based statistical learning: context matters.
Idemaru, K. & Holt, L. L. (2015). Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Glasgow.
Incidental auditory category learning.
Gabay, Y, Dick, F. K., Zevin, J., & Holt, L. L. (2015). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41, 1124-1138. PMC4516559.
Discovering functional units in continuous speech.
Lim, S. -J., Lacerda, F. & Holt, L. L. (2015). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41, 1139-1152. Supplementary Materials. PMC4601578.
Impaired statistical learning in developmental dyslexia.
Gabay, Y., Thiessen, E. D., & Holt, L. L. (2015). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 58, 934-945. PMC4490081.