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TEMPoral Organization of Speech (TEMPOS)

How is it possible that we can have a proper conversation with someone even if that someone is talking very fast, produces uhm’s all the time, or has to shout over several other talkers in a noisy café? How is it possible that we seem to effortlessly plan and produce words on a millisecond timescale?

Having a simple conversation often seems rather easy, but at closer inspection it takes place under substantial time pressure. Speaking too slowly, too late, or too early can result in disrupted communication. At the same time, listeners have to, for instance, keep track of the speech rate of a given talker, even in noisy acoustic surroundings (e.g., in busy traffic). This group is interested in how talkers manage to produce the right words at the right time and how listeners are capable of understanding speech produced at different rates and in noisy environments.


Hans Rutger Bosker (research leader)

Merel Maslowski (PhD student)

Joe Rodd (PhD student)

Greta Kaufeld (PhD student)

Andrea E. Martin


Speech production takes place under considerable time pressure: speaking too early, too late, or too slowly can seriously disrupt spoken communication. At the same time, speech perception involves the decoding of a fleeting communicative signal with substantial temporal variation. In the TEMPOS group, we investigate how speakers control the temporal encoding of a spoken communicative message (speech planning), on the one hand; and how listeners manage to successfully decode this transitory speech signal in real-time (speech perception), on the other hand. For instance, we develop and test computational models of speech planning in an attempt to account for short-term regulation of speech rate. Also, using neuroimaging, psychoacoustics, and perception experiments, we work towards a neurobiologically plausible framework of speech rate normalization in speech perception.


The work within the TEMPOS group contributes to a better understanding of how spoken communication can take place so smoothly. Spoken utterances are timed very carefully but few psycholinguistic models of speech production actually explain how, for instance, talkers regulate their speech rate. Listeners are capable of successfully understanding speech produced at various rates, yet the psycholinguistic and neurobiological mechanisms by which they do so are not well understood. By concurrently examining the temporal encoding (in speech planning) and temporal decoding of speech (in speech perception), this approach also uniquely allows us to study how these two processes (production and perception) interact.


The specific research projects within the TEMPOS group are:

 What are the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms underlying how listeners normalize speech sounds for different speech rates?

Psychological mechanisms

Hans Rutger Bosker, Greta Kaufeld (PhD student), Andrea E. Martin, Eva Reinisch, Matthias Sjerps

Neurobiological mechanisms

Hans Rutger Bosker, Oded Ghitza, Peter Hagoort, Judith Holler, Ole Jensen, Anne Kösem, Ashley Lewis, David Peeters, Lars Riecke

What are the psychological control mechanisms that underlie the regulation of speech rate?

Hans Rutger Bosker, Mirjam Ernestus, Antje Meyer, Joe Rodd (PhD student), Louis Ten Bosch

How do speech rate perception and speech rate production interact?

Hans Rutger Bosker, Merel Maslowski (PhD student), Antje Meyer

What is the role of (enhanced) temporal modulations in speech-in-noise production and perception?

Hans Rutger Bosker, Martin Cooke

How do signals that the temporal planning of speech has broken down (e.g., disfluencies) influence speech-induced prediction and lexical activation?

Hans Rutger Bosker, Martin Corley, Geertje Van Bergen



To study speech production, we use speech elicitation paradigms, such as (multiple) picture naming, reading out loud, Lombard tests, etc. We also apply eye-tracking to study the temporal link between planning a word (looking time) and speaking it (speech onset). Furthermore, we develop computationally implemented models of speech planning and test them on empirical data from experiments. To study speech perception, we use speech categorization experiments with manipulated speech signals (what’s this word?), speech-in-noise intelligibility experiments (what’s this sentence?), and psycholinguistic paradigms such as repetition priming (e.g., lexical decision task). We also use eye-tracking (visual world paradigm) to study the time-course of speech-induced lexical prediction and integration. Finally, much of the perception work within the group is performed within a neurobiological framework, involving entrainment (phase-locking) of endogenous oscillations in the brain to the slow amplitude modulations in the speech signal. We therefore also use neuroimaging methods (MEG, fMRI, tACS, EEG) and psychoacoustics to uncover the neurobiological mechanisms involved in the temporal decoding of speech, with a particular focus on oscillatory dynamics.



Marie Stadtbäumer (MA intern)

Rebecca Wogan (MSc intern)

External collaborators:

Martin Cooke (Ikerbasque, Basque Science Foundation, Bilbao, Spain)

Martin Corley (University of Edinburgh)

Nivja De Jong (Leiden University)

Mirjam Ernestus (Radboud University)

Oded Ghitza (Boston University)

Ole Jensen (University of Birmingham)

Anne Kösem (Lyon University)

Hugo Quené (Utrecht University)

Eva Reinisch (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich)

Lars Riecke (Maastricht University)

Louis Ten Bosch (Radboud University)

Former members:

Rik Does, Wibke Naumann, Anna Ravenschlag, Momo Yamamura, Jeonga Kim, Marjolein Van Os

Last checked 2018-10-23 by hanbos
Psychology of Language

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Wundtlaan 1
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The Netherlands

Phone:  +31-24-3521336
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Director: Antje Meyer