Name: Giulio Severijnen
Research: Understanding prosodic talker variability in speech perception
Started at the IMPRS: 2020
During my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology programme at the Radboud University, I discovered that I had a great interest in research. I wanted to learn about the (cognitive) mechanisms underlying human cognition, specifically related to language, which led me to follow the Research Master Cognitive Neuroscience programme in Nijmegen, with a specialization in Language and Communication.
It was during the Master’s programme that I really noticed how variable speech can be, whether in speaking rate or accent. For instance, I found it fascinating that it was just as easy to understand my mother, a native Italian, with her slight Italian accent when speaking Dutch, compared to any other native Dutch talker. Observations such as this piqued my interest in the cognitive processes involved in speech perception and how listeners deal with acoustic variability in speech.
The wonderful collaboration with my supervisors, who are very invested and give great professional and personal advice. I have learned a lot from them regarding how they approach academia and how they conduct their research. Also, Nijmegen is the perfect place for conducting various types of research. There are great research facilities and there is a lot of expertise at the MPI and its partner institutes.
One of the most important things to me is to keep finding topics or work activities that I am passionate about and enjoy doing, like teaching.
One of the most important things to me is to keep finding topics or work activities that I am passionate about and enjoy doing. For example, I discovered that I really enjoy teaching. I have been teaching a few classes, which has motivated me to keep developing these skills to eventually be able to combine research and teaching in my future career. There are many different roads you can take during your PhD, and you might find something you are very passionate about, waiting to be discovered.