Springtime in the Netherlands 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 30, 2016) – Professor Laurie Beth Feldman recently returned from a lab visit at Qatar University. She will be packing her bags again in April, this time for the Netherlands.
UAlbany Professor Laurie Feldman

Psychology professor Laurie Feldman.  

Feldman, a cognitive psychologist with a specialization in language, has won a prestigious Radboud Excellence Initiative Professorship. This allows her to spend one month collaborating at Radboud University in the Netherlands in April 2017, and another month in the winter of 2018.

Feldman studies morphology, focusing on the patterns in words that are related in meaning and form. Much of her work has demonstrated the role of meaning even very early in the course of recognizing a word and challenges the common assumption that we grasp a word’s form only after we get its meaning. For example, because similar word form and word meaning act together, prior exposure to the word “laws” makes it easier to recognize “law” in a way that viewing “lawn” cannot.

While at Radboud, Feldman will collaborate with Professor of Psycholinguistics Mirjam Ernestus, who has developed a model of spoken word recognition that is very good at distinguishing words like "law" from "low" that have a similar sound structure. The proposed research collaboration will allow Feldman to draw on her expertise in morphology (e.g., permissible suffixes for "law" vs. "low") to improve the model of speech recognition developed by Ernestus. 

"Morphology (a word's structure with respect to meaningful components) and phonology (a word's sound structure) are often investigated by different researchers with different experimental techniques. I am delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate on a project that invites us to merge these two domains of study," Feldman said. 

Feldman was most recently in the news for her work on analyzing how emojis, those little emotional pictures we use in social media, can have very different meanings depending on country or context. She joined the UAlbany faculty 26 years ago.

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