I’m Violet Brown, and I’m a Postdoc at Carleton College. I graduated from Carleton in 2017 with a BA in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience (basically a minor, but Carleton didn’t have minors at the time). All four years of my undergrad I worked in the Carleton Perception Lab, and I served as the lab manager for a year before going to grad school at Washington University in St. Louis. At WashU, I was in the Brain, Behavior, & Cognition division of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, where I worked with the wonderful Dr. Kristin Van Engen in the PsychLing Lab. I received my PhD in 2023.
Now, I’m back in the the Carleton Perception Lab studying what I love at my alma mater, but this time in a Postdoc position. The Carleton Perception Lab’s work focuses on how humans understand spoken language. Some of our research topics include:
- Audiovisual speech perception
- Listening effort, including behavioral (dual-task, recall), physiological (pupillometry), and subjective measures
- The effects of grammatical and semantic contextual cues on spoken sentence identification (using behavioral measures and eye-tracking)
- Accented speech processing
- Relationships between individual differences variables (e.g., working memory capacity) and spoken language processing abilities
Recently, our lab has also become interested in empirically testing whether and how the norm in our field of including only “native English speakers” in our participant samples affects study outcomes. We realized that we’ve been limiting our samples to “native English speakers” for a long time without thinking critically about whether this practice—which excludes underrepresented groups from research and there reinforces historic inequities in research—actually affects the phenomena we’re interested in studying. It turns out that for the types of research questions we typically address, including all fluent English speakers regardless of language background has little effect on study outcomes. Although this is certainly not the case for all language-related research questions, we’re glad we’re now conducting more inclusive research with results that generalize beyond the narrow populations we used to use. Check out our recent paper for more on this!
Although the theoretical focus of my research involves spoken language processing, what I’m most interested in research-wise is making science better, which is why much of our research focuses on improving measurement practices in psychological science (i.e., addressing how we measure the psychological constructs we’re interested in head-on). I also firmly believe that good science requires transparent research practices, so all of our work is preregistered via the Open Science Framework and all of the data, materials, and code from our empirical work are publicly available.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, my main interest is getting people interested in and excited about science and math, and making science and math accessible to everyone. I love teaching; there’s nothing quite like seeing a student’s eyes light up when they grasp a concept that had previous been opaque to them. In that vein, I have several tutorial papers on topics ranging from mixed effects modeling to writing preregistration documents (check out the tutorial and resources tags in the Publications tab, or head over to the Resources and Tutorials tab), and I have a few publicly available stats tutorial videos on my YouTube channel.
Outside of academia, I LOVE watching baseball and listening to baseball podcasts. I’m a massive Phillies phan (DelCo born and rasied), so naturally I listen to a Phillies podcast, but I also just love baseball (and the oodles of data it comes with) deep in my soul, so Effectively Wild is a favorite. I’m also into other Phildelphia sports, but ultimately, Go Phils. My life in Minneapolis involves lots of rides on my Peloton bike, going for bike rides outside when it’s not cold (sometimes even to a Twins game!), cooking elaborate meals, exploring new restaurants and bars in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area with friends, and making cocktails. I bartended for about a year and a half during and after college in the cocktail room at an amazing grain-to-glass distillery in Northfield, MN called Loon Liquors and experimenting with cocktails and coming up with new recipes is still a favorite activity of mine.