Linda Polka, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director
BA Psychology, Slippery Rock State College
MA Experimental Psychology, University of Minnesota
PhD Psychology & Human Communication Disorders, University of South Florida
As the Graduate Program Director (GPD), Dr. Polka is responsible for managing the graduate thesis programs in the School and for advising research students on academic matters. The GPD ensures the smooth day-to-day functioning and overall academic quality of the School's research programs and is the primary contact for all academic matters concerning PhD and Master’s thesis students. The GPD ensures that research students are informed about services and critical deadlines and she facilitates conversation between the graduate degree program, the academic department, and the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.
Research in the Polka lab focuses on the development of speech perception during infancy. The goal of this work is to understand the skills and biases that the infants bring to this task and how their speech processing changes with age and language experience to support language processing. My lab is engaged in two overlapping lines of research; one focuses on the development of vowel perception and production during infancy and the other explores how language experience shapes infant perception of phonetic segments and processing of fluent connected speech in monolingual and bilingual infants. In current work we are also investigating the role of talker variability in adult and infant perception, including studies that explore how infants perceive speech produced by an infant talker.