Hello!

I’m a speech scientist at UC Davis. [bio]

My postdoctoral research investigates how individuals engage with voice-activated artificially intelligent (voice-AI) systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.

My central research question is whether speech communication with voice-AI is similar or different from speech communication with humans.


NSF Postdoc Fellowship

I am thrilled to be a PI on a two-year NSF-funded grant with Dr. Georgia Zellou (Linguistics), Dr. Zhou Yu (Computer Science), and Dr. Katharine Graf Estes (Psychology) to explore human-voice AI interaction. 

(You can reach more about the project here!)


Voice-AI

How do we talk to Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant? How do we perceive speech produced by voice-AI? …read more!

Music/Speech

Is individual variation in speech perception shaped by a person’s musical experience? …read more!

CA English

How does regional dialect variation shape speech production & perception? …read more!

UC Davis Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Research Group

In 2020, I launched the UC Davis HCI Research Group: a collective of facultypostdocsgraduate students, and undergraduates across campus interested in the dynamics of human-computer interaction. Our goal is to form a broader community of scientists, where we can share our work and forge connections across disciplines.

Click here to go to the HCI Research Group website!

Hao-Chuan Wang will present January 25th from 12-1pm

News!

2021 UC Davis Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research

2021 UC Davis Picnic Day ‘Virtual Booth’

UC Davis Picnic Day Virtual Booth (2021)

News coverage for our ‘Cognition’ paper on face-masked speech!

Feb 4., 2021 WFMY coverage of our ‘Cognition’ paper. They did an “experiment” to test if listeners could tell if the host was wearing a mask or not. https://www.wfmynews2.com/article/news/local/2-wants-to-know/do-masks-hinder-you-from-understanding-others-we-put-it-to-the-test/83-2784e3da-a433-4d2a-b72d-c5816bd8c057

CBS-13 Sacramento covered our recent face-masked speech paper on Feb. 2, 2021

Two posters at LSA 2021

Come see us present two of our projects tomorrow, Saturday, January 9th at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) 2021 Annual Meeting! Prosodic focus in human- versus voice-AI-directed speech (11-12:30pm) Eleonora Beier, Michelle Cohn, Fernanda Ferreira, Georgia Zellou In this study, we test whether speakers differ in how they prosodically mark focus in speech directed… Continue reading Two posters at LSA 2021

New paper in Cognition!

Our paper, Intelligibility of face-masked speech depends on speaking style: Comparing casual, smiled, and clear speech, was accepted to Cognition today! My co-authors, Anne Pycha (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Georgia Zellou (UC Davis), and I had a blast working together on a new project: how wearing a fabric face mask (as is common these days)… Continue reading New paper in Cognition!

Amazon Research Grant Awarded!

I’m thrilled to that our project, “Speech entrainment during socialbot conversations“, has been funded with an Amazon Research Grant ($46,485). PI: Georgia Zellou, co-PI: Michelle Cohn.


Selected Talks

5 Minute Linguist competition at the 2019 Linguistic Society of America (LSA) annual meeting.  (2:30 John McWhorter introduction, Talk 3:23-7:31).
2020 Cognitive Science Society Virtual Talk
Interspeech 2020 Virtual Talk

Publications

Cohn, M., Pycha, A., Zellou, G. (2021). Intelligibility of face-masked speech depends on speaking style: Comparing casual, smiled, and clear speech. Cognition 210, 104570. [Article]

Zellou, G., Cohn, M., Ferenc Segedin, B. (2021). Age- and gender-related differences in speech alignment toward humans and voice-AI. Frontiers in Communication 5, 600361. [Article]

Cohn, M. & Zellou, G. (2020). Perception of concatenative vs. Neural text-to-speech (TTS): Differences in intelligibility in noise and language attitudes. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 1773-1737. [pdf] [Virtual Talk]

Cohn, M., Raveh, E., Predeck, K., Gessinger, I., Möbius, B., & Zellou, G. (2020). Differences in Gradient Emotion Perception: Human vs. Alexa Voices. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 1818-1822. [pdf] [Virtual talk]

Zellou, G., & Cohn, M. (2020). Social and functional pressures in vocal alignment: Differences for human and voice-AI interlocutors. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 1634-1638. [pdf]

Cohn, M, Sarian, M., Predeck, K., & Zellou, G. (2020). Individual variation in language attitudes toward voice-AI: The role of listeners’ autistic-like traits. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 1813-1817. [pdf] [Virtual talk]

Cohn, M., Jonell, P., Kim, T., Beskow, J., Zellou, G. (2020). Embodiment and gender interact in alignment to TTS voices. 2020 Cognitive Science Society Annual Meeting, 220-226. [pdf] [Virtual talk]

Zellou, G., & Cohn, M. (2020). Top-down effects of apparent humanness on vocal alignment toward human and device interlocutors. 2020 Cognitive Science Society Annual Meeting, 3490-3496. [pdf]

Zellou, G., Cohn, M., Block, A. (2020). Top-down effect of speaker age guise on perceptual compensation for coarticulatory /u/-fronting. 2020 Cognitive Science Society Annual Meeting, 3483-3489. [pdf]

Yu, D., Cohn, M., Yang, Y.M., Chen, C., … Yu, Z. (2019). Gunrock: A Social Bot for Complex and Engaging Long Conversations. 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP). [pdf]
Click here for the system demonstration

Cohn, M., Chen, C., & Yu, Z. (2019). A Large-Scale User Study of an Alexa Prize Chatbot: Effect of TTS Dynamism on Perceived Quality of Social Dialog. Proceedings of the 2019 Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue (SIGDial), 293-306. Stockholm, Sweden. [pdf]

Cohn, M., & Zellou, G. (2019). Expressiveness influences human vocal alignment toward voice-AI. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 41-45. Graz, Austria. [pdf]

Snyder, C. Cohn, M., Zellou, G. (2019). Individual variation in cognitive processing style predicts differences in phonetic imitation of device and human voices. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 116-120. Graz, Austria. [pdf]

Ferenc Segedin, B. Cohn, M., Zellou, G. (2019). Perceptual adaptation to device and human voices:  learning and generalization of a phonetic shift across real and voice-AI talkers. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 2310-2314. Graz, Austria.[pdf]

Cohn, M., Zellou, G., Barreda, S. (2019). The role of musical experience in the perceptual weighting of acoustic cues for the obstruent coda voicing contrast in American English. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 2250-2254. Graz, Austria. [pdf]

Cohn, M., Ferenc Segedin, B., Zellou, G. (2019). Imitating Siri: Socially-mediated vocal alignment to device and human voices. International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), 1813-1817. Melbourne, Australia. [pdf]

Brotherton, C., Cohn, M., Zellou, G., Barreda, S. (2019). Sub-regional variation in positioning and degree of nasalization of /æ/ allophones in California. International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), 2373-2377. Melbourne, Australia. [pdf]

Cohn, M. (2018).Investigating a possible “musician advantage” for speech-in-speech perception: The role of f0 separation. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America, 3(1), 24:1-9. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4311.  [pdf]


In revision / under review

Cohn, M., Ferenc Segedin, B., & Zellou, G. (In revision). The acoustic-phonetic properties of voice-AI- and human-DS: Differences by error type and rate.

Cohn, M., Predeck, K., Sarian, M., Zellou, G. (Under review). Prosodic alignment toward neutral and emotionally expressive speech interjections: Differences for human and device voices.

Zellou, G., Cohn, M., Kline, T. (Under review). The Influence of Conversational Role on Speech Alignment toward Voice-AI and Human Interlocutors.

Zellou, G., Cohn, M., Block, A. (Under review). Perception of coarticulatory vowel nasalization across concatenative and neural text-to-speech


Public Outreach