Psychonomics 2019 and UofT lab visit

Yesterday, I returned home from a highly productive and enjoyable trip to Canada. First stop was the Palais des Congres, Montreal for APCAM (https://apcsociety.org/) and the annual Psychonomics meeting (https://www.psychonomic.org/page/2019program). Then, in between doing some sightseeing, I continued to Toronto where Kathy Pichora-Fuller and Craig Chambers kindly gave me a tour of the University of Toronto Mississauga campus and their communications department.

APCAM was a highly eclectic mix of talks on all things audition, including speech and music perception. Julia Strand kicked things off with an engaging and thought-provoking discussion of listening effort in all its various forms and guises. Other personal highlights include Simal’s discussion of various ERPs as indicators of challenges with syntactical processing, Weiss’ entertaining and enlightening talk about congenital amusia, and Wright & Palmers’ talk on cardiac system changes during musical performance. Finally, Begel presented some fascinating work showing that, compared to controls, children with developmental dyslexia show significant deficits in timing and rhythmic skills.

The main event (Psychonomics) was 4-days long. My poster session on Friday went surprisingly well and I was inundated with interesting and thought-provoking questions throughout (the bottom right pic nicely captures this thought provocation in action!). Thank you especially to Violet, Julia, Colin, Carina, Kathy, Jason, Arthur, Anne, and Kristin (and others) for engaging with my poster and asking some great questions. As is often the case, highlights from the conference included the friends that I made and the interesting discussions about speech perception, open science, pupillometry, and much much more. I am already excited to attend the next Psychonomics meeting in Austin, Texas.

Finally, a massive thanks to Kathy Pichora-Fuller and Craig Chambers who gave me a lab tour and chatted with me for most of Friday. Kathy was full of insight and knowledge about everything from Canadian and UofT history to more work-related topics on hearing loss and ageing. As a type 1 diabetic, I was both intrigued (and slightly embarrassed) to learn from Kathy that insulin was in fact discovered at the University of Toronto (https://heritage.utoronto.ca/exhibits/insulin). Craig made a lasting impression on me for his hospitality, warmth, and his creative eye for developing behavioural paradigms in infants and older adults to uncover language processing and productions mechanisms (more details can be found here: https://www.psycholinguistics.ca/people).

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