Suzanne Curtin

Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies

Dr. Suzanne Curtin studies interface between early speech perception and social communication in typically and atypically developing populations. The goal of her research program is to understand how early speech perception and word learning contributes to the acquisition of a phonetically driven phonological system. She is also interested in the nature of the infant’s initial state and how this influences the infant’s developing speech perception system. Her research explores the role of early biases in directing attention to the necessary information in the speech signal that will enable the infant to bootstrap into language. She also examines infants’ sensitivity to distributional information in the speech input and explores how this information is used for parsing the continuous speech stream and learning words.

Her research is funded by SSHRC and NSERC. She is one of the co-leads for the SSHRC Partnership Grant, “Ensuring Full Literacy in a Multicultural and Digital World,” which brings together her interest in how early language impacts other aspects of cognition – specifically reading.

Language Development
Speech Perception
Word Learning
Oral language foundations for cognition

McDonald, N. M., Senturk, D., Scheffler, A., Brian, J. A., Carver, L. J., Charman, T., Chawarska, K., Curtin, S., Hertz-Piccioto, I., Jones, E. J., Klin, A., Landa, R., Messinger, D. S., Ozonoff, S., Stone, W. L., Tager-Flusberg, H., Webb, S. J., Young, G., Zwaigenbaum, L., & Jeste, S. S. (2020). Developmental trajectories of infants with multiplex family risk for autism: a Baby Siblings Research Consortium study. JAMA Neurology, 7(1), 73-81.

Yamashiro, A., Curtin, S., Vouloumanos, A. (2020). Does an early speech preference predict linguistic and social-pragmatic attention in undiagnosed infants and infants later diagnosed with ASD? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50(7), 2475-2490.

San Juan, V., Lin, C., Mackenzie, H., Curtin, S., Graham, S.A. (2019). Not speaking the same language: 17-month-olds shift their perception of novel labels following brief exposure to non-native language. Journal of Child Language, 46(3), 594-605.

Yamashiro, A., Sorcinelli, A., Rahman, T., Elbogen, R., Curtin, S., & Vouloumanos, A. (2019). Shifting preferences for primate faces in neurotypical infants and infants later diagnosed with ASD. Autism Research, 12 (2), 249-262.

Sorcinelli, A., Ference, J., Curtin, S., & Vouloumanos, A. (2019). Preference for speech in infancy differentially predicts language skills and autism-like behaviors. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 178, 295-316.

Iverson, J.M., Shic, F., Wall, C., Chawarska, K., Curtin, S., et al. (2019). Early motor abilities in infants at heightened vs. low risk for ASD: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 128(1), 69-80.

Campbell, J., Graham, S.A., Curtin, S. (2019). Word level stress and lexical processing in 17-month-old infants. Infancy, 24(1), 5-23.

Curtin, S. & Werker, J.F. (2018). PRIMIR on tone. Frontiers in Language Sciences, Lexical Tone Perception in Infants and Young Children: Empirical studies and theoretical perspectives.

Curtin, S., & Graham, S.A. (2018). When phonology guides learning. Applied Psycholinguistics, 39, 729-768.

Archer, S.L., & Curtin, S. (2018). Fourteen-month-olds’ sensitivity to acoustic salience in minimal pair word learning. Journal of Child Language. 45(5), 1198-1211.

Campbell, J., Mihalicz, P., Thiessen, E., & Curtin, S. (2018). Does Lexical Stress Facilitate Infants’ Mapping of Verbs and Nouns? Developmental Psychology, 54, 621-630.

Charman, T., Brian, J., Carter, A., Carver, L.J., Chawarska, K., Curtin, S., Dobkins, K., Elsabbagh, M., Georgiades, S., Hertz-Picciotto, I., Hutman, T., Iverson, J.M., Jones, E.J., Landa, R., Macari, S., Messinger, D.S., Nelson, C.A., Ozonoff, S., Saulnier, C., Stone, W.L., Tager-Flusberg, H., Webb, S.J., Yirmiya, N., Young, G.S., & Zwaigenbaum, L. (2017). Non-ASD Outcomes at 36 Months in Siblings at Familial Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) Study. Autism Research, 10(1), 169-178.

Vukatana, E., Curtin, S., Graham, S.A. (2016). Infants’ acceptance of phonotactically illegal word forms as object labels. Journal of Child Language, 43(6), 1400-1411.

Archer, S.L., & Curtin, S. (2016). Nine-month-olds use frequency of onset clusters to segment novel words. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,148, 131-141.

Lazenby, D., Sideridis, G., Huntington, N., Prante, M., Dale, P., Curtin, S., Henkel, L., Iverson, J., Carver, L., Dobkins, K., Akshoomoff, N., Tagavi, D., Nelson III, C., Tager-Flusberg, H. (2016). Language Differences at 12 Months in Infants Who Develop Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(3), 899-909.

Archer, S., Zamuner, T., Engel, K., Fais, L., & Curtin, S. (2016). 12- and 20-month-olds’ ability to perceive coda consonants: effects of position and voicing. Language Learning and Development, 12(1), 60-78.

Vukatana, E., Graham, S.A., Curtin, S. & Zepeda, M. (2015). One is not enough: Multiple exemplars facilitate infants’ generalizations of novel properties. Infancy, 20(5), 548-575

Messinger, D., Young, G.S., Webb, SJ., Ozonoff, S., Bryson, S., Carter, A., Carver, L., Charman, T., Chawarska, K., Curtin, S., Dobkins, K., Hutman, T., Iverson, J.M., Landa, R., Nelson, C.A., Stone, W.L., Tager-Flusberg, H., & Zwaigenbaum, L. (2015). Early sex differences are not autism-specific: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium study. Molecular Autism, 6(32), 1-11.

Ference, J., & Curtin, S. (2015). The Ability to Map Differentially Stressed Labels to Objects Predicts Language Development at 24 months in 12-month-olds at High-Risk for Autism, Infancy, 20(3), 242–262.

Curtin, S., & Zamuner, T.S. (2014). Understanding the developing sound system: interactions between sounds and words. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 5, 589–602.

Vouloumanos, A., & Curtin, S. (2014). Tuned to speech: How infants’ attention to speech predicts language development. Cognitive Science, 38(8), 1675–1686.

MacKenzie, H., Graham, S.A., Curtin, S., & Archer, S.L. (2014). The flexibility of 12-month-olds’ preferences for phonologically appropriate object labels. Developmental Psychology, 50(2), 422-430.Archer, S., Ference, J., Curtin, S. (2014). Now you hear it. 14-month-olds succeed at learning minimal pairs in stressed syllables. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15(1), 110-122.

Ference, J., & Curtin, S. (2013). Attention to Lexical Stress and Early Vocabulary Growth in 5-month-olds at Risk for Autism. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 16(4), 891-903.

Curtin, S., & Vouloumanos, A. (2013). Preference for speech in infancy predicts autistic-like behavior at 18 months, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(9), 2114-2120. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-013-1759-1

Droucker, D., Curtin, S., & Vouloumanos, A. (2013). Linking infant-directed-speech and face preferences to language outcomes in infants at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56, 567 – 576.

MacKenzie, H., Curtin, S., & Graham, S.A. (2012). Class Matters: 12-month-olds’ word-object associations privilege content over function words. Developmental Science, 15(6), 753-761.

MacKenzie, H., Curtin, S. & Graham, S.A. (2012). 12-month-olds’ phonotactic knowledge guides their word-object mappings. Child Development 83(4), 1129-1136.

Curtin, S., Campbell, J., & Hufnagle, D.G. (2012). Mapping novel labels to actions: How the rhythm of words guides infants’ learning. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,112(2), 127-140.

Archer, S.L. & Curtin, S. (2011). Perceiving onset clusters in infancy. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(4),534-540. IF: 1.918

Curtin, S., Byers-Heinlein, K., & Werker, J.F. (2011). Bilingual beginnings as a lens for theory development. Special Issue of Journal of Phonetics, 39, 492-504.

Curtin, S. (2011). Do newly formed word representations encode non-criterial information? Journal of Child Language, 38(4), 904-917.

Mackenzie, H., Graham, S.A., & Curtin, S. (2011). 12-month-olds Privilege Words over

Other Linguistic Sounds in an Associative Learning Task. Developmental Science, 14(2), 399-410.

Shea, C. & Curtin, S. (2011). Experience, representations and the production of second language allophones. Second Language Research, 27, 229-250.

Shea, C., & Curtin, S. (2010). Discovering the relationship between context and allophones in a second language: Evidence for distribution-based learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 32(4), 581 -606.

Curtin, S. (2010). Young infants encode lexical stress in newly encountered words. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 105, 376-385.

Curtin, S. (2009). Twelve-month-olds learn word-object associations differing only in stress patterns. Journal of Child Language, 36, 1157-1165.

Curtin, S., Fennell, C., & Escudero, P. (2009). Weighting of acoustic cues explains patterns of word-object associative learning. Developmental Science. 12,725-731.

Curtin, S., Mintz, T.H., & Christiansen, M.H. (2005). Stress Changes the Representational Landscape: Evidence from Word Segmentation. Cognition, 96, 233-262.

Werker, J.F. & Curtin, S. (2005). PRIMIR: A Developmental Framework of Infant Speech Processing. Language Learning and Development, 1(2), 197-234.

Curtin, S., F.R. Manis and M.S. Seidenberg (2001). Parallels between the reading and spelling deficits of two subgroups of developmental dyslexia. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 14: 515-547.

Christiansen, M.H. & Curtin, S.L. (1999). Transfer of learning: Rule acquisition or statistical learning? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3, 289-290.

Manis. F.R., Seidenberg, M.S., Stallings, L., Joanisse, M.F., Bailey, C., Freedman, L. Curtin, S., & Keating, P. (1999). Development of dyslexic subgroups: A one-year follow up. Annals of Dyslexia, 49, 105-134.

Curtin, S., Goad, H. & Pater, J. (1998) Levels of Representation and Transfer: The acquisition of Thai voice and aspiration by English and French learners. Second Language Research, 14, 389-405.