Humboldt State University

Department of Psychology

Cognition Lab

Cognition Lab: Think about it

Principle Investirgator: Dr. Mari Sanchez

Dr. Sanchez is a cognitive psychologist who specializes in speech perception, production, and memory.

Dr. Sanchez’s primary research challenges traditional notions of speech by investigating the importance of visual speech information. When people think of speech, they typically think of it as something that you hear. However, her research has shown that it is also something that you see. In fact, people alter the way they speak after lip-reading from a talker’s speaking face. Specifically, people will end up sounding like the talker whose voice was never heard, but whose face was lip-read. These results suggest that information about the way a person speaks is transmitted in both the auditory and visual streams. This research enlarges the disciple and calls for a greater understanding of visual speech information, which is an understudied area.

Dr. Sanchez’s secondary research concerns the social aspects of speech, such as gender and dialect. She has found implicit links between words and gender-based social beliefs using a modified Implicit Association Test (IAT). Specifically, she found that people are sensitive to differences in the distribution of words (frequency) and the people who say these words most often (by gender), demonstrating changes in representation due to social constructs. In addition, she has found that social context and experience shape dialectal influences of speech representations. Specifically she found that when placed in an Australian context (conversational or primed with Australian words), New Zealanders adopt Australian-like speech characteristics.

Research Opportunities

Dr. Sanchez looks forward to continuing her current lines of research and see them evolve with student input. She looks forward to supporting students by giving them opportunities to experience science in action by assisting with one of Dr. Sanchez’s projects or pursuing their own lines of research.


Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sanchez
Office Phone: 707-826-3748
Office: BSS 426

Lab Manager:
Ben Chu


Lab Members

Caitlin Clark
Joseph A. Camarena
Maria Jovana Cruz Vazquez
Alyssabeth De Jerez
Calvin Herman
Kyra Kelly
David Montes
Josue Rodriguez
Bailey Swancoat
Zhelin Wu