Anne Cutler elected Fellow of the Royal Society
Anne Cutler, main applicant of Language in Interaction and emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. The Royal Society is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth.
The mission of the Royal Society is to recognise, promote, and support scientific excellence, and encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. Professor Cutler was elected for her foundational work on how listeners decode speech—research she largely conducted as head of the Language Comprehension Department at the MPI for Psycholinguistics in the period 1993-2013. A state of the art description of the work can be found in her 2013 book, Native Listening (MIT Press).
As the statement from the Royal Society notes, “[Cutler] was the first to demonstrate that the mother tongue determines the way speech is segmented into units and that these units are different in different languages (syllable, stress, mora, respectively in French, English and Japanese). She has demonstrated that listeners adapt quickly to phonemic categories with different speakers and that this is done on the basis of abstract representations, and not episodic exemplars. She has also shown how prosodic context aids segmentation of the speech stream and has embedded a vast array of experimental findings into a coherent and widely accepted theoretical framework.”
Previous honours for Cutler’s work include a British Psychological Society Cognitive Psychology Award, a Spinoza Prize, and honorary memberships of the Linguistic Society of America, the Association of Laboratory Phonology, and the National Academy of Sciences. Cutler will be officially admitted to the Royal Society in a ceremony in London in July.