University of Calgary

Suzanne Curtin

  • Adjunct Professor
  • +1 (403) 220-7670
  • +1 (403) 220-2444
  • +1 (403) 220-8299


Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


My core theoretical interest is in the interface between lexical development and infant speech perception. The goal of my research program is to understand how early speech perception and word learning contributes to the acquisition of a phonetically driven phonological system. I am interested in the nature of the infant’s initial state and how this influences the infant’s developing speech perception system. My 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. I also examine infants’ sensitivity to distributional information in the speech input and explore how this information is used for parsing the continuous speech stream, and learning words. To this end, my research focuses on speech perception abilities in both typically and atypically developing infants with a special focus on infants who are at heightened risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Member of the Ch.I.L.D. Research Group

Research Support

National Institutes of Health (NIH) USA
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)



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

Campbell, J., Mihalicz, P., Thiessen, E., & Curtin, S. (in press). Lexical Stress Facilitates Infants’ Mapping of Verbs and Nouns. Developmental Psychology.

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. DOI:10.1080/15475441.2014.979490.

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. DOI:10.1111/infa.12092. 

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. DOI 10.1186/s13229-015-0027-y.

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. Doi: 10.1002/wcs.1307. 

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. doi: 10.1037/a0033524 

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. DOI:10.1080/15248372.2012.728544 

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.

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.

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). Twelve-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 lables 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 onsets clusters in infancy. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(4), 534-540.

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

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

MacKenzie, H., Graham, S.A., & Curtin, S. (2011). Twelve-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. (2011). 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-objectassociative 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 twosubgroups of developmental dyslexia. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 14,515-547.

Book Chapters

Curtin, S., & Archer, S.A. (accepted). Prelinguistic speech perception. In  Bavin, E. (Ed.), The      Cambridge University Press Handbook of Child Language. Cambridge: Cambridge      University Press, 107-124.

Curtin, S. (2014). Speech processing (development of). Encyclopedia of LanguageDevelopment.

Curtin, S., & Graham, S. (2014). Early word learning. Encyclopedia of Language Development.

Curtin, S., & Hufnagle, D. G. (2008). Speech Perception, development. In Larry R. Squire, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Academic Press, Oxford, 233-238.

Curtin, S., & Hufnagle, D.G. (2008). Prelinguistic speech perception. In Bavin, E. (Ed.), The Cambridge University Press Handbook of Child Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 107-124.

Curtin, S. & Werker, J.F. (2007). Perceptual Foundations of Phonological Development. In M. Gareth Gaskell, G.T.M Altmann, P.Bloom, A. Caramazza and P. Levelt (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Psycholinguistics. Oxford University Press.

Conference Proceedings

Archer, S.L., Curtin, S., & Polka, L. (2013). Effects of acoustic variability on infant speech perception. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (Acoustical Society of America Meeting), Montreal, PQ, June.

Engel, K., Archer, S.L., & Curtin, S. (2013). The effects of voicing and position in infants’ perception of coda consonants. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (Acoustical Society of America Meeting), Montreal, PQ, June.

Hufnagle, D., & Curtin, S. (2007). Effects of phonetic cues to membership in function word categories in artificial languages. The Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Curtin, S., Fennell, C., & Escudero, P. (2007). Infants’ recognition of vowels in a word learning task. In H. Caunt-Nulton, S. Kulatiklake, & I. Woo (eds), The 31st Proceeding of the Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, MA, 141-152.

Shea, C., & Curtin, S. (2006). The Acquisition of L2 Positional Constraints by Adult Learners. Proceedings of the 8th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2006): The Banff Conference, Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA.

Shea, C. & Curtin. S. (2006). Learning allophones from the input, in David Bamman, Tatiana Magnitskaia and Colleen Zaller (eds.), Supplement for the Proceedings of the Boston University Conference on Language Development,Boston, MA.


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