Carnegie Mellon University's Lori Holt has been named a 2013 winner of the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award for "studies advancing our understanding of the sensory and cognitive processes that are fundamental to the perception of speech."
The prestigious honor is given annually to two psychology researchers under the age of 40 to recognize extraordinary scientific achievement and to further promote empirical research on the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. The award includes a $50,000 prize.
Holt, a professor of psychology in Carnegie Mellon's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC), is a specialist in auditory cognitive neuroscience. As director of CMU's Speech Perception and Learning Laboratory, she investigates how the brain interprets sound to solve problems related to speech perception and communication disorders.
"As soon as Lori arrived at CMU, we recognized that she was a superb scientist," said Michael Scheier, head of the Department of Psychology. "Our esteem for her work has only increased over the years. It is gratifying to see our view reaffirmed in this fashion. There is no one more deserving of this award than Lori Holt."
Holt's work is advancing CMU's interdisciplinary approach to brain sciences. For decades, CMU has been using this approach to understand and improve learning, perception and thinking; to study aging and injured brains; and to treat and understand disorders such as autism, dyslexia and Alzheimer's.
To continue to use psychology, computer science and computation to solve real-world problems, the university recently launched a Brain, Mind and Learning initiative.
Holt will receive the Troland Award at an April 29 ceremony during the academy's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Past CMU recipients of the Troland Award include David C. Plaut and Michael J. Tarr, who both received the award in 2003.
Plaut, professor of psychology, was recognized for "his penetrating computational analyses of reading, language and other aspects of cognition, which elucidate normal function and the consequences of brain injury."
Tarr, the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and co-director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, was at Brown University when he received the Troland Award for "his empirical and theoretical investigations of object recognition and for demonstrating the importance of expertise in organizing brain areas for faces and other objects."