Carnegie Mellon University

Laurie Heller

Laurie Heller

Professor of Psychology (Teaching)

Areas of Expertise

Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Perception


My research examines the human ability to use sound to understand events happening in the environment. My perceptual experiments discover acoustic cues that reveal attributes of sound events, and how our knowledge of these cue-attribute relationships influences our recognition of sounds. I have also examined how this knowledge influences which brain regions are recruited during the perception of sound events. My multimodal experiments have combined hearing and vision as well as asking whether sound affects the gestures we make. My research on sound localization included teaching naive listeners to learn to extract information from echoes about the surrounding environment. Ongoing work involves the perception of sound categories and the effects of unwanted sounds. Collaborative applications are being developed to test sound recognition in hearing impaired listeners and to improve the performance of a machine learning system for sound event classification. Applications of my research have the potential to enhance auditory displays, hearing aids, and navigation aids for the visually impaired.


  • S.B. in Brain & Cognitive Sciences, MIT

  • Ph.D. in Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuroscience Program, U. of Connecticut Health Center


Google Scholar Profile

Current Course Offerings

  • 85385/85785 - Auditory Perception: Sense of Sound (undergraduate and graduate students)
  • 85310 - Research methods in Cognitive Psychology
  • 85715 - Graduate Research methods in Psychology
  • 85359/57378 -  Introduction to Music Cognition Research (psychology and music students)
  • 85370/85770 - Perception