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Kristina Backer

Assistant Professor

Kristina Backer joined UC Merced as an Assistant Professor in 2018. Prior to arriving at UC Merced, she earned her PhD from the University of Toronto and subsequently completed postdoctoral research at the University of Washington and at UC Davis.


Her research lies at the intersection of auditory and cognitive neuroscience. Real-world listening environments are often noisy. In these noisy listening situations, successful speech understanding relies upon interactions between perceptual and cognitive processes, including attention, memory, and audiovisual processing. Thus, her research aims to understand the neural mechanisms underlying these perceptual-cognitive interactions when listening in challenging, multi-talker situations. Furthermore, her current work largely focuses on how an individual's language experience (e.g., as a bilingual) can influence their speech perception and comprehension. Methods used in the laboratory include both behavioral paradigms and electroencephalography (EEG) recordings.