Susan E. Brennan
Department of Psychology
Telephone: (631) 632-9145
S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500
Email: susan “dot” brennan
"at" stonybrook “dot” edu
I am a cognitive
scientist who studies the psychology of language use—in particular,
interactive spoken dialogue. I am interested in how people adapt their
speaking and understanding to their conversational partners and to the
variation that is rampant in speech.
Some of my current studies use eye-tracking, either as a measure of language processing or as a mode
My recent interests include the neural circuits that support interactive
communication. I also study the
human use of technology, especially speech and language interfaces to
computers. Long, long ago, I developed a computational model of caricature.
Walking Around Project
Adaptive Spoken Dialog Project
Shared Gaze Project
Gesture Focus Group
- PREVIOUS: Psychology 504,
Responsible Conduct of Research (graduate, regularly)
- PREVIOUS: Psychology 260,
Survey in Cognition and Perception (undergraduate, regularly)
- PREVIOUS: Psychology 520,
Psycholinguistics (graduate, every other year)
- PREVIOUS: Introduction to
Grant-Writing: the Rest of the Iceberg (graduate seminar, every 2-3 years)
- PREVIOUS: Psychology 384,
Research Laboratory in Human Factors (undergraduate, most years until
- PREVIOUS: Psychology 365,
Psychology of Language (undergraduate)
- PREVIOUS: Computational and
Empirical Approaches to Discourse (Language, Mind, & Brain Seminar,
- PREVIOUS: Pointing, Pausing,
Tune, and Turn: Paralinguistic Aspects of Language Use (graduate seminar)
- PREVIOUS: Human-Computer
Interaction (graduate seminar)
Ph.D., Psychology (specializing in
Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Science), Stanford
University , Stanford, CA. Dissertation: "Seeking and providing
evidence for mutual understanding"
M.S.V.S., Architecture Machine Group (now known as The MIT Media Lab ). Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge, MA. Thesis:
B.A., Anthropology, Cornell
University , Ithaca, NY.
- Currently: Professor, Department of
Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
- 2010-pres. (as well as
previously in 2001-2004) Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Chair,
Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
- 2001-pres. Joint appointment, Department of
Computer Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
- 1996-2009 Associate Professor, Department of
Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
- 1999-2001 Area Head, Cognitive-Experimental
Graduate Training Program.
Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony
- 1990-1996 Assistant
Professor, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony
Brook. Associated, Department of Linguistics.
- 1991-1992 Visiting Scholar,
Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), Stanford
- Summer 1991 Consultant, Human
Interface Group, Apple
Computer, Inc. , Cupertino, CA.
Conducted research on computer speech
- 1986-1989 Part time/summer
employment, Member of the Technical Staff, Human/Computer Interface
Department, Hewlett-Packard Labs ,
Palo Alto, CA. Conducted user interface research & development on the
Natural Language Project.
- 1984-1986 Member of the
Technical Staff, Hewlett-Packard
Labs , Palo Alto, CA. Conducted research on natural language
understanding, discourse models, human-computer interfaces.
- 1982-1984 Research Scientist,
Atari Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. Conducted research on multimedia interfaces,
computer-generated caricature, animation, and educational software in Alan Kay’s group  . Consulted for
parent company Warner Bros., New York, NY, on user interfaces, videodisc
applications, electronic encyclopedia, and interactive cable network.
- Previously... worked as an
engineer in broadcast television and radio, including at WGBH and WSBK,
- Galati, A. & Brennan, S. E. (2013). Speakers adapt gestures to addressees’ knowledge: Implications for models of co-speech gesture Language and Cognitive Processes.
- Brennan, S. E., Schuhmann, K. S.,
K. M. (2013). Collaboratively setting perspectives and referring to locations across multiple contexts. Proceedings, Pre-Cog Sci 2013 Workshop, Production of referring expressions: Bridging the gap between cognitive and computational approaches to reference.
- Brennan, S. E., Schuhmann, K. S.,
K. M. (2013). Entrainment on the move and in the lab: The Walking Around Corpus. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
- Kuhlen, A. K. & Brennan, S. E. (2013). Language in dialogue: When confederates might be hazardous to your data. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, (published online 27 November, 2012).
- Kuhlen, A. K., Galati, A., & Brennan, S. E. (2012). Gesturing integrates top-down and bottom-up information: Effects of speakers’ expectations and addressees’ feedback. Language and Cognition, 4, 17-41.
- Brennan, S. E. (2012). Conversation and
dialogue. In H.
Pashler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind. SAGE Publications.
[Email me for a .pdf copy]
- Brennan, S. E., Hanna, J. E., Zelinsky, G. J., & Savietta, K. J. (2012). Eye gaze cues for coordination in collaborative tasks. DUET 2012 Workshop: Dual eye tracking in CSCE. 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Seattle, WA.
- Neider, M. B., Chen, X.,
Dickinson, C. A., Brennan, S. E., & Zelinsky. G. J. (2010). Coordinating spatial
referencing using shared gaze. Psychonomic
Bulletin & Review, 17, 718-724.
- Kuhlen, A. K. & Brennan, S. E. (2010). Anticipating Distracted Addressees: How Speakers’ Expectations
and Addressees’ Feedback Influence Storytelling. Discourse
Processes, 47, 567-587.
- Brennan, S. E., Galati, A., & Kuhlen, A. (2010). Two minds, one dialog: Coordinating speaking and understanding. In B. Ross (Ed.), Psychology
of Learning and Motivation, vol. 53. Academic
Press/Elsevier. [Email me for a .pdf copy]
- Galati, A. & Brennan, S. E. (2010). Attenuating repeated information: For the speaker, or for the
addressee? Journal of
Memory and Language, 62, 35-51.
- Brennan, S. E. & Hanna, J. E. (2009). Partner-specific adaptation
in dialogue. Topics in Cognitive Science (Special Issue on Joint Action),
1, 274-291. [Email me for a .pdf copy]
- Kraljic, T, Samuel, A. G., & Brennan, S. E. (2008). First impressions and last resorts: How listeners adjust to
speaker variability. Psychological Science 19, 332-338.
- Kraljic, T, Brennan, S. E. &
Samuel, A. G. (2008). Accommodating
Variation: Dialects, Idiolects, and Speech Processing. Cognition,
- Ekeocha J. O. (née Ohaeri), & Brennan, S. E.
recall in face-to-face and electronic groups. Memory, 16, 245-261.
- Stent, A., Huffman, M. K.
S. E. (2008). Adapting
speaking after misrecognition: A study of hyperarticulation. Speech Communication, 50,.
- Brennan, S. E., Chen, X.,
Dickinson, C., Neider, M., &
Zelinsky, G. (2007). Coordinating
cognition: The costs and benefits
of shared gaze during collaborative search. Cognition, 106, 1465-1477.
- Hanna, J. E. & Brennan, S. E. (2007). Speakers' eye gaze disambiguates referring expressions early
during face-to-face conversation. Journal of Memory and Language, 57, 596-615.
- Brennan, S. E., Mueller,
K., Zelinsky, G., Ramakrishnan, I.V., Warren, D. S., & Kaufman,
A. (2006). Toward a Multi-Analyst, Collaborative
Framework for Visual Analytics.
IEEE Symposium on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST
2006). Baltimore, MD.
- Brennan, S. E., &
Lockridge, C. B. (2006). Computer-mediated communication: A cognitive
science approach. In K. Brown (Ed.), ELL2, Encyclopedia of
Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition (pp. 775-780). Oxford, UK: Elsevier
- Kraljic, T., & Brennan,
S. E. (2005). Using prosody and optional words to
disambiguate utterances: For the speaker or for the addressee? Cognitive Psychology, 50, 194-231.
- Brennan, S. E. (2005).
How conversation is shaped by visual and spoken evidence. In J.
Trueswell & M. Tanenhaus (Eds.), Approaches to studying world-situated
language use: Bridging the language-as-product and language-action
traditions (pp. 95-129). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Stein, R. & Brennan, S.
E. (2004). Another person's eye gaze as a cue in solving
programming problems. Proceedings, ICMI 2004, Sixth International
Conference on Multimodal Interfaces (pp. 9-15), Penn State University,
State College, PA.
- Brennan, S. E. & Metzing, C. A. (2004). Two steps forward, one step back:
Partner-specific effects in a psychology of dialogue. Behavioral and Brain
- Metzing, C. & Brennan, S. E.
(2003). When conceptual pacts are broken:
Partner-specific effects in the comprehension of referring expressions. Journal of Memory
and Language, 49,
- Schober, M. F., &
Brennan, S. E. (2003). Processes of interactive spoken discourse: The
role of the partner. In A. C. Graesser, M. A. Gernsbacher, & S.
R. Goldman (Eds.), Handbook of discourse processes (pp. 123-164).
Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Lockridge, C. B., &
Brennan, S. E. (2002). Addressees’_needs influence speakers’ early syntactic
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 9, 550-557.
- Brennan, S. E. (2002).
Visual co-presence, coordination signals, and partner effects in
spontaneous spoken discourse. Journal of the Japanese Cognitive
Science Society, 9, 7-25.
- Kraut, R. E., Fussell, S. R.,
Brennan, S. E., & Siegel, J. (2002). Understanding effects of proximity on
collaboration: Implications for technologies to support remote
collaborative work. In P. Hinds & S. Kiesler, Distributed work (pp. 137-162). Cambridge, MA:
- Brennan, S. E., & Schober, M. F. (2001). How listeners compensate for disfluencies in
spontaneous speech. Journal of Memory and Language, 44, 274-296.
- Bortfeld, H., Leon, S. D.,
Bloom, J. E., Schober, M. F., & Brennan, S. E. (2001). Disfluency rates in spontaneous speech:
Effects of age, relationship, topic, role, and gender . Language and
- Gerrig, R. H., Brennan, S.
E., & Ohaeri, J. O. (2001). What characters know: Projected
knowledge and projected co-presence. Journal of Memory and
- Brennan, S. E. (2000). Processes that shape conversation and their
implications for computational linguistics. Proceedings, 38th Annual
Meeting of the ACL . Hong Kong : Association of Computational Linguistics.
- Gerrig, R. H., Brennan,
S. E., & Ohaeri, J. O. (2000). What can we conclude from
speakers behaving badly? Discourse Processes, 29, 173-178.
- Gerrig, R. H., Ohaeri, J. O.,
& Brennan, S. E. (2000). Illusory transparency revisited. Discourse
- Cahn, J. E., & Brennan,
S. E. (1999). A psychological model of grounding and repair
Proceedings, AAAI Fall Symposium on Psychological Models of
Communication in Collaborative Systems (pp. 25-33). North Falmouth, MA:
American Association for Artificial Intelligence.
- Brennan, S.E., & Schober,
M.F. (1999). Uhs and interrupted words: The information available to
listeners. In Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of
Phonetic Sciences, Satellite Meeting on Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (pp. 19-22), Berkeley, CA.
- Bortfeld, H., Leon, S. D.,
Bloom, J. E., Schober, M. F., & Brennan, S. E. (1999). Which
speakers are most disfluent in conversation, and when? In Proceedings
of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Satellite Meeting
on Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (pp. 7-10), Berkeley, CA.
- Brennan, S. E., & Ohaeri,
J. O. (1999). Why do electronic conversations seem less
polite? The costs and benefits of hedging. Proceedings,
International Joint Conference on Work Activities, Coordination, and
Collaboration (WACC '99) (pp. 227-235). San Francisco, CA: ACM.
- Brennan, S. E.
(1998). The grounding problem in conversation with and
through computers. In S. R. Fussell & R. J. Kreuz (Eds.), Social
and cognitive psychological approaches to interpersonal communication (pp.
. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Brennan, S. E. (To appear). The vocabulary problem in spoken language
In S. Luperfoy (Ed.), Automated spoken dialog systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Bortfeld, H. & Brennan,
S. E. (1997). Use
and acquisition of idiomatic expressions in referring by native and
non-native speakers. Discourse Processes, 23, 119-147.
- Brennan, S. E. (1997).
Centering as a psychological resource for achieving joint reference in
spontaneous discourse. In M. Walker, E. Prince, and A. Joshi (Eds.), Centering
pp.227-249. Oxford University Press.
- Brennan, S. E. & Clark, H. H. (1996). Conceptual
pacts and lexical choice in conversation. Journal of Experimental
Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 22, 482-1493.
- Brennan, S. E. (1996). Lexical entrainment in spontaneous dialog. Proceedings, 1996
International Symposium on Spoken Dialogue , pp. 41-44. Philadelphia,
- Brennan, S. E. and Williams,
M. (1995). The feeling of another's knowing: Prosody and
filled pauses as cues to listeners about the metacognitive states of
Journal of Memory and Language , 34, 383-398.
- Brennan, S. E. (1995). Centering
attention in discourse. Language and Cognitive Processes, 10, 137-167.
- Brennan, S. E. & Hulteen,
E. (1995). Interaction and feedback in a spoken language
system: A theoretical framework. Knowledge-Based Systems, 8, 143-151.
- Brennan, S. E. and Ohaeri, J.
O. (1994). Effects of message style on users'
attributions toward agents. CHI '94, Human Factors in Computing Systems,
Conference Companion , pp. 281-282.
- Don, A., Brennan, S., Laurel,
B., & Shneiderman, B. (1992). Anthropomorphism: From Eliza to Terminator 2. Panel presentation,
CHI '92, Human Factors in Computing Systems, Monterey, CA.
- Brennan, S. E. (1991). Conversation with and through computers. User Modeling and
User-Adapted Interaction, 1, 67-86.
- Whittaker, S. J., Brennan, S.
E., and Clark, H. H. (1991). Coordinating activity: An analysis of
interaction in computer-supported cooperative work. Proceedings, CHI
'91, Human Factors in Computing Systems , pp. 361-367. New Orleans, LA:
- Clark, H. H., & Brennan,
S. E. (1991). Grounding in communication. In L. B. Resnick, J.
Levine, & S. D. Teasley (Eds.), Perspectives on socially shared
(pp. 127-149). Washington, DC: APA. Reprinted in R. M. Baecker
(Ed.), Groupware and computer-supported cooperative work: Assisting
human-human collaboration (pp. 222-233). San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufman
- Brennan, S. E. (1990).
Conversation as direct manipulation: An iconoclastic view. In B.K. Laurel
(Ed.), The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design. Reading, MA:Addison-Wesley.
- Brennan, S. E. (1988). The multimedia articulation of answers in a
natural language database query system. Proceedings, Second
Conference on Applied Natural Language Processing, pp. 1-8. Austin,
TX:Association of Computational Linguistics.
- Brennan, S. E., Friedman, M.
W., & Pollard, C. J. (1987). A centering approach to pronouns. Proceedings, 25th Annual
Meeting of the ACL pp. 155-162. Stanford, CA: Association of Computational
- Rhodes, G., Brennan, S.,
& Carey, S. (1987). Identification
and ratings of caricatures: Implications for mental representations of
faces. Cognitive Psychology, 19, 473-497.
- Brennan, S. E. (1985). The
caricature generator. Leonardo , 18, 170-178.
Republished (2007) in Leonardo’s 40th anniversary volume, as the
article that "holds the notable distinction of being the most
'cited' article published in Leonardo.”
- Hanna, J. E., Galati, A., Brennan, S. E., & Savietta, K. J. (Accepted pending revision). Benefits and costs of using eye gaze in face-to-face conversation.
- Galati, A. & Brennan, S.
E. (Under review). Toward a
Constraint-Based Model of Co-Speech Gesture.
- Brennan, S. E., Schuhmann, K., & Batres, K. M. (In preparation).
Entrainment on the Hoof.
- Amati, F., & Brennan, S. E. (In preparation).
Detecting Perspective and Theory of Mind Inferences from Eye Movements.
- Huang, J., Huffman, M. K.,
& Brennan, S. E. (In preparation). Speaking
L2 with L1 phonology: Effects of priming, pragmatic context, and audience
- Brennan, S. E. & Huffman,
M. K. (In preparation).
Dialect in a conversational task: What converges?
- Brennan, S. E., Huffman, M.
K., & Hannigan, S. (In preparation). Speaker-specific ambiguity: Effects of dialect.
- Brennan, S. E. &
Lockridge, C. B. (In preparation).
Elements of visual co-presence in referential communication.
- Lockridge, C. B., &
Brennan, S. E. (In preparation). Impact of working memory span on
referring in conversation. (or see Lockridge, C. B. (2007). Impact of
Working Memory Span on Referring in Conversation. Unpublished dissertation, Stony Brook University)
Dean's Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Education by a Graduate Program Director (May 16, 2012)
Chancellor's Research Recognition Award, The Research Foundation of SUNY
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Stanford
American Can Company Full
Scholarship, Cornell University (1971-1975)
- EAGER: Modeling Distinctive
Partners in Adaptive Spoken Dialog.
PI on collaborative NSF proposal with Marilyn Walker of UCSD. 9/1/10-2/1/12.
- Using gaze cues to build partner models for collaborative behavior. Co-PI (with Gregory Zelinsky and Dimitris Samaras) on NSF SoCS interdisciplinary project in Psychology
and Computer Science.
PREVIOUS RESEARCH GRANTS
- HSD: See Where I'm Looking:
Using Shared Eyegaze to Coordinate Time-Critical Collaborative
Tasks. Co-PI on NSF Human Social Dynamics proposal with Psychology
and Computer Science.
10/1/05-9/30/08, no-cost extension through 8/10.
- ITR-Medium: Adaptive Spoken
Dialog with Human and Computer Partners. PI on interdisciplinary NSF grant with Co-PIs in
Psychology, Linguistics, and Computer Science Departments. 11/03-10/07.
- ITR: Contributions of Eye
Movements and Shared Attention to Collaborative Tasks.” PI on NSF
- KDI: The Importance of Shared
Visual Environments for Collaborative Tasks. Co-PI on NSF grant to Carnegie Mellon University; PI on
subcontract to Stony Brook from CMU . 1999-2002.
- Psychological Representations
of Multiple Agents in Text and Spoken Discourse. Co-PI,
NSF's Interactive Systems Program (PI, Richard Gerrig). 1997-2000.
- Speech Disfluencies in Spoken
Language Systems: A Dialog-Centered Approach. PI, NSF's Interactive Systems Program. 1995-1998.
- Interactive processes of
language use in human-computer interfaces. PI, NSF's Interactive Systems
On October 2, 1995, Harrison
Andrew Brennan was born, weighing 5 lbs, 4 oz.
Harry's Language Diary -
Harry's Photo Gallery
(Harry is now in high
school – way too busy for updates!)