Susan E. Brennan


Professor, Department of Psychology

Joint appointment, Computer Science

Associated, Department of Linguistics


Department of Psychology

Telephone: (631) 632-9145

S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook

Fax: (631-632-7876

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 of communication.  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





1.      Kuhlen, A. K., Bogler, C., Brennan, S. E., & Haynes, J. D. (Under review).  Brains in dialogue: Decoding neural preparation of speaking to a conversational partner.

2.      Horton, W. S., & Brennan, S. E. (2016).  The role of metarepresentation in the production and resolution of referring expressions. In K. van Deemter, E. Krahmer, A. Gatt, & R. P.G. van Gompel (Eds.),  Frontiers in Psychology: Models of Reference.

3.      Hwang, J., Brennan, S. E., & Huffman, M. K. (2015).  Phonetic adaptation in non-native spoken dialogue: Effects of priming and audience design.  Journal of Memory and Language, 81, 72-90.

4.      Galati, A. & Brennan, S. E. (2013). Speakers adapt gestures to addressees’ knowledge: Implications for models of co-speech gesture  Language and Cognitive Processes.

5.      Brennan, S. E., Schuhmann, K. S., & Batres, 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.

6.      Brennan, S. E., Schuhmann, K. S., & Batres, 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.

7.      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).

8.      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.

9.      Brennan, S. E. (2012).  Conversation and dialogue.  In H. Pashler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind.  SAGE Publications. [Email me for a .pdf copy]

10.  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.

11.  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.

12.  Kuhlen, A. K. & Brennan, S. E.  (2010).  Anticipating Distracted Addressees: How Speakers’ Expectations and Addressees’ Feedback Influence Storytelling.  Discourse Processes, 47, 567-587.

13.  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]

14.  Galati, A. & Brennan, S. E. (2010). Attenuating repeated information: For the speaker, or for the addressee?  Journal of Memory and Language, 62, 35-51.

15.  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]

16.  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.

17.  Kraljic, T, Brennan, S. E. & Samuel, A. G. (2008). Accommodating Variation: Dialects, Idiolects, and Speech Processing. Cognition, 107, 54-81.

18.  Ekeocha J. O. (née Ohaeri), & Brennan, S. E. (2008).  Collaborative recall in face-to-face and electronic groups.  Memory, 16, 245-261. 

19.  Stent, A., Huffman, M. K. & Brennan, S. E.  (2008).  Adapting speaking after misrecognition: A study of hyperarticulation.  Speech Communication, 50,.

20.  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. 

21.  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.

22.  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.

23.  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 Ltd.

24.  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.

25.  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.

26.  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.

27.  Brennan, S. E. & Metzing, C. A. (2004).  Two steps forward, one step back: Partner-specific effects in a psychology of dialogue.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27.

28.  Metzing, C. & Brennan, S. E.  (2003).  When conceptual pacts are broken: Partner-specific effects in the comprehension of referring expressionsJournal of Memory and Language, 49, 201-213.

29.  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.

30.  Lockridge, C. B., & Brennan, S. E.  (2002).  Addressees’_needs influence speakers’ early syntactic choicesPsychonomic Bulletin and Review, 9, 550-557.

31.  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.

32.  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: MIT Press.

33.  Brennan, S. E., & Schober, M. F.   (2001).  How listeners compensate for disfluencies in spontaneous speech. Journal of Memory and Language, 44, 274-296.

34.  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 genderLanguage and Speech, 44, 123-149.

35.  Gerrig, R. H., Brennan, S. E., &  Ohaeri, J. O.  (2001). What characters know:  Projected knowledge and projected co-presence. Journal of Memory and Language, 44, 81-95.   Stimuli

36.  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.

37.  Gerrig, R. H.,  Brennan, S. E., &  Ohaeri, J. O. (2000).  What can we conclude from speakers behaving badly?  Discourse Processes, 29, 173-178.

38.  Gerrig, R. H., Ohaeri, J. O., & Brennan, S. E. (2000).  Illusory transparency revisited.  Discourse Processes, 29, 137-159.

39.  Cahn, J. E., & Brennan, S. E. (1999).  A psychological model of grounding and repair in dialogProceedings, AAAI Fall Symposium on Psychological Models of Communication in Collaborative Systems (pp. 25-33).  North Falmouth, MA: American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

40.  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.

41.  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.

42.  Brennan, S. E., & Ohaeri, J. O. (1999).  Why do electronic conversations seem less polite?  The costs and benefits of hedgingProceedings, International Joint Conference on Work Activities, Coordination, and Collaboration  (WACC '99) (pp. 227-235).  San Francisco, CA: ACM.

43.  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. 201-225) Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

44.  Brennan, S. E. (To appear). The vocabulary problem in spoken language systems. In S. Luperfoy (Ed.), Automated spoken dialog systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

45.  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.

46.  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 in discourse, pp.227-249. Oxford University Press.

47.  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.

48.  Brennan, S. E. (1996). Lexical entrainment in spontaneous dialog. Proceedings, 1996 International Symposium on Spoken Dialogue , pp. 41-44. Philadelphia, PA: ISSD-96.

49.  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 speakers. Journal of Memory and Language , 34, 383-398.

50.  Brennan, S. E. (1995). Centering attention in discourse. Language and Cognitive Processes, 10, 137-167.

51.  Brennan, S. E. & Hulteen, E. (1995). Interaction and feedback in a spoken language system: A theoretical framework.   Knowledge-Based Systems, 8, 143-151.

52.  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.

53.  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.

54.  Brennan, S. E. (1991). Conversation with and through computers. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, 1, 67-86.

55.  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: Addison-Wesley.

56.  Clark, H. H., & Brennan, S. E. (1991).  Grounding in communication.  In L. B. Resnick, J. Levine, & S. D. Teasley (Eds.), Perspectives on socially shared cognition (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 Publishers, Inc.

57.  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.

58.  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.

59.  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 Linguistics.

60.  Rhodes, G., Brennan, S., & Carey, S. (1987). Identification and ratings of caricatures: Implications for mental representations of faces. Cognitive Psychology, 19, 473-497.

61.  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.”

In progress...


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 (2003) [bio]

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Stanford University (1986-1989)

American Can Company Full Scholarship, Cornell University (1971-1975)





LIFE, etcetera

On October 2, 1995, Harrison Andrew Brennan was born, weighing 5 lbs, 4 oz.

Harry's Language Diary - Coming soon!

Harry's Photo Gallery 

(Harry is now in high school – way too busy for updates!)