University at Buffalo

Federica Bulgarelli (she/her/hers)

Federica Bulgarelli


Professional Summary:

In my research, I seek to understand how learners process the incredibly variable input they receive. In the case of language learning, learners encounter input that varies along many dimensions. For example, words in the real world sound different every time they are produced, even when spoken by a single talker, and variability increases exponentially between different talkers. Further, linguistic input can vary when learners encounter different dialects or languages. My research program explores how the process and outcome of learning are shaped by inevitable variability in linguistic experience.

I investigate these questions in developmental populations (infants and young children) as well as adults, using both experimental techniques (looking time paradigms, eye tracking) and corpus methods. Ongoing and future projects will continue to investigate how infants process talker and accent variability during the early stages of word learning, and whether language background (monolingually or bilingually raised) or experience with different speakers (e.g., other children, accented speakers) influences how learning occurs.

Education and Training:
  • PhD, Pennsylvania State University, Cognitive Psychology and Language Science (2018)
Awards and Honors:
  • Ruth Kirschtein Postdoctoral Fellowship; National Institutes of Health; 2019-11-01;
  • Dissertation Grant; Language Learning; 2018-01-01;
  • Graduate Research Fellowship Program; National Science Foundation; 2015-05-01;
Recent Publications:
Journal Article:
  • Bulgarelli, F., & Bergelson, E. (2022). Talker variability shapes early word representations in English-learning 8-month-olds. Infancy, 27(2), 341-368.
  • Bulgarelli, F., & Weiss, D. J. (2021). Desirable difficulties in language learning? How talker variability impacts artificial grammar learning. Language Learning, 71(4), 1085-1121.
  • Bulgarelli, F., Mielke, J., & Bergelson, E. (2021). Quantifying Talker Variability in North-American Infants' Daily Input. Cognitive Science, 46(1), e13075.
  • Benitez, V. L., Bulgarelli, F., Byers-Heinlein, K., Saffran, J. R., & Weiss, D. J. (2020). Statistical learning of multiple speech streams: A challenge for monolingual infants. Developmental science, 23(2), e12896.
  • Bulgarelli, F., & Weiss, D. J. (2016). Anchors aweigh: The impact of overlearning on entrenchment effects in statistical learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 42(10), 1621.

Contact Information

346 Park Hall, North Campus
Phone: 716-645-0226

View CV

Buffalo Early Learning Lab