Dr Karen Mattock

Psychology (School of Social Science and Psychology)

Research Program: Speech and Language


I obtained my PhD from Western Sydney University in 2005 on the topic of English and Chinese infants' perception of lexical tone and non-speech tone under the supervision of Prof Denis Burnham. In 2004 I was awarded a Postdoctoral fellowship from the Centre for Research in Language, Mind and Brain where I worked with Dr. Linda Polka and Dr. Susan Rvachew in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University, Canada on projects relating to infant speech perception, babbling and word learning development in monolingual and bilingual infants.

Between 2007-2012 I was a Research Council UK Fellow in Sensory and Perceptual Development in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University. I returned to Western Sydney University in November 2012 as a Lecturer in Lifespan Development in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology.

Research Interests

I investigate language development with particular focus on speech perception and babbling in infancy and and word learning in infants, children and adults using phonetic, constraints, socio-pragmatic, cross-situational, and sound-symbolic approaches. I am interested in the factors that influence language development such as exposure and experience with language, cross-linguistic influences, learning one vs two languages (bilingualism), hearing impairment, and infant-directed speech. My most significant contribution is in the area of infants' perception of lexical tone, a feature of tone languages such as Mandarin and Thai.

Qualifications and Honours

  • PhD (Psychology), Western Sydney University, 2005
  • Bachelor of Psychology (Hons I), University of Wollongong, 2000 (Dean's Merit List)
  • SciTech Vision Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010) from Faculty of Science and Technology, Lancaster University, UK


  • Honours Coordinator (Psychology), School of Social Sciences and Psychology

Full Publications

For a full listing of my publications please see my personal publications page.(opens in a new window)

Contact Karen

Email k.mattock@westernsydney.edu.au
Phone +61 2 9772 6619
Location Western Sydney University Bankstown campus (Bullecourt Ave, Milperra)
Room 24.1.57