Robert Port

Robert Port

Professor Emeritus, Computer Science

Professor Emeritus, Linguistics


Research interests

The primary focus of my work is problem of time and temporal patterns. Temporal patterns are a major problem for cognitive science since conventional symbolic models deal naturally only with static systems or with patterns specifiable in absolute durations (like milliseconds). Thus my research focuses on auditory pattern perception, speech and linguistics. I have addressed such topics as the temporal structure of words and phrases in English, Japanese, German, Arabic, etc. I am convinced that only models based on dynamical systems offer the right properties for handling time in a way that will be useful for an animal living in a physical world. Some kinds of connectionist models and other models based on differential equations have the right kind of dynamical properties. This work is compatible with a view of general cognition that is based on dynamical systems theory rather than symbol-based computational models.


The Auditory Cognition Laboratory has a wide variety of equipment for synthesis and processing acoustic signals. In addition to appropriate audio equipment (tape players, DAT, amplifiers, speakers, headphones, etc), the laboratory also has a number of SUN and Silicon Graphics workstations with software for sound synthesis and acoustic analysis of speech and other audio signals.

Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, AT&T Bell Laboratories, 1982-83
  • Visiting Researcher, ATR Human Information Processing Laboratories, Kyoto, Japan, 1995
  • Acoustical Society of America
  • Linguistic Society of America
  • Psychonomics Society
  • Cognitive Science Society
  • Fellow, Institute for the Study of Human Capabilities, Indiana University
  • Member, African Studies Faculty, Indiana University

Representative publications

A new paradigm for the sociology of childhood?: Provenance, promise and problems (2015)
Alan Prout and Allison James
Routledge. 28-Jun

Mind as motion: Explorations in the dynamics of cognition (1995)
Robert F Port and Timothy Van Gelder
MIT press.

It’s about time: An overview of the dynamical approach to cognition (1995)
Timothy Van Gelder and Robert F Port
Mind as motion: Explorations in the dynamics of cognition, 1 43

Rhythmic constraints on stress timing in English (1998)
Fred Cummins and Robert Port
Journal of Phonetics, 26 (2), 145-171

Mind as motion (1995)
Robert F Port and Timothy Van Gelder
Cambridge, Ma: MIT Press. 121-47

Cross-language phonetic interference: Arabic to English (1981)
James Emil Flege and Robert Port
Language and speech, 24 (2), 125-146

Evidence for mora timing in Japanese (1987)
Robert F Port, Jonathan Dalby and Michael O’Dell
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 81 (5), 1574-1585

Neutralization of syllable-final voicing in German (1985)
Robert F Port and Michael L O'Dell
Journal of phonetics,

Against formal phonology (2005)
Robert F Port and Adam P Leary
Language, 81 (4), 927-964

Linguistic timing factors in combination (1981)
Robert F Port
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 69 (1), 262-274

Effects of temporal correction on intelligibility of foreign-accented English (1997)
Keiichi Tajima, Robert Port and Jonathan Dalby
Journal of Phonetics, 25 (1), 24-Jan

Consonant/vowel ratio as a cue for voicing in English (1982)
Robert F Port and Jonathan Dalby
Perception & Psychophysics, 32 (2), 141-152

Incomplete neutralization and pragmatics in (1989)
Robert Port and Penny Crawford
Journal of phonetics, 17 257-282

How are words stored in memory? Beyond phones and phonemes (2007)
Robert Port
New ideas in psychology, 25 (2), 143-170

Meter and speech (2003)
Robert F Port
Journal of phonetics, 31 (4-Mar), 599-611

Dissertation Committee Service

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Brady, Michael A Field-Based Artificial Neural Network w/ Cerebella Model for Complex Motor Sequence Learning (May 2012) Beer, R. (Chair), Kewley-Port, D., Port, R., Bingham, G.
Chemero, A. P. How to Be an Anti-Representationalist (April 1999) Smith, B. C., Port, R. F. (Co-Chair), Dunn, J. M., Millikan, R. G., Gelder T. J. (Co-Chair)
Cleary, M. Perception of Talker Differences in Normal-Hearning Children and Hearing-Impaired Children with Cochlear Implants (February 2003) Pisoni, D. B. (Co-Chair), Kirk, K. I., Kewley-Port, D. (Co-Chair), Busey, T. A.
Desai, R. Modeling Interaction of Syntax and Semantics in Language Acquisition (December 2002) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R. (Co-Chair), Port, R., Smith, L.
Drennan, W. R. Sources of Variation in Profile Analysis: Individual Differences, Extended Training, Roving Level, Component Spacing and Dynamic Contour (November 1998) Watson, C. (Co-Chair), Robinson, D. (Co-Chair), Kewley-Port, D., Kidd, G. R., Eddins, D. A.
Erickson, M. A. Rules and Exemplar Representation in Category Learning (June 1999) Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Shiffrin, R. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M., Port, R. F., Nosofsky, R. N.
Ferguson, S. H. Vowels in Clear and Conversational Speech: Talker Differences in Acoustic Features and Intelligibility for Normal-Hearing Listeners (July 2002) Kweley-Port, D. (Co-Chair), Watson, C. S., Humes, L. E., Pisoni, D. B. (Co-Chair), Jong, K. D.
Fogerty, Daniel Perceptual Weighting of the Envelope and Fine Structure Across Frequency Bands During Continuous and Interrupted Speech (June 2010) Humes, L. (Co-Chair), Kewley-Port, D. (Co-Chair), Pisoni, D., Lentz, J.
Goldberg, Joshua When, Not Where A Dynamical Field Theory of Infant Gaze (January 2009) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Jones, S., Port, R., Schoner, G., Spencer, J.
Gygi, B. Factors in the Identification of Environmental Sounds (July 2001) Watson, C. S. (Co-Chair), Craig, J. C., Kidd, G. R., Port, R. F., Robinson, D. E. (Co-Chair)
Hockema, S. A. Perception as Prediction (April 2004) Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Smith, L. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Port, R., Hummel, J.
Kapatsinski, Vsevolod The Architecture of Grammar in Artificial Grammar Learning: Formal Biases in the Acquisition of Morphophonology and The Nature of the Learning Task (May 2009) Pisoni, P. (Co-Chair), de Jong, K. (Co-Chair), Smith, L., Port, R.
Lara-Dammer, Francisco Modeling Human Discoverativity in Geometry (December 2009) Hofstadter, D. (Chair), Gasser, M., Leake, D., Moss, L., Port, R.
Marshall, J. B. Metacat: A Self-Watching Cognitive Architecture For Analogy-Making And High-Level Perception (November 1999) Hofstadter, D. (Co-Chair), Friedman, D. (Co-Chair), Leake, D. B., Port, R. F.
McGraw, G. E. Jr. Letter Spirit (Part One): Emergent High-Level Perception of Letters Using Fluid Concepts (September 1995) Hofstadter, D. R. (Chair), Gasser, M. Goldstone, R., Port, R. F., Rawlins, G. J. E.
Nobel, P. A. Response Times in Recognition and Recall (April 1996) Shiffrin, R. (Chair), Kruschke, J. K., Nosofsky, R. M., Port, R. F.
Rehling, J. A. Letter Spirit (Part Two): Modeling Creativity in A Visual Domain (July 2001) Hofstadter, D. R. (Chair), Gasser, M., Goldstone, R., Port, R. F.
Scheutz, M. The Missing Link: Implementation And Realization of Communication in Computer And Cognitive Science (September 1999) Smith, B. (Co-Chair), Gasser, M. (Co-Chair), Moss, L., Port, R.
Wagner, K. Simulation Models of Evolution: Communication And Cooperation (August 2000) Gasser, M. (Chair), Leake, D., Port, R., Timberlake, W.
Wang, K. Computerized Adaptive Testing: A Comparison of Item Response Theoretic Approach and Expert Systems Approaches in Polychotomous Grading (October 1996) Frick, T. (Chair), Pershing, J., Port, R., Schwen, T.
Wilson, Andrew A Perception –Action Approach To Rhythmic Movement Coordination (August 2005) Bingham, G. (Co-Chair), Busey, T. (Co-Chair), Pisoni, D., Port, R.