Sven Mattys



  • Université Libre de Bruxelles, BA in Psychology
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, PhD in Psychology


After graduating from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 1993, I moved to the USA to carry out my PhD studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1997). I remained in America for spells as a postdoctoral researcher at the Johns Hopkins University (1997-1999) and then at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles (1999-2000), before moving to the University of Bristol in 2001. I joined the University of York in 2012. 

Departmental roles

  • Chair of the Graduate School Board
  • Development and Language strand leader



My background is in experimental psycholinguistics. I am particularly interested in the perceptual, cognitive, and physiological mechanisms underlying speech recognition. Although the populations I have investigated so far (normal-hearing adults, hearing-impaired adults, and infants) vary widely in their quantitative and qualitative exposure to the spoken language, a number of research questions apply to all of them: How are novel spoken words learned? What is the time-course of speech processing? How is speech segmentation carried out? How are words represented in the lexicon?


  • Marie Curie, Initial Training Network (ITN) grant, 2012-2016.I am the York site coordinator for "Investigating Speech Processing In Realistic Environments" (INSPIRE), an interdisciplinary EU-funded Marie Curie grant involving engineers, computer scientists, psychologists, and linguists that supports 18 PhD and postdoctoral researchers in 10 universities and 7 industrial partners across 8 European countries on the topic of speech recognition by humans and machines.
  • ESRC, 2011-2013. Principal investigator on a grant entitled “How does cognitive load affect speech recognition?”


  • Dorina Strori (PhD)
  • Huarda Valdes-Laribi (PhD)

Dorina Strori, Sven Mattys, Huarda Valdes-Laribi, Shekeila Palmer


Full publications list

  • Mattys, S.L., Seymour, F., Attwood, A.S., & Munafň, R.R. (2013). Effects of acute anxiety induction on speech perception: Are anxious listeners distracted listeners? Psychological Science, 24, 1606-1608.
  • Mattys, S.L., Davis, M.H., Bradlow, A.R., & Scot, S.K. (2012). Speech recognition in adverse conditions: A review. Language & Cognitive processes, 27, 953-978.
  • White, L., Mattys, S.L., & Wiget, L. (2012). Language categorization is based on sensitivity to durational cues, not rhythm class. Journal of Memory and Language, 66, 665-679.
  • Mattys, S.L., Brooks, J., & Cooke, M. (2009). Recognizing speech under a processing load: Dissociating energetic from informational factors. Cognitive Psychology, 59, 203-243.
  • Bowers, J.S., Mattys, S.L., & Gage, S.H. (2009). Preserved implicit knowledge of a forgotten childhood language. Psychological Science, 20, 1064-1069.
  • Toro, J.M., Sebastián-Gallés, N., & Mattys, S.L. (2009).  The role of perceptual salience during the segmentation of connected speech. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 21, 786-800.
  • Scarborough, R., Keating, P., Mattys, S.L., Cho, & T., Alwan, A. (2009). Optical phonetics and visual perception of lexical and phrasal stress in English. Language and Speech, 51, 135-175.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Liss, J.M. (2008). On building models of spoken-word recognition: When there is as much to learn from natural "oddities" as from artificial normality. Perception & Psychophysics, 70, 1235-1242.
  • Spitzer, S.M., Liss, J.M., & Mattys, S.L. (2007). Acoustic cues to lexical segmentation: A study of resynthesized speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 122, 3678-3687.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Melhorn, J.F. (2007). Sentential, lexical, and acoustic effects on the perception of word boundaries. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 122, 554-567.
  • Mattys, S.L., Melhorn, J.F., & White, L. (2007). Effects of syntactic expectations on speech segmentation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33, 960-977.
  • White, L. & Mattys, S.L. (2007). Calibrating rhythm: First language and second language studies. Journal of Phonetics, 35, 501-522.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Melhorn, J.F (2005). How do syllables contribute to the perception of spoken English? Evidence from the migration paradigm. Language and Speech, 48, 223-253.
  • Mattys, S.L., Pleydell-Pearce, C. W., Melhorn, J.F., & Whitecross, S.E. (2005). Detecting silent pauses in speech: A new tool for measuring on-line lexical and semantic processing. Psychological Science, 16, 958-964.
  • Mattys, S.L., White, L., & Melhorn, J.F (2005). Integration of multiple segmentation cues: A hierarchical framework. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134, 477-500.
  • Mattys, S.L. (2004). Stress versus coarticulation: Towards an integrated approach to explicit speech segmentation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 397-408.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Clark, J.H. (2002). Lexical activity in speech processing: Evidence from pause detection. Journal of Memory and Language, 47, 343-359.
  • Mattys, S.L., Bernstein, L.E., & Auer, E.T., Jr. (2002). Stimulus-based lexical distinctiveness as a general word recognition mechanism. Perception & Psychophysics, 64, 667-679.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Jusczyk, P.W. (2001). Do infants segment words or continuous recurring patterns? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27, 644-655.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Jusczyk, P.W. (2001). Phonotactic cues for segmentation of fluent speech by infants. Cognition, 78, 91-121.                                                
  • Mattys, S.L. (2000). The perception of primary and secondary stress in English. Perception & Psychophysics, 62, 253-265.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Samuel, A.G. (2000). Implications of stress pattern differences in spoken word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 42, 571-596.
  • Alegria, J., Charlier, B., & Mattys, S.L. (1999).The role of lip-reading and cued speech in the processing of phonological information in French-educated deaf children. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 11, 451-472.
  • Mattys, S.L., Jusczyk, P.W., Luce, P.A., & Morgan, J.L. (1999). Phonotactic and prosodic effects on word segmentation in infants. Cognitive Psychology, 38, 465-494.
  • Mattys, S.L. (1997). The use of time during lexical processing and segmentation: A review. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 4, 310-329.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Samuel, A.G. (1997). How lexical stress affects speech segmentation and interactivity: Evidence from the migration paradigm. Journal of Memory and Language, 36, 87-116.
  • Mattys, S.L. & Wiget, L. (2011). Effects of cognitive load on speech recognition. Journal of Memory and Language, 65 , 145-160.
  • Dilley, L.C., Mattys, S.L., & Vinke, L. (2010). Potent prosody: Comparing the effects of distal prosody, proximal prosody, and semantic context on word segmentation. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 274-294.
  • Mattys, S.L., Carroll, L. M., Li, C. K. W., & Chan, S. L. Y. (2010). Effects of energetic and informational loads on speech segmentation by native and non-native speakers. Speech Communication, 52, 887-899.
  • Wiget, L., White, L., Schuppler. B., Grenon, I., Rauch, O., & Mattys, S.L. (2010). How stable are acoustic metrics of contrastive speech rhythm? Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 127, 1559-1569.
  • White, L., Melhorn, J.F, & Mattys, S.L. (2010). Segmentation by lexical subtraction in Hungarian L2 speakers of English. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 544-554.
  • Bowers, J.S., Davis, C.J., Mattys, S.L., & Damian, M.F., & Hanley, D. (2009). The activation of embedded words in spoken word identification is robust but constrained: Evidence from the picture-word interference paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35, 1585-1597.
  • Liss, J.M., White, L., Mattys, S.L., Lansford, K.L., Lotto, A.J., Spitzer, S.M., & Caviness, J.N. (2009). Distinguishing dysarthrias using rhythm metrics. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52, 1334-1352.



  • Speech perception over the lifespan (Year 3)
  • Language development (Year 1)


  • Topics in Psychological Research

External activities


  • Psychonomics Society
  • Experimental Psychology Society

Editorial duties

  • Associate editor: Journal of Memory and Language
  • Consulting editor: Journal of Experimental Psychology: LMC, European Research Council, Frontiers in Language Sciences, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, Applied Psycholinguistics.
  • Member of the ESRC Peer Review College


Contact details

Prof. Sven Mattys
Department of Psychology
Room PS/C105

Tel: 01904 32 3145