I am interested in the perceptual organization of auditory and visual experiences. Knowing how to organize the complex perceptual input we are constantly receiving is crucial for our ability to interact with the world around us. I aim to understand how we make sense of this input, how we deal with cases of overload, and how we know when to combine input from multiple senses into a single percept. I have active and productive collaborations with faculty members and students within several areas of psychology, as well as interdisciplinary partnerships with music and linguistics faculty, which have allowed me to approach these questions in three lines of research.

Rhythm Complexity
In one line of work, I examine the psychological processes associated with perceiving simple and complex auditory patterns. For example, my collaborators and I have proposed a quantitative model of how listeners decide on the starting point of simple auditory patterns (Yu, Getz, & Kubovy, 2015). My main focus has been on understanding more complex rhythm sequences—an area that has received less empirical attention. Specifically, my colleagues and I have looked at rhythm complexity using a variety of tasks including pattern matching, discrimination, and production in adult musicians and non-musicians (Getz, Barton, & Kubovy, 2014). In addition to adults, I have expanded this line of research to investigate five-year-old children's (in collaboration with Rachel Keen) and songbirds' (in collaboration with Dan Meliza) understanding of complex rhythms.

Rhythm and Language Overlap
My second line of research addresses the competition between people’s ability to segment rhythms and their ability to perceive whole sentences. Across a number of studies, I have found that sentence processing overwhelms perceptual organization: listeners are told to ignore the words of the sentence and choose the underlying rhythm pattern in which the words are repeating, yet the majority of listeners choose the start of the sentence as the start of the rhythm. This happens even when the sentences are in a non-native language that listeners are beginning to learn (Getz, Salona*, Yu, & Kubovy, 2015). It is harder for listeners to ignore sentences that appear with complex rhythms compared to simple rhythms (Getz, Wohltjen*, & Kubovy, under review) and sentences that are composed of anxiety-related words compared to neutral words (Gai*, Getz, & Kubovy, in prep).

Audiovisual Cross-modal Correspondences

For my dissertation, I am investigating the association between auditory pitch and visual object size. Previous research has shown that participants are faster and more accurate to respond when large objects are paired with low pitches and small objects are paired with high pitches. However, using a variety of direct and conceptual replications, I have been unable to find evidence for successful fusion of pitch and size. My dissertation work aims to reconcile these divergent findings. I propose that because the pitch-size correspondence is based on our experience with the environment (e.g., bears make low-pitched growls and birds make high-pitched tweets) rather than a redundant coding mechanism in the brain (e.g., auditory loudness and visual brightness are measures of intensity in their corresponding modality), the correspondence is subject to top-down cognitive influence; in other words, participants can match large objects with low or high pitches without a loss in reaction time or accuracy. To examine this thesis, I am planning to expand my investigation to a variety of other audiovisual correspondences, such as the association between pitch and visual elevations and the association between auditory volume and visual object size. As this work develops, it will add to the current debate on whether perception can be considered separately from cognition.



Yu, M., Getz, L., & Kubovy, M. (2015). Temporal parsing of cyclical auditory rhythm patterns: Quantitative laws. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.

 Getz, L., Salona, P., Yu, M. & Kubovy, M. (2015). Competition between rhythmic and language organization in a sentence-rhythm Stroop task. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Roy, M., Devroop, K. & Getz, L. (2015). Change in South African students’ outlook after participating in a concert band. Music Education Research.

Getz, L., Barton, S. & Kubovy, M. (2014). The specificity of expertise: For whom is the clave pattern the “key” to Latin salsa music? Acta Psychologica.

Getz, L., Marks, S. & Roy, M. (2014). Level of stress, optimism, and music training predict whether people use music for cognitive stimulation or emotional regulation. Psychology of Music. 

Getz, L., & Roy, M. (2013). Student leadership perceptions from South Africa and the United States. International Journal of Psychological Studies. 

Getz, L., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., Roy, M. & Devroop, K. (2012). The relationship between affect, uses of music, and music preferences in a sample of South African adolescents. Psychology of Music.

Under Review

            Getz, L., Wohltjen, S. & Kubovy, M. (under review). Competition between rhythmic and language organization: The                importance of task demands. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

            Roy, M., Radzevick, J. & Getz, L. (under review). Individual differences common to musicians could lead to health                problems. Musicus. Invited submission for special section.

            Barton, S., Getz, L. & Kubovy, M. (under review). Systematic variation in rhythm production as tempo changes.                    Music Perception.


Invited Talks

Getz, L. & Shanahan, D. (2015, August). Is the Cross-modal Correspondence between Pitch and Size Categorical or Continuous? Biennial Meeting of the Society for Music Perception & Cognition, Nashville, TN.

Getz, L. & Kubovy, M. (2015, March). Are All Musicians Always Better than Non-Musicians on Music-Related Tasks? William & Mary College Graduate Research Symposium, Williamsburg, VA.

 Getz, L. (2014, October). Who’s Got the Groove? The Specificity of Rhythm Expertise. “Music and the Mind” seminar series at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA.

 Getz, L. (2014, February). Auditory Stroop Effect: Perceptual Organization vs. Language. Psychological Sciences Roundtable at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

 Getz, L., Salona, P., Yu, M. & Kubovy, M. (2012, November). “Clave Rap”: The Segmentation of Linguistic Auditory Necklaces. 11th Annual Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Action Meeting (APCAM), Minneapolis, MN.

Selected Poster Presentations

Getz, L., Shanahan, D., & Kubovy, M. (2015, November). The Correspondence of Pitch and Size Dimensions is Not Automatic. 56th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomics Society, Chicago, IL.

Gai, A., Getz, L., & Kubovy, M. (2015, April). Anxiety Can Change the Simultaneous Rhythm and Language Processing. Undergraduate Research Network Symposium, Charlottesville, VA.

 Wohltjen, S.Getz, L., & Kubovy, M. (2014, April). Ambiguity and Complexity Affect Simultaneous Rhythm and Language Processing. L. Starling Reid Undergraduate Psychology Conference, Charlottesville, VA.

 Getz, L. & Kubovy, M. (2013, November). Are Visual and Auditory Motion Perceptually (or only Metaphorically) Related? 54th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomics Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

 Getz, L., Barton, S. & Kubovy, M. (2013, November). An Investigation of the Perceptual Experience of Syncopation. 12th Annual Auditory Perception, Cognition, and Action Meeting (APCAM), Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

 Korte, B.Getz, L., & Kubovy, M. (2013, April). Rhythm Perception Versus Music Theory: The Case of Syncopation. L. Starling Reid Undergraduate Psychology Conference, Charlottesville, VA.

 Roy M., Jones, M.Getz, L., Schnarrs, E., & Devroop, K. (2012, July). Effect of Participating in a Music Program on Students’ Outlook. International Congress of Psychology Convention, Cape Town, South Africa.

 Getz, L., Kondrad, R., Kubovy, M. & Keen, R. (2012, May). Age, Exposure, and Music Training as Indicators of Rhythm Discrimination Abilities. 24th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL. 

Salona, P., Getz, L., Yu, M. & Kubovy, M. (2012, April). Simultaneous Processing of Linguistic and Musical Cues. L. Starling Reid Undergraduate Psychology Conference, Charlottesville, VA.

Getz, L., Hopkins, E. B. & Proffitt, D. (2012, February). A Dynamic Analysis of Physiological Changes During Music Listening. North Carolina Cognition Conference, Durham, NC.

 Getz, L., Roy, M. & Devroop, K. (2009, October). Cross-Cultural Differences in Music Use within a South African Secondary School. Society for Education, Music, and Psychology Research Day Conference: “Music and Familiarity,” Hull, UK.

 Getz, L. & Lemley, C. (2009, May). Music Training Does Not Increase Shadowing Accuracy in a Dichotic-Listening Task. 21st Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA.