Broadly, my research is focused on two main topics. The first is to examine how people process cognitively complex input, specifically rhythmically complex patterns. The second is to better understand the processing resources competition between music and language and across auditory and visual modalities.

Cognitive Complexity
Research on rhythm has mainly focused on understanding temporal parsing of simple auditory sequences. To this end, our lab has proposed a quantitative model of how listeners parse cyclical auditory patterns (Yu, Getz, & Kubovy, in press). However, less work has focused on understanding more complex rhythm sequences, and this has been the focus of one line of my research. 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.

Resources Competition: Music and Language
We are investigating the competition between determinants of rhythmic parsing and linguistic parsing using a sentence-rhythm interference task.  We find that listeners have a hard time ignoring the semantic content, even when the sentences are in a non-native language in which they have limited familiarity (Getz, Salona, Yu, & Kubovy, 2015). Further, when the task is more demanding, listeners have a harder time ignoring the semantic content: we have shown this both with syncopated rhythms compared to simple rhythms (Getz, Wohltjen, & Kubovy, in prep.) and with sentences with anxiety-producing content as opposed to neutral content (Gai, Getz, & Kubovy, in prep.). 

Resources Competition: Cross-modal Correspondences
Another instance of prioritizing processing resources we have investigated is the association between auditory pitch and visual size. Past work has found 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. In contrast, we have found evidence that the correspondence between pitch and size can be modified depending on task instructions, study design, and auditory stimuli used (Getz, Nisula, Shanahan, & Kubovy, in prep.). Future work in this area will continue to address the limits of automaticity in cross-modal correspondences, as we have only been able to replicate previous findings under very specific circumstances. We argue that multisensory integration may require more attentional resources than previously believed. 


Yu, M., Getz, L., & Kubovy, M. (in press). 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.

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.

Roy, M., Devroop, K. & Getz, L. (2014). Change in South African students’ outlook after participating in a concert band. Music Education Research.

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.


Invited Talks

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

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.