SPaCE – Sensory Perceptual and Cognitive Ecology

The Sensory, Perceptual, and Cognitive Ecology (SPaCE) Center is an active research center funded by grants from NIH and NSF. We study the sensory, perceptual and cognitive abilities of deaf individuals over the lifespan, from infancy to adulthood. Our guiding philosophy is that deaf individuals are not just passively transformed by their deafness; they also actively engage with and shape their environments.

SPaCE promotes transparent ("open") science in an accessible environment free from harassment and judgment that allows all individuals to achieve their learning goals and desired employment outcomes. We encourage all interested students, staff and faculty to engage with us and learn more about what we do.

Latest News

Dr. Michael E. Skyer was featured in print and online editions of Scientific American where he was interviewed about the rapid shift to online modalities in deaf education. Skyer suggests that ASL has changed and continues being changed concurrent with an unprecedented increase of deaf students who use online education modalities. 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-covid-zoom-boom-is-reshaping-sign-language1/

Dr. Michael Skyer, a senior lecturer in MSSE, has joined SPaCE as co-PI on a project to study deaf innovations in online deaf education motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Skyer will be joining Dr. Meek and Dr. Dye as part of a multidisciplinary team looking to uncover insights that will benefit future remote learners, both DHH and hearing.

Eye-tracking studies show different eye-gaze patterns in babies with deaf, signing parents compared to babies with hearing, speaking parents. More.

Dr. David Meek released an article titled, “Dinner Table Syndrome: A Phenomenological Study of Deaf Individuals’ Experiences with Inaccessible Communication.” He interviewed Deaf participants from hearing families about their experiences during family dinner gatherings.  This was made possible with the support of mentors from the PAH! Academic Writing Retreat.  This article can be found at the following link https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol25/iss6/16/.

Dr. Rain Bosworth, assistant professor in NTID Department of Liberal Studies and Adam Stone (NTID alumnus) recently published in the journal Developmental Science. A video abstract is available here. In their previous work published last year, they found that Deaf native adult signers have very “face-focused” gaze, unlike novice hearing signers who have more variable gaze patterns. This study is the first to measure natural gaze behavior of young hearing native signers while viewing signed narratives on video. Gaze behavior in hearing infants and children exposed to American Sign Language at home were compared to hearing non-signers whose caregivers used only spoken English. Remarkably, 5.5-month-old native signers who are hearing resemble native deaf adults in their focused gaze behavior. This provides evidence that sign language has very early impacts on perceptual development.

Bosworth, R.G. and Stone, A. (2021), Rapid Development of Perceptual Gaze Control in Hearing Native Signing Infants and Children. Developmental Science. Accepted Author Manuscript e13086. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.13086

The SPaCE Center is excited to welcome Ali Fitch, Ph.D. Ali recently joined the RIT Department of Psychology as assistant professor. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental & Brain Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and completed postdoctoral work at Boston University with Amy Lieberman and Sudha Arunachalam. Her research addresses the complex interaction between word learning and the development of visual attention in both signed and spoken languages. Specifically, she is interested in how young children acquire language outside of the prototypical joint attention framework.

August 12, 2019

We are pleased to welcome Dr. David Meek as a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the Rochester Postdoctoral Partnership program. Dr. Meek received his Ed.D. from Lamar University and his research in SPaCE will focus on “Dinner Table Syndrome” and the educational and cognitive benefits to deaf children of accessible communicative interactions at home and in school. Welcome, Dr. Meek!

July 1, 2019

On July 1, the SPaCE Center officially opened! Located in Rosica Hall suite 1140, SPaCE provides office, meeting and collaboration SPaCE for faculty, research staff and students. If you’re in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself.

April 30, 2019

Micron logo: the word Micron with tilted circle around the M

Dr. Matt Dye and Dr. Janine Butler are part of a team that received a $50,000 gift from Micron. They will use these funds to conduct focus groups and surveys with hard-of-hearing individuals to determine their perspectives on how AI technologies can positively transform their lives.

Open Positions

The NTID SPaCE Center is always looking to grow. We are currently seeking applicants to fill several open positions.

Learn More

Staff / Students

Adrita Arefin
Graduate Student
aa2702@rit.edu

Matthew Dye
Associate Professor
Allison Fitch
Assistant Professor
Geo Kartheiser
Post Doctoral Scholar
David Meek
Visiting Assistant Professor

Layton Seeber
Research Assistant
lcsspace@rit.edu

Anna Zieba
Undergraduate Student
az4496@rit.edu

Contacts

Matt Dye, PhD
SPaCE Center Director
Phone: 585-475-2252 (V)
mwddls@rit.edu

Sue Roethel
Research Project Administrator
Phone: 585-475-2365 (V)
smrnvd@rit.edu