Faculty Experts - Joseph Toscano, PhD

Joseph Toscano, PhD

Joseph Toscano, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Area of Expertise

  • Hearing impairment and effects of hearing loss
  • Speech and language development
  • Speech recognition systems in computers
  • How the brain processes language
  • Effects of computer games on behavior


Understanding how humans perceive speech through the study of speech recognition and language comprehension is the focus of Dr. Toscano’s research. He is also working to develop tests that can be used to better assess hearing loss. Dr. Toscano uses several lab methods (cognitive neuroscience, behavioral, and computational techniques) to address questions about how the brain processes language, how speech perception emerges over development, how listeners adapt to accents in speech, and how computer games can be used to study speech communication and behavior more generally. 


  • PhD, Psychology, University of Iowa
  • BS, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester 

Selected Publications

  • Toscano, J.C., & McMurray, B., “The time-course of speaking rate compensation: Effects of sentential rate and vowel length on voicing judgments. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, 2015.
  • Toscano, J.C., & Allen, J.B., “Across and within consonant errors for isolated syllables in noise,” Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 57, 2293-2307, 2014.
  • Toscano, J.C., Anderson, N.D., & McMurray, B., “Reconsidering the role of temporal order in spoken word recognition,” Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 20, 981-987, 2013.
  • Toscano, J.C., & McMurray, B., “Cue integration and context effects in speech: Evidence against speaking rate normalization,” Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76, 1284-1301, 2012.
  • Toscano, J.C., McMurray, B., Dennhardt, J., & Luck, S.J, “Continuous perception and graded categorization: Electrophysiological evidence for a linear relationship between the acoustic signal and perceptual encoding of speech,” Psychological Science, 21, 1532-1540, 2010.

Selected Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Selected Research

  • Campus Research Board Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Neural representation of speech sounds in auditory cortex,” 2012-2013.
  • Beckman Fellowship Research Funding, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, 2011-2014.
  • Research Grant, University of Iowa Student Government, “Listeners’ use of multiple acoustic cues in speech,” 2006-2007. 

About Villanova

Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.

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