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Michelle Cohn


  • Ph.D. Linguistics (University of California, Davis)
  • BA Linguistics & Italian Studies (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Research Focus

I’m a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis. My research investigates how individuals engage with voice-activated artificially intelligent (voice-AI) systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.

I was recently awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship with co-PIs: 

You can read more about the project here!


For more news, more information about my research projects, and more, please see my website: michelledcohn.com

Selected Publications

Yu, D., Cohn, M., Yang, Y.M., Chen, C., … Yu, Z. Gunrock: A Social Bot for Complex and Engaging Long Conversations. (In press). 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP). [pdf]
Click here for the system demonstration

Cohn, M., Chen, C., Yu, Z. (2019). A Large-Scale User Study of an Alexa Prize Chatbot: Effect of TTS Dynamism on Perceived Quality of Social Dialog. Proceedings of the 2019 Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue (SIGDial), 293-306. Stockholm, Sweden. [pdf]

Cohn, M., & Zellou, G. (2019). Expressiveness influences human vocal alignment toward voice-AI. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 41-45. Graz, Austria. [pdf]

Snyder, C. Cohn, M., & Zellou, G. (2019). Individual variation in cognitive processing style predicts differences in phonetic imitation of device and human voices. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 116-120. Graz, Austria. [pdf]

Ferenc Segedin, C. Cohn, M., & Zellou, G. (2019). Perceptual adaptation to device and human voices:  learning and generalization of a phonetic shift across real and voice-AI talkers. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 2310-2314. Graz, Austria.[pdf]

Cohn, M., Zellou, G., Barreda, S. (2019). The role of musical experience in the perceptual weighting of acoustic cues for the obstruent coda voicing contrast in American English. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH), 2250-2254. Graz, Austria. [pdf]

Cohn, M., Ferenc Segedin, B., Zellou, G. (2019). Imitating Siri: Socially-mediated vocal alignment to device and human voices. International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), 1813-1817. Melbourne, Australia. [pdf]


  • Associate Instructor (LIN 1, 103a)
  • Teaching Assistant (LIN 1, 1Y, 106, 103a, 103b, 111, 151, 152; COM 1)
  • Reader (LIN 111)


  • Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, UC Davis
  • 2015 Lapointe Award, Department of Linguistics, UC Davis
  • Chancellor’s Prize for Best Oral Presentation, Interdisciplinary Graduate & Professional Symposium, UC Davis 
  • Best Oral Presentation in Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary Graduate & Professional Symposium, UC Davis