Professor Carolyn McGettigan
Lab Director

I was born and schooled in Derry, N Ireland. I completed a BA in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, followed by a PhD in Human Communication Science at UCL. My research is concerned with understanding the behavioural and neural processes involved in vocal communication. I set up the VoCoLab at Royal Holloway in 2012, and in September 2018 we relocated to UCL Speech, Hearing and Phonetic Sciences. You can read about my research here, and find a list of publications here.

Aside from research, my greatest passions are cycling, baked goods and the Eurovision Song Contest.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Nadine Lavan
My research focusses on voice identity perception. I am currently trying to find out how and when we can recognise other people from their voices, how familiarity with a voice affects our perception, how we learn new voices and how we cope with the substantial within-person variability of human voices.

Outside of work, I like to spend my time in the presence of one or more of the following things: My guitar, marzipan, my bike and Ethopian food.

Dr Abbie Bradshaw
I completed my PhD at the University of Oxford with Prof. Dorothy Bishop, where I investigated the relationship between language lateralisation and language impairments. My research in the VoCoLab forms part of the SONOVOX project investigating the social neuroscience of voices. I will be focusing on voice production, investigating the integration of social and emotional information with speech motor control, for example in the generation of prosody. I am also interested in how self-ownership of the voice affects speech motor control in the context of compensation for alterations of auditory feedback during speech.
Dr Michel Belyk
My research focuses on the neural control of the voice, with an aim to understand how humans evolved to speak. My research with the VoCoLab forms part of the SONOVOX project investigating the social neuroscience of voices. I will be using real time MRI to study how the differences between individuals' vocal tracts can tell us who is speaking. I will also be using functional MRI to study interactions between networks in the brain that are responsible for speech motor control and networks that are responsible for social cognition in speech interactions.
Outside the lab, I enjoy playing the most complicated boardgames I can find.

PhD Students

Stella Guldner
I’m interested in how we use our voice to convey socio-emotional information. Does volitional control over our voice interact with our ability to mentalize about another’s intentions, feelings and motives to influence how well we can use our voice as a social instrument? To get a better understanding of this question, I’m using both behavioural as well as neuroimaging methods (fMRI) to study volitional voice modulation to express social emotions and traits in normal subjects with high traits of psychopathy or autism.


Outside of the lab, and if I’m not travelling, I’m a passionate improv actress and enjoy singing musicals at the top of my lungs.

Elise Kanber
My interests lie mainly in vocal identity and voice processing. In particular, I’m interested in the perceptual processing of highly familiar voices e.g. close friends/romantic partners. Does it “feel good” to hear this category of voices? Are these voices rewarding to the listener, and how can we quantify this? During my PhD, I will use both behavioural and neuroimaging (fMRI/EEG) methods to investigate the significance of these personally valued voices, as well as the potential social and behavioural implications of hearing them.
Bryony Payne
I am interested in vocal communication, self-processing and, together, the extent to which our voices are used as a dynamic expression of the self. My PhD looks specifically at our ownership of an auditory identity and seeks to train an association with a new vocal identity. Using behavioural, fMRI and EEG techniques, I will be exploring how a new voice is integrated into the concept of the self. This work hopes to inform future work with users of voice synthesisers.

Lab Alumni

Dr Sarah Knight (former postdoc on the SONOVOX project)
Dr Dan Carey (former postdoc on the ESRC Vocal Learning project) 
Dr Sheena Waters (former postdoc, ESRC Vocal Learning)
Clare Lally (former graduate RA, ESRC Vocal Learning)
Dr Kyle Jasmin (former PhD student, UCL/NIH)