Ashley Symons

Postdoctoral Researcher

The Auditory, Language, Perception, Hearing and Attention Lab

Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development
Department of Psychological Sciences
Birkbeck, University of London


Contact Details

Office: Room 658, Department of Psychological Sciences

Telephone: +44 020 3926 1071

Email address:


Research interests

My research explores individual differences in the perception of speech and sound. In particular, I am interested in how our experience of the auditory world, such as our experience with different languages or types of musical training, shapes our auditory system. Recently, I have also begun to investigate whether and how targeted training can help to improve some of the difficulties people experience when learning languages. 



PhD Psychology, University of Manchester (2014-2017)

MSc Cognitive Neuroscience, University of York (2013-2014)

BA Psychology, University of California Davis (2011-2013)



Symons, A. E. & Tierney, A.T. (in press). Musical experience is linked to enhanced dimension-selective attention to pitch and increased primary weighting during suprasegmental categorization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Symons, A. E., Dick, F., & Tierney, A. T. (2021). Dimension-selective attention and dimensional salience modulate cortical tracking of acoustic dimensions. NeuroImage244, 118544.

Stevenage, S. V., Tomlin, R., Neil, G. J., & Symons, A. E. (2021). May I Speak Freely? The Difficulty in Vocal Identity Processing Across Free and Scripted Speech. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 45(1), 149–163.

Jenkins, R. E., Tsermentseli, S., Monks, C. P., Robertson, D. J., Stevenage, S. V., Symons, A. E., & Davis, J. P. (2021). Are super-face-recognisers also super-voice-recognisers? Evidence from cross-modal identification tasks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 35(3), 590–605.

Stevenage, S. V., Symons, A. E., Fletcher, A., & Coen, C. (2020). Sorting through the impact of familiarity when processing vocal identity: Results from a voice sorting task. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73(4), 519–536.

Symons, A. E., El-Deredy, W., Schwartze, M., & Kotz, S. A. (2016). The Functional Role of Neural Oscillations in Non-Verbal Emotional Communication. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10.


Conference Presentations

Symons, A. E., Dick, F., & Tierney, A. T. (2022). Dimension-selective attention to verbal and non-verbal sound streams. Presentation at Cognitive Neuroscience Society: San Francisco, United States of America (April 2022)

Symons, A. E., Dick, F., & Tierney, A. T. (2021). Attentional Modulation of the Cortical Tracking of Acoustic Dimensions. Presentation at Society for the Neurobiology of Language Annual Meeting: Online (October 2021)

Symons, A., Stevenage, S.V., Guest, R., Motoc, I., & Bleeck, S. (2019). Voice recognition in noise: A comparison of human and machine performance. Presentation at British Psychology Society Cogntive Psychology Section & Developmental Psychology Section Joint Conference: Stoke-on-Trent (September 2019)

Symons, A., El-Deredy, W., Taylor, J.R., Schwartze, M., & Kotz, S. (2018). Effects of emotion on multisensory integration: stimulus and task dependencies. Presentation at British Psychology Society Cognitive Psychology Section Annual Conference: Liverpool, United Kingdom (August 2018).

Symons, A., El-Deredy, W., Taylor, J.R., Schwartze, M., & Kotz, S. (2017). The role of temporal prediction in multisensory emotion perception. Poster presented at International Multisensory Research Forum: Nashville, Tennessee (May 2017)

Symons, A., El-Deredy, W., Taylor, J.R., Schwartze, M., & Kotz, S. (2016). Temporal prediction drives the integration of emotional facial, body, and vocal expressions. Poster presented at Organization for Human Brain Mapping: Geneva, Switzerland (June 2016)


Grants and Awards

Research Innovation Fund, Birkbeck University of London, 2022-2023

Reg & Molly Buck Award, Society for Education, Music, and Psychology Research, 2020-2021

President’s Doctoral Scholar Award, University of Manchester, 2014-2017