Mary L. (Molly) Erickson, PhD

See Also: Voice and Speech Science Laboratory

Field Specialty

Voice and Speech Science

Research Interests

Dr. Molly Erickson studied singing with the well-known vocal pedagogue, Thomas Cleveland, speech science at University of Southern California, and received clinical voice training from Paul Moore at the University of Florida and from Ed Stone and Thomas Cleveland at the Vanderbilt Voice Center. Her research interests integrate the fields of singing science, speech science, and speech pathology as they relate to the human voice. Dr. Erickson's areas of interest include physiology and perception of the singing voice, multicultural voice issues and durational modeling of speech in normal, second language, and impaired populations. For her work in the perception of singing, in 2000, Dr. Erickson was named a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar to Stockholm Sweden where she worked with Johan Sundberg and Sten Ternstrom to develop a synthesis model capable of generating a variety of singing voice stimuli necessary for perceptual research. Dr. Erickson has directed numerous graduate student research projects and 4 dissertations. She currently has 1 doctoral student. Dr. Erickson has published research articles in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Brain and Behavior, Music Perception, Journal of Voice, and the American Journal of Speech Language Pathology. She serves on the editorial board for Journal of Voice and is a referee for Journal of the Acoustical Society, Logopedics, Phoniatrics, and Vocology, Acustica, Music Perception, and has served as guest associate editor for American Journal of Speech Language Pathology.


  • PhD, Speech Science and Technology, University of Southern California
  • MA, Communication Processes and Disorders, University of Florida
  • MM, Vocal Arts, University of Southern California, School of Music
  • BM, Vocal Performance,California State University, Sacramento

Recent Honors and Awards

  • 2000 - Fulbright Senior Research Scholar
  • 2009 – Voice Foundation Scientific Advisory Board

Representative Publications

  • Duvvuru, S. & Erickson, M.L. (2013).  The effect of change in spectral slope and formant frequency on perceived loudness.  Journal of Voice, 27(6), 691-7
  • Erickson, M. L., & Gaskill, C. S. (2012). Can Listeners Hear How Many Singers are Singing? The Effect of Listener’s Experience, Vibrato, Onset, and Formant Frequency on the Perception of Number of Simultaneous Singers. Journal of Voice, 26(6), e817.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2012). The traditional/acoustic music project: A study of vocal demands and vocal health. Journal of Voice, 26(5), 664.e7-664.e23.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2012). Can Listeners Hear Who Is Singing?  What is the Pitch Bandwidth of Singer Discrimination in Untrained Listeners?  Journal of Voice, 26(3), 322-329.
  • Gaskill, C. S., & Erickson, M. L. (2010).  The effect of an artificially lengthened vocal tract on estimated glottal contact quotient in untrained male voices.  Journal of Voice, 24(1), 57-71.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2009). Can experienced listeners hear who is singing? A comparison of three-note and six-note discrimination tasks.  Journal of Voice, 23(5), 577-586.
  • Gaskill, C. S., & Erickson, M. L. (2008). The effect of lip trills on glottal closure dynamics: A preliminary investigation.  Journal of Voice, 22(6), 634-643.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2008). Dissimilarity and the classification of male singing voices.  Journal of Voice, 22(3), 290-299.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2004). The interaction of formant frequency and pitch in the perception of voice category and jaw opening in female singers. Journal of Voice, 18(1), 24-37.
  • Handel, S. & Erickson, M. L. (2004). Sound source identification: The possible role of timbre transformations. Music Perception, 21(4), 587-610.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2003). Dissimilarity and the Classification of Female Voices: A Preliminary Study. Journal of Voice, 17(2), 195-206.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2003). Effects of voicing and syntactic complexity on sign expression in adductor spasmodic dysphonia. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12, 416-424.
  • Erickson, M. L., & Perry S. (2003). Can Listeners Hear Who Is Singing? A Comparison of Three-note and Six-Note Discrimination Tasks. Journal of Voice, 17(3), 352-368.
  • Handel, S. & Erickson, M. L. (2003). Parallels between hearing and seeing support physicalism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26, 31-32.
  • Erickson, M. L., & D’Alfonso, A. E. (2002). A comparison of two methods of formant frequency estimation for high-pitched voices. Journal of Voice, 16(2), 147-171.
  • Erickson, M. L., Perry, S., & Handel, S. (2001). Discrimination Functions: Can They Be Used to Classify Singing Voices? Journal of Voice, 15(4), 492-502.
  • Handel, S. & Erickson, M. L. (2001). A Rule of Thumb: The Bandwidth for Timbre Invariance is One Octave. Music Perception, 19(1), 121-126.
  • Erickson, M. L. (2000). Simultaneous Effects on the Duration of Syllable Nuclei: A Covariance Structure Analysis Approach. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 108(6), 2980-2995.

Courses Taught

  • ASP 302- Acoustics and Perception of Speech
  • ASP 305- Phonetics
  • ASP 440- Voice Disorders
  • ASP 523- Seminar in Voice Disorders
  • ASP 601- Experimental Phonetics

Contact Information

Mary L. (Molly) Erickson
Associate Professor

Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology
University of Tennessee
427-1 S. Stadium Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996-0740

Phone: (865) 974-9895