Photo of Felicia Roberts

Felicia Roberts

Promoted to Professor
Brian Lamb School of Communication 

Felicia Roberts received her Ph.D. in English Language & Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has served on the faculty in the Brian Lamb School of Communication since 1998 where she teaches courses in Interpersonal Communication and Sociolinguistics, specializing in the verbal, vocal, and non-vocal practices that construct everyday and institutional life. Her research spans medical, family, and intercultural contexts, primarily using methods in the tradition of Conversation Analysis, which entails collection of video or audio records of naturally occurring interaction. This foundation in Conversation Analysis has enabled her to build a recent, innovative program of research that extends insights from that qualitative tradition to inform a new experimental paradigm for exploring long-standing claims about turn-taking in conversation. The goal of that work is to develop more richly integrated and interdisciplinary theory about the connections between behavior and brain.

Dr. Roberts’ extensive publication record includes a book-length examination of recommendations for breast cancer treatment (Oxford University Press) and over 30 peer reviewed and invited publications related to client-provider communication, parent-child interaction, methods for the study of naturally occurring talk, and reflections on issues of adverse event disclosure and morality in medical settings. Her recent publications concerning silence in conversation reach a transdisciplinary audience of speech science, discourse analysis, and acoustics. This line of research has been of interest to the popular press, most notably in the magazine Scientific American Mind

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