Valerie Shafer

Valerie Shafer photo faculty

Research Interests

  • Language Acquisition, Speech Perception, Infant Development, Developmental Language Disorders, Neurophysiology, Neurobiology Of Language, Bilingualism, Second Language Learning


  • Ph.D. Linguistics, SUNY Buffalo
  • MA Linguistics, SUNY Buffalo

Office Hours

By appointment 

Valerie Shafer's research focuses on first and second language development with a focus on speech perception and processing. She is interested in developmental language disorders (DLD) and bilingualism and how external factors influence language development in these populations. Shafer uses both behavioral and neurophysiological methods to examine questions of how linguistic information is represented and processed in the brain and how experience with linguistic input modulates representation and processing. She is also interested in how non-linguistic factors, such as attention, influence speech processing at the neural level. She has developed a research/teaching laboratory at the Graduate Center that houses electrophysiological equipment to carry out her research in the neurophysiology of language.
Shafer earned her Ph.D. at SUNY-Buffalo and, before coming to the Graduate Center, was a member of the faculty at Hofstra University. She was named a senior fellow at the Zukunftskolleg at the University of Constance, Germany, where she conducted research in the summer of 2012. Earlier, Shafer received a National Institute of Child Health and Development award for research using electrophysiological and behavioral techniques to examine the relationship between phonetic/phonological development in infancy and later language development in children from monolingual English and bilingual English-Spanish households. She is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the International Association for Study of Child Language, the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, and the Society for Psychophysiological Research. She is also author of several book chapters and has been an invited speaker at numerous symposia and conferences.

Courses Taught

  • Language Science
  • Electrophysiological Methods
  • Theories of Bilingual Speech Perception
  • Neurophysiology of Language