Dr Varghese Peter | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Dr Varghese Peter


  • Lecturer, Psychology
  • School of Health
+61 7 5459 4821
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Varghese Peter

Dr Varghese Peter joined the Discipline of Psychology in the School of Health in March 2021. Prior to UniSC, he held academic positions at Western Sydney University and Macquarie University. Varghese completed his PhD at Macquarie University and his Bachelors and Masters degrees from University of Mysore, India.

Varghese’s primary research interest is on speech perception and language development in infants and children. He studies how various environmental and genetic factors influence language development. He is particularly interested in how external factors like quality of maternal input (infant directed speech) and bilingualism as well as internal (genetic) factors like risk factor for dyslexia affect the speech and language development. He uses both behavioural and electroencephalography (EEG) methods to answer these questions.

Varghese’s second area of research focuses on auditory perception and auditory cognition. He studies how the brain oscillations track linguistically relevant units in speech in infants, children and adults and their possible impairments (in dyslexia, developmental language impairments and hearing loss). He uses psychophysics, EEG and linear neural encoding models to investigate this.

Professional Memberships 

  • Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society

Awards / Fellowships

  • Vice Chancellors Excellence in Research Interdisciplinary Group Award (special mention), Western Sydney University, 2020
  • Director of Research Award - Team Research, School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, 2019
  • Travel award, Society for Neurobiology of Language, 2009


Research Grants

Grant/Project name


Funding body & A$ value


Focus (of research grant)

Perceptual and cognitive optimisation of visual augmented reality displays

John Cass, Gabrielle Weidemann, Tomas Trescak, Tamara Watson, Jeff Foster, Michael Tyler, Varghese Peter, Chris Stanton, Larissa Cahill

Defence Science and Technology Group



Cognitive load under stress

Effect of age and background noise on cortical EEG entrainment to natural conversation: a preliminary study in adults with hearing loss

Mridula Sharma, Varghese Peter, Piers Dawes

Capita Foundation



Neural basis of speech perception in noise

Processing of contingent and non-contingent vocalisations by infants

Christa Lam-Cassettari, Varghese Peter

ARC Centre of Excellence in Dynamics of Language



Language development in infants

Neural entrainment to speech rhythm

Varghese Peter, Denis Burnham

ARC Centre of Excellence in Dynamics of Language



Neural basis of speech perception

Investigating young children’s sentence processing abilities using EEG

Katherine Demuth, Varghese Peter, Kelly Miles

Macquarie university Centre for Language Sciences (CLaS) Seed grant



Language development in infants

Potential Research Projects For HDR & Honours Students

Speech perception and language processing

Speech and language development

Listening effort/ cognitive load

Research areas

  • Language development in infants and children
  • Auditory and speech perception in infants, children and adults
  • Dyslexia, developmental language disorders
  • Neural oscillations in language processing

Teaching areas

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Personality and Assessment

Research Publications

  • Lam-Cassettari, C.,Peter,V.& Antoniou, M. (2021). Babies detect when the timing is right: Evidence from event-related potentials to a contingent mother-infant conversation. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience,58(6), 345–354. doi:10.1080/14992027.2019.1575989
  • Di Liberto, G. M., Peter, V, Kalashnikova, M., Goswami, U., Burnham, D. & Lalor, E. C. (2018). Atypical cortical entrainment to speech in the right hemisphere underpins phonemic deficits in dyslexia. NeuroImage, 175, 70–79. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.072
  • Peter, V., Kalashnikova, M. & Burnham, D. (2018). Weighting of amplitude and formant rise time cues by school-aged children: a mismatch negativity study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61, 1322–1333. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-17-0334
  • Peter, V., Kalashnikova, M. & Burnham, D. (2016). Neural processing of amplitude and formant rise time in dyslexia. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 152–163. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2016.03.006
  • Peter, V., Kalashnikova, M., Santos, A. & Burnham, D. (2016). Mature neural responses to infant- directed speech but not adult- directed speech in pre-verbal infants. Scientific Reports, 6(34273). doi:10.1038/srep34273
  • Peter, V., McArthur, G. & Thompson, W. F. (2012). Discrimination of stress in speech and music: A mismatch negativity (MMN) study. Psychophysiology, 49(12), 1590–1600. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01472.x