D. Kimbrough Oller, Ph.D.

D. Kimbrough Oller, Ph.D.

Professor and Plough Chair of Excellence, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

4055 N. Park Loop, Room 4023
Office Hours
By appointment

About Kim Oller

D. Kimbrough Oller (Ph.D., Psycholinguistics, University of Texas, 1971) is Professor and Plough Chair of Excellence at the University of Memphis. He is an External Faculty Member of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Klosterneuburg, Austria, an affiliate of the Institute for Intelligent Systems at The University of Memphis, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the LENA Research Foundation of Boulder, CO. His research focuses on vocal development and acquisition of spoken language. In over 230 articles and books the work addresses infant vocalizations, early speech production, multilingualism, and evolution of language. His bilingualism research includes Language and Literacy in Bilingual Children (edited by D. K. Oller and R. E. Eilers), from Multilingual Matters (2002). His research in evolution and development of language includes The Emergence of the Speech Capacity (2000, Erlbaum), The Evolution of Communication Systems: A Comparative Approach (edited by D. K. Oller and U. Griebel, MIT Press, 2004), Evolution of Communicative Flexibility: Complexity, Creativity, and Adaptability in Human and Animal Communication (edited by D. K. Oller and U. Griebel, MIT Press, 2008), and in a 2016 volume for Topics in Cognitive Science, New Frontiers in Language Evolution and Development (edited by D. K. Oller, R. Dale, and U. Griebel). Oller's research has been funded since the 1970's by the National Institutes of Health.


  • Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, 1971, Psycholinguistics
  • B.A. University of California at Berkeley, 1968, Romance Languages


Honors and Awards

  • Award for distinguished contributions - Council for Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders - 2003
  • Elected as Fellow of ASHA - American Speech-Language Hearing Association - 2004
  • Elected as External Faculty Member - Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research - 2008-present
  • Member Scientific Advisory Board - LENA Foundation - 2005-present
  • Scientific article listed as one of the top 10 achievements in autism, 2010 - Autism Speaks - 2011
  • Awarded the Honors of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, the highest honor of the Association. - 2013
  • Received the University of Memphis Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Research. - 2018
  • Elected as Lifetime Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. - 2022

Research and Scholarly Activities

Research Interests

Infant vocal development, bilingualism, child phonology, evolution of language, early speech communication


Vocal exploration and interaction in the emergence of speech - NIH, NIDCD DC011027 - 2.9 million - March 1, 2011-Feb. 28, 2016
Infant Vocal Communication: Typical Development and Autism Risk - NIDCD R01DC015108 - 3.2 million - Dec. 2015-Nov 2020