Please see the participate page for details if you or your child are interested in being part of our research.
When speakers are listening to language how do they determine what they are hearing? The ability to process language is rooted in how it is represented in our minds. A series of experiments using eye-tracking technology allows us to consider this question. By determining what competitors are considered when hearing words, we are able to provide insight into how language is represented in the mind. This project will also provide a point of comparison to consider how these representations develop from childhood to adulthood when language is fully acquired.
Learning to Listen Flexibly
Once children have acquired the basics of their first language and its sound system, how do they learn to be forgiving of slightly-deviant pronunciations, e.g. the ones they hear when listening to an adult with an accent? This project is comparing how children ages 5-8 perceive clusters of consonants in English, and how flexible they are in their perception. We are interested in children whose only language is English, AND those who are learning English as a second language.
How do second language learners of English use acoustic cues to assist in their comprehension of spoken English? Comparing the findings of native speakers of English, Mandarin and Punjabi using eye-tracking we will be able to measure the usefulness of these cues in real time.
The Phonological Processing Lab is currently running an experiment with children between the ages of 5 and 10. This experiment will use picture naming and eye-tracking technology to answer questions related to how children represent words in their minds. We're interested in whether their degree of similarity to other words affects how children recognize words like "sun", "run", and "shoe".
There has been a great deal of debate on how children represent words in their minds, and how these representations change as the child’s language develops. This multi-part project explores the nature of children’s representations from several perspectives, including word production and word perception. We are interested in how young children (ages 3-4) produce words when they are asked to add an [s] sound to the beginning of words like "cake".