Research Report: So you think you can spell?

“Inocent.”

You just read a word with a spelling error that we see in 39% of occurrences of “innocent” in social media. Recent research from the Reading Lab at McMaster demonstrates that spelling errors are harmful in that they make readers “unlearn” the correct spelling, and do so every time an error is encountered. This detrimental effect of variability in spelling affects all readers, even those whose own spelling habits are impeccable.

In two studies using the state-of-the-art eye-tracking technique and a behavioural lexical decision task, undergraduate student Sadaf Rahmanian and Dr. Victor Kuperman at the McMaster Reading Lab showed that readers took longer to recognize words that were spelled correctly, if those words were more frequently misspelled in unedited sources like social media. Sadaf concludes: “Praise be to spell-checkers, literacy instructors, proof-readers and editors, who keep spelling consistent.” The findings were published in the leading journal on literacy and reading research Scientific Studies of Reading.

For the full paper, click here [http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~vickup/Rahmanian-Kuperman-2017.pdf]

Research Report: It’s not what you say; it’s how you frame it.

Girl attentively focused on what's in front of her (out of frame).Think of the verb “cause.” Does it make you feel emotional? Most likely, not. Now think of the contexts in which this verb occurs: cause problems, cause damage, cause harm. The framing of ’cause’ is emotionally negative. A recent study by a PhD student Bryor Snefjella and Dr. Victor Kuperman from McMaster Reading Lab, published in a premier psychology journal Cognition, shows for the first time that contexts are as powerful in determining emotionality of an English word, as the word itself.

Says Bryor: “It’s been known that positive and concrete words (e.g., ice-cream or smile) are learned earlier in life, recognized faster in print and retained better in memory. What we show is that word learning, recognition and memory is equally strongly affected by how positive or concrete the contexts are in which a word tends to occur. To have a larger vocabulary, keep your contexts positive!”

Snefjella, B. and Kuperman, V. (2016). It’s all in the delivery: Effects of context valence, arousal, and concreteness on visual word processing. Cognition, 156, 135-146.

Read the preprint here.

New Journal launched by Huettig, Mishra, & Padakannaya (WoW Collaborator)

Cover image of the Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science

Name: Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science

Publisher: Springer

Linkhttp://www.springer.com/psychology/cognitive+psychology/journal/41809

Words in the World collaborator Dr. Padakannaya (University of Mysore) is pleased to announce the Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science and an open call for papers: 

We are delighted to introduce a new journal to the field, the Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science. The advent of this journal reflects the fact that cognitive science cannot ignore culture as a crucial factor impacting mental processes and brain functioning. Today, we have an increasing amount of empirical and theoretical work that emphasizes cultural, social, and bodily influences on mind and brain. A focus on the individual and her experiences has become increasingly important. This approach emerged in all fields that have been associated with cognitive science, from neuroscience to philosophy of mind. This journal aims to be a platform to discuss the latest developments and to present the best empirical work shedding light on such issues.

 

We are thrilled to have a team of excellent associate editors, and we thank Giovanni Bennardo, Zohar Eviatar, and Jyotsna Vaid for their service to the journal and the field. We are also grateful to have a team of distinguished anthropologists, linguists, psychologists, and neuroscientists from across the globe to serve on our editorial board.

 

We invite both rigorous research articles, and thought-provoking theoretical articles. Any paper that advances our knowledge of cultural influences on cognition and the brain is most welcome here. We particularly encourage submissions of research with non-WEIRD (Western, educated, industrial, rich, democratic) participant populations. It is no secret that the vast majority of research in psychology and cognitive neuroscience has been carried out with Western students. It is vital to look at different cultures and diverse participant populations so that we can understand what kind of findings from this mostly Western research body generalize to the world population. After all, we want to understand the human mind and not just the minds of Western undergraduates. We also especially encourage submissions of work from researchers from all parts the world. There is currently an exciting expansion of cognitive science and neuroscience research worldwide, and the many new labs in China, India, Latin America, and the Middle East are pertinent examples of this. Our journal also attempts to support this development. It is within this changing and diverse landscape that we want the Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science to thrive. We look forward to your readership and submission of your best work.

New Master’s degree in Applied Experimental Psychological Sciences

The Department of Psychology at the University of Milano-Bicocca is offering a new Master’s degree in Applied Experimental Psychological Sciences (AEPS), beginning in 2017-2018. The program’s focus is on the application of the psychological sciences to addressing real world problems, throughout a wide range of contexts and domains. The program offers cutting-edge training on the cognitive, social, emotional, and neural processes underlying human thought, behaviour, language, knowledge, and decision making, and emphasizes the development of methodological research skills.

 

International students are encouraged to apply!

 

For more information,  please see the attached flyer (sample image below), and visit the program’s page here.

High resolution: AEPS flyer Page 1 AEPS flyer Page 2

Low resolution: AEPS flyer (single file)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aphasia Friendly Canada project site is live!

We are excited to announce that the Aphasia Friendly Canada site is now accessible at http://aphasiafriendlycanada.ca/. This project is spearheaded by Dr. Lori Buchanan at the University of Windsor. It hosts the Aphasia Friendly Business Campaign, The Word Exchange, and The Caregiver Exchange.

The Aphasia Friendly Business Campaign offers to educate business owners and employees on aphasia and provides them with personalized training to improve accessibility for individuals with communication disorders.

The Word Exchange is a free adult conversation group hosted in Windsor, Ontario, where people with aphasia can meet with each other for conversation and engage in activities facilitated by trained student volunteers.

The Caregiver Exchange offers support and educational resources for caregivers of individuals with aphasia. Meetings are currently held in Windsor.

 

Call for applications: Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Cognitive Science of Language

Applications are solicited for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Cognitive Science of Language graduate program at McMaster University and the Department of Applied Linguistics at Brock University. The postdoctoral position is made open under the aegis of the Words in the World SSHRC partnership training grant and will also be supported by NSERC and other Canadian federal and provincial funding sources. The supervision will be conducted jointly by Dr. Victor Kuperman (McMaster) and Dr. Gary Libben (Brock).

The supervisory team is looking for a postdoctoral researcher who can make substantial contributions to one or both of the following research projects:


1. Individual variability in visual and auditory processing of morphologically complex words, and

2. Executive functions, serial fluency, and statistical learning as predictors of efficient reading comprehension.


For details on the position, compensation and application procedure, see the full job posting here.

For personal inquiries about the position please contact Victor Kuperman at vickup@mcmaster.ca.

Words in the World – Happy Holidays

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and all the best for 2017. We hope that the coming year will be one filled with health, happiness and the joy of creativity and discovery.

As we come to the end of this year, we celebrate an exciting beginning to the Words in the World Partnership. The success of our funding application was officially announced in September 2016. It is an honour to be among the eighteen successful applications and to be the only project to be awarded a grant focused on Student and Post-Doctoral Training in the 2016 competition.

The highlight of the fall 2016 season was certainly the 10th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon, which was held in Ottawa, Canada from October 19 to 21. The three-day conference featured poster and platform presentations from researchers around the world. It was a conference filled with reports of exciting new findings, methodological developments and perspectives, and the spirit of discovery and collegiality that has come to characterize the conference.

Vanessa Taler and Laura Sabourin were the Local Organizers of the Conference. They and their team were wonderful hosts for this milestone event. The conference was opened by Kevin Kee, Dean of Arts at University of Ottawa, who is a member of the Words in the Word Advisory Board. We were also delighted that Ted Hewitt was able to be our speaker and guest of honour at the Conference Banquet. Dr. Hewitt is President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the agency that has funded the Words in the World Partnership.

The Ottawa conference provided us the opportunity to host events specifically related to the Words in the World Partnership. On October 19, we hosted a Lunch and Learn event for over 50 students and post-doctoral fellows attending the conference. The Lunch and Learn focused on opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows to combine psycholinguistic research with engagement with industry and with community organizations. The event featured Panel Members Lori Buchanan (Project Co-Investigator and creator of the Aphasia Friendly Business Campaign), Eva Kehayia (Co-Creator and Co-leader of the Living Lab RehabMALL Project), and Vivian Tsang (Scientist with Quillsoft Ltd, a company that develops software products in the education and literacy field and which is a key corporate partner associated with the Words in the World Partnership).

In the evening of October 19, we held a meeting attended by over 30 academic collaborators. It was a meeting in which we mapped out a number of strategies and targets that were important to the development of our Milestone Document that we submitted to SSHRC on October 24, 2016.

Looking forward to 2017

As we have articulated in our Milestone Document, 2017 will be a year in which we expand our scientific activities and in which we develop new cross-site initiatives and training opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows. We will be in touch with you in 2017 with updates and details on specific initiatives. These will include updates on the following:

  • The set of instructional video modules for specific domains of lexical processing research that we will develop in 2017 and for which we will be seeking contributions from project members.
  • A new set of cross-linguistic and cross-site collaborative projects. The initial set of languages include English, French, German, Dutch, and Hebrew.
  • New synthetic edited books and special journal issues. Planned volumes include a book on “Questions for the next Decade”, a special issue of The Mental Lexicon, and an issue of Frontiers in Communication.

We look forward to developing these and other initiatives as we work together to achieve the overall goal of the Words in the World Partnered Research Training Initiative:  To advance the development of the next generation of research leaders through partnered training and collaborative knowledge creation and mobilization.

 

Happy Holidays!

The Words in the World Canadian Leadership Team

WORDS IN THE WORLD NEWSLETTER, ISSUE 1  

1. Project Director’s update: Welcome to Words in the World­
2. Upcoming events
(a) 10th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon
3. Updates and new project initiatives
(a) Aphasia Friendly Business campaign at the University of Windsor
(b) Update from Dr. Eva Kehayia

1. PROJECT DIRECTOR’S UPDATE: WELCOME TO WORDS IN THE WORLD
Dear Words in the World Colleagues,Let me begin by thanking you for participating in the Words in the World Partnership and congratulating you on the success of our application to the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). We were informed in April that our application was successful and we expect that we will soon be able to announce the grant publicly, as soon as SSHRC informs us that the public communication embargo is lifted.

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

Communication across the network will be key to our ability to create and mobilize scientific knowledge on the representation and processing of words in the mind and brain and to generate discoveries and applications that address the real-world use of language. This “Words in the World Newsletter,” which we plan to send out monthly, will be one of the partnership’s communication activities. The goal of the newsletter is to provide a simple text-based means of updating members of the partnership on developments, opportunities, and upcoming events of interest.

I therefore invite and encourage you, as members of the Partnership to send announcements that we can include in the newsletter to us at wordsintheworldgrant@gmail.com.

PARTNERSHIP STARTUP ACTIVITIES

Since we received notification of funding, we have been working to set up the structures that will ensure that we, as members of the Words in the World Partnership, can work to advance the development of the next generation of research leaders through partnered training and collaborative knowledge creation and mobilization.

These activities include:

i.  Designing the Words in the World Web Portal. This is a major and extremely important undertaking because it will constitute a virtual home for training, information repositories, and knowledge exchange for partners and our stakeholder communities.

ii.  Launching our three Accelerator Committees. The Training Committee, the Innovation & Knowledge Mobilization Committee, and the Research Integration Committee will bring together partners, collaborators, and students in order to advance the partnership’s activities in these three key domains of the partnership.

iii.  Developing our Milestone Document to be submitted to SSHRC in October. This document will lay our goals, targets, and their associated timelines for the first half of the granting period.

 

2. UPCOMING EVENTS

(a) 10th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE MENTAL LEXICON

The 10th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon will be held in Ottawa from October 19-21. This 10th conference constitutes a milestone for us, as it was conceived and launched in 1998 as part of a previous large-scale SSHRC-funded initiative. Accordingly, the 10th Conference will be held in Canada’s capital city. The Conference provides a special, biennial, opportunity for communication within our community, with this year’s offering including thirty-five platform presentations and over sixty poster presentations showcasing exciting advances in research.This year, we are offering a Lunch & Learn networking event sponsored by the Words in the World Partnership Project, which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The event is designed for students and post-doctoral fellows. It will last for one hour (12:15 – 1:15) on October 19, and will feature a brief panel presentation with academic, community, and industry representatives. There will be opportunity for discussion following the panel presentation.Registration for the conference is still open! So, if you have not already registered for the conference and, if your schedule permits, I hope you will consider attending and using it as an opportunity to meet colleagues and to develop new opportunities for research and application.The conference schedule and registration information are both available at http://www.mental-lexicon-2016.com/.Early-bird registration ends September 15th!

 

3. UPDATES AND NEW PROJECT INITIATIVES

(a) APHASIA FRIENDLY BUSINESS CAMPAIGN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR

This summer saw the beginning of the Aphasia Friendly Business campaign at the University of Windsor. The goal of this campaign is to improve accessibility to business services for people with aphasia by providing education and resources for local businesses. This work has been recognized through awards and prizes from the University of Windsor and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). They are working towards a formal partnership with the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Association of Hotels, Motels, and Restaurants. They are poised to go beyond Windsor, and will be looking for interested trainees from across the Words in the World network.

(b) UPDATE FROM DR. EVA KEHAYIA, Scientific Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation (CRIR) and Associate Professor at McGill University

In May 2016, a meeting with Mr. Richard Nolin, Vice-President Operations at COMINAR (a Words in the World partner), not only confirmed their continuing partnership with the grant, but also extended an invitation to explore similar partnerships and training possibilities across Quebec.

In July, a meeting with current Words in the World partner Aude Porcedda, of the Musée de Civilization de Québec, also opened discussions with Director Nathalie Bondil, Director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), as well as other members of the MMFA who have expressed interest in collaborating on the project.

These collaborations open exciting opportunities for McGill and Université de Montréal trainees, as well as other trainees within the Words in the World network, who can explore new avenues for psycholinguistic research in real life contexts.

If you have something you would like to include in the next newsletter, contact us at wordsintheworldgrant _at_ gmail.com.