WORDS IN THE WORLD NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2020

Message from the Director

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all are keeping safe and well.

So much has changed in the months since our last Words in the World Newsletter. At the same time, I am struck by how periods such as these bring out the importance of community and our shared values. It is clear that in order to support the advancement of the next generation of research leaders, we need to prioritize opportunities for creativity, creating new knowledge, and translating that knowledge to serve the needs of our communities.

Certainly, the past months have highlighted the centrality of communication, our need to work together, and our need to train for the unexpected. It has been a pleasure for me to learn from others during our Open Office Hours, and to see the innovative new applications such as WritLarge developed in the Network. I am very excited to hear about the new work of trainees at our upcoming Words in the World Online Conference. I warmly invite you to encourage trainees within your institutions to submit an abstract at the beginning of August so that they can share their developing work at the online conference in October.

With very best wishes,
Gary Libben 

Good news and opportunities from across the network

Across our network we’ve all experienced, at minimum, a great upheaval of 2020 research plans. All of our in-person training and conference events have been postponed. This includes the 12th International Meeting on the Mental Lexicon which has been rescheduled to October 12-15, 2021. However, we have been encouraged to hear about how our colleagues have quickly adapted to a rapidly changing environment.Open Office Hours

We’re humbled by the response we’ve received from our colleagues regarding our Open Office Hour activities. So far we’ve hosted 8 events with colleagues participating live from more than 15 countries! We are pleased to announce that the next Open Office Hour, Incorporating Neuropsychological Tests into Experimental Research, will be held on July 28 at 12 p.m. EST (GMT -4). For more information, visit http://wordsintheworld.ca/home/open-office-hours/.

If you are interested in hosting an Open Office Hour, we would be happy to hear from you!

WritLarge App Announcement

The Reading Lab at McMaster University is happy to announce the launch of WritLarge (https://akkyro.shinyapps.io/writlarge/).This web-based application is designed to facilitate social mobility and relieve social isolation of older individuals through story-telling, writing, and sharing. This tool will provide older adults with a virtual community and an outlet to voice their experiences and engage with other community members. WritLarge also serves as a research tool for documenting and analyzing experiences and testimonies of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Feel free to try out the WritLarge app, spread the word about it and send us your feedback. For questions and comments contact Aki-Juhani Kyröläinen (akkyro@gmail.com) or Victor Kuperman (vickup@mcmaster.ca).

Postdoctoral Opportunity Announcement

The Language and Communication Research Lab/McGill University and Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital-Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and the Mental Lexicon Lab/CRIUGM and University of Montreal are offering a joint postdoctoral position for 1 year, with a possibility of a 1-year extension. The application deadline is August 1, 2020.

Prospective candidates are expected to conduct psycholinguistic and/or neurolinguistic original research not only in the lab, but also in real world environments. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to actively contribute to ongoing Words in the World research in the two labs and to be involved in lab and research centre activities across the two sites.  Primary tasks include conceptualizing, designing, and conducting research projects, and preparing findings for publication.

For more information about the position and how to apply, view the full job posting on the Words in the World website: postdoctoral research position.

Words in the World International Conference 2020

We are looking forward to the virtual Words in the World (WoW) International Conference! This conference will offer a venue for the communication of ideas, intellectual exchange, and networking for trainees and others across the network.

This conference will take place online October 16-18, 2020 and will include scholarly presentations as well as discussion panels. The conference will strive to create presentation opportunities for trainees (e.g., undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, recent graduates and others). We encourage students and postdoctoral fellows from all over the world to present their in-progress or completed work at this conference and engage in conversations with their colleagues on academic and non-academic topics. Papers can, of course, include a mix of trainees and faculty members as authors.

Submissions are currently open. Read the full call for submissions here and the abstract guidelines here.

Questions? You can contact the organizing committee at wordsintheworldconference@gmail.com.

For more information about upcoming opportunities for involvement across the Words in the World network, visit our website at: http://wordsintheworld.ca/announcements-updates/.

Update on Mental Lexicon 2020 & New Words in the World Conference

Dear friends and colleagues,

In view of the COVID-19 related restrictions on public gatherings and travel, we have implemented several changes to the planning and organization of the Twelfth International Meeting on the Mental Lexicon. With these changes, we aim to both ensure the safety and well-being of our colleagues and to enable the continuous and vibrant exchange of ideas. We would like to announce a few updates regarding upcoming conference plans

1. The in-person Mental Lexicon conference is rescheduled for October 12th-15th, 2021 (one year after the original date). It will take place in the same venue, the Queen’s Landing Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. We will announce a new deadline for abstract submission in the Fall of 2020, giving you ample time for the preparation and submission of your contributions to the conference. Please monitor this website (https://mentallexicon.artsrn.ualberta.ca/) for further updates on the Mental Lexicon conference. We will be in touch with those of you who have already submitted your abstracts.

2. We recognize that current restrictions on research activities and the cancellation of many training events have affected students particularly strongly. To offer a venue for the communication of ideas, intellectual exchange, and networking for trainees, we are announcing a new virtual Words in the World (WoW) International Conference. This conference will take place online October 16-18, 2020 and will include scholarly presentations as well as discussion panels. The conference will strive to create presentation opportunities for trainees (e.g., undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, recent graduates and others). We encourage students and postdoctoral fellows from all over the world to present their in-progress or completed work at this conference and engage in conversations with their colleagues on academic and non-academic topics. Papers presented can, of course, include a mix of trainees and faculty members.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is August 9, 2020. Decisions of the Scientific Committee will be announced no later than September 1, 2020. All further information about the WoW International Conference will be made available here at http://wordsintheworld.ca/. Details on the format of abstracts and a link for abstract submission will be made available by June 10, 2020. Please spread the word and show your commitment to continuous progress of science and education by supporting this new initiative for trainees!

Open Office Hours – June 2 & 9, 2020

We are pleased to announce our next two Open Office Hours! Join us at 12:00pm Eastern Time (GMT -4) on June 2nd and June 9th for two very different topics brought to you by three hosts from across our network.

On June 2, Noam Siegelman (Haskins Laboratories) is offering an Introduction to Bayesian Inference. This is a great opportunity to learn about this alternative to Null Hypothesis Significance Testing! Beginners are most welcome. View the complete event information here: http://wordsintheworld.ca/calendar-events/introduction-to-bayesian-inference/

On June 9, Eva Kehayis & Anik Nolet (McGill University) will provide insights into Ethics at a Distance, addressing the challenges and opportunities researchers face when conducting experiments online. More information about this event will be released in the coming days!

We always welcome questions during our live events, but if you have a question that you’d like answered during any upcoming Open Office Hour, you can also let us know ahead of time. This will help presenters to both ensure your questions are addressed and to gear the presentation toward the interests of the attendees. Questions can be submitted via the Words in the World website at this link: http://wordsintheworld.ca/home/open-office-hours/open-office-hours-q-a/

PsychoPy3 & Gitlab resources

Jordan Gallant (Brock University) has recently offered an Open Office Hour on using PsychoPy3 to create and run experiments online (video & collected materials: https://bit.ly/2wshFL7). Now he has put together a series of resources for researchers who are interested in getting started with PsychoPy3, but who don’t know quite where to start.

He is offering a selection of Experiment Templates (https://gitlab.pavlovia.org/Words_in_the_World), including code for lexical decision and self-paced reading tasks in PsychoPy3, and an associated video (Template Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dY5gvzR9xo) that explains how to use the templates to create your own experiments.

If you are interested in conducting collaborative research using PsychoPy3/Gitlab, you can find detailed information about setting up projects in a series of videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrqzzPKPF_6ZSVeUnKk3V_FogfgogjChg

Jordan will also be hosting next week’s Open Office Hour on how to conduct collaborative research online using PsychoPy3/Gitlab, and will be available for a Q&A after his presentation!

Open Office Hours – Week of April 20, 2020

This Week

Join us this week on Tuesday, April 21 at 12pm EDT (GMT -4) for a look into how to use online psycholinguistic resources to run experiments without a lab. Dr. Victor Kuperman (McMaster) will lead us through an introduction to online databases and how we can combine information from different databases using R. More information here: Using online databases

Recorded Videos

Recordings of previous Open Office Hours are now available! You can currently find the following videos on YouTube:

How to collect psycholinguistic data from home: Introduction to crowdsourcing tools

Running non-chronometric experiments in Mechanical Turk

Running chronometric experiments online using PsychoPy3

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.