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 1, 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 will 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.