Research Areas

Our community is at the forefront of language research, whether it is conducted at universities, in clinical settings, in the community, or with our industry partners. Words in the World project members are active researchers at the cutting edge of their fields.

Our research areas include:

  • Experimental psycholinguistics
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Aphasia
  • Bilingualism
  • Language acquisition and second language learning
  • Language development and developmental language disorders
  • Language assessment and intervention
  • Reading & Literacy
  • Lexical and syntactic processing
  • Phonetics, phonology & prosodic processing
  • Speech perception, production, and comprehension

Research is conducted in the laboratory with controlled experiments, and through clinical studies, observational studies, and statistical modelling. Our methods include:

  • Behavioural experiments: In experimental psycholinguistics, a major tool of inquiry is the reaction time experiment. In these experiments, participants are presented with stimuli (usually words), and then asked to do something with them while being timed. The resulting time to react (e.g., by pressing a button) is measured and analyzed. The lexical decision task is among the most common of these, and asks that participants decide whether an item that they see is actually an existing word or not.
  • Eye-tracking: Eye-tracking experiments are used to study eye-movements during reading, speaking, and listening. We measure where the eye stops (fixates) on a word or on an image, the movement trajectory of the eye and how long movement takes, and pupil dilation.
  • Electroencephalogram/Event-Related Potentials (ERP), Magnetoencepholography (MEG): We study brain responses related to language by examining tiny electrical potentials at the scalp that are recorded in response to linguistic stimuli. We also study changes in the magnetic field generated by neural activity in response to language use.
  • Corpus-based studies: We study language use through records of communication (e.g., child language development, spoken conversation). Beyond data collection as part of a specific project, there is a tremendous amount of data available through large-scale corpora (collections of text, including spoken transcriptions of text) that can be used to address linguistic questions.

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