COVID-19 & Open Office Hours (online)

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, many across the Words in the World network have suspended face-to-face operations including experimentation in traditional laboratory environments. We are therefore making a concerted effort to migrate as many of our research projects to an online format as possible. By moving toward this goal, we are working not only to protect the health and safety of our colleagues and research participants, but also to move forward with the majority of our research endeavours.

With these purposes in mind, we’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a new Words in the World feature: Open Office Hours. The purpose of the Open Office Hour is to provide an accessible online version of the traditional university office hour, in which our research partners hold a brief informal discussion on a topic within their expertise and take questions regarding that topic. Our first Open Office Hours are listed below and focus on online experimentation in Psycholinguistic research.


A follow-up office hour with Dr. Kuperman is scheduled for Friday, March 27, from 1 – 2pm Eastern (GMT -4). See the announcement here:

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

Host: Victor Kuperman

Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Time: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. EST (GMT -4)

Ability to collect experimental data outside of the lab is of great importance for reaching out to populations outside of university convenience subject pools. This importance is even greater when lab testing is undesirable. This first session of “open office hours” will introduce rich possibilities for data collection using crowdsourcing tools like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk ( We will cover several basic types of experiments (surveys, collection of ratings, linguistic judgments, and written responses), and discuss practicalities of online testing. Several small experiments will be created and results collected and discussed.

No prior knowledge is expected. The session is designed for 20-30 minutes of an informal presentation, followed by the Q&A. Ideas for experiments are very welcome.

Connect via Zoom:

See the event listing for alternative ways to connect.

“Running chronometric experiments online using PsychoPy3″

Host: Jordan Gallant

Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 (GMT -4)

Time: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. EST

Connect via Zoom:

Online experiments offer a range of possibilities and benefits that have yet to be fully explored. This office hour will introduce PsychoPy3, a new experiment development software that uses Javascript to create experiments that can be run on web-browsers. In the first half of the office hour, I will demonstrate how a simple lexical decision experiment can be 1) created, 2) hosted online, and 3) run using participants recruited via Mechanical Turk. The second half will be a Q&A where the limitations/possibilities of PsychoPy3 and online chronometric experimentation in general can be discussed.

COVID-19 Update

To all our friends and colleagues:

We hope you are safe in these difficult times.

Following the advice of public health authorities, Words in the World has moved the majority of our operations online. 

The Brock/SHARCNet EEG Analysis Workshop, scheduled for May 11 – 15, 2020, has been cancelled, with the hopes of rescheduling for later in the year. Attendees should receive information directly. 

The organizing committees of STEP2020 (May 25 – May 30, 2020) and the 12th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon (October 6 – 9, 2020) are considering their options in the face of this rapidly evolving situation.

The organizers of STEP2020 have changed the event registration procedures to reflect current global uncertainty and are prepared to cancel the event on short notice. Should STEP be cancelled, there are plans to reschedule at a later date. More information is available here:

In the coming weeks, we will be offering a series of Open Office Hours focusing on how to do research while maintaing social distance through the use of online resources. The first session will be about how to use Mechanical Turk, and will offered by Dr. Victor Kuperman (McMaster University) next Tuesday, March 24, from 1pm to 2pm. 

We wish you all well. 

Announcing Clozapp: A Java Application for Collecting and Recording Cloze Probability Norms

We are delighted to announce the release of Clozapp: A Java Application for Collecting and Recording Cloze Probability Norms!

Clozapp is an open source program designed to collect Cloze probability norms, and can be adjusted to work in multiple languages. It has been made available on the Open Science Framework by its authors, including WoW trainee Kelly Nisbet and Co-Applicant Dr. Victor Kuperman. We hope it will be of use to you! 

To read the paper, and to learn where to download the program, read the article here:

STEP2020 is coming!

The dates are set for the 2020 CCP Spring Training in Experimental Psycholinguistics!

The Centre for Comparative Psycholinguistics (CCP, University of Alberta Department of Linguistics) organizes a week long Spring Training Workshop in current issues and methods in psycholinguistics. This 7th STEP will take place in Edmonton, Alberta, May 25-30, 2020. The Spring School is directed at postdoctoral fellows, graduate and advanced undergraduate students, and anyone else interested in learning how to turn their research ideas into concrete steps towards experimental designs, data collection and analysis using advanced experimental and statistical methods.

Location: University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Dates: May 25-30, 2020

Schedule and registration details TBA.

View the STEP2020 website for more information here:

Mental Lexicon 2020 Call for Papers

The 12th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon will be held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, from the evening of October 6 to the evening of October 9, 2020 at the lovely Queen’s Landing hotel. The conference brings together psycholinguistic, neurolinguistic, and computational research on the representation and processing of words in the mind/brain.  We are currently accepting abstract submissions for platform and poster presentations. As in previous years, we anticipate an excellent selection of oral and poster presentations on topics that range from models of the representation and processing of words in the mind and brain to neurolinguistic studies of lexical impairment.

The conference will include both 15-minute platform presentations and poster sessions on each day. The language of the conference is English. As in previous years, a special journal issue resulting from the conference is planned.

The deadline for receipt of abstracts is April 19, 2020 (midnight Eastern Standard Time). Acceptance letters will be e-mailed in late May 2020 following selection by the scientific advisory committee.

Attendees are also invited to our pre- and post-conference events!

Pre-Conference Event: Mobilizing research to address community challenges

When: Tuesday, October 6
This special event will bring together researchers, partners, and community stakeholders to work together to understand community and industry needs related to language and language processing.

Post-conference Event: Tutorials and Workshops: Language in the world — new approaches to data collection, analysis and knowledge translation.

When: Saturday, October 10
The post-conference special Workshop day will highlight the latest developments in methods of language science that enable and augment real-world applications.

We are looking forward to seeing you in the Niagara region in Canada. Niagara-on-the-Lake is 20 kilometers from Niagara Falls, 60 kilometers from Buffalo, New York, and 120 kilometers from Toronto, Canada. It is served by two large airports: Toronto and Buffalo, as well as by Hamilton Airport. It is our hope that the natural beauty and history of this wine-making region and the comfort of the Georgian-style hotel venue will add to your enjoyment of the event.

For more information and to submit an abstract, visit the conference website at:

Postponed: Brock University & SHARCNet: EEG Analysis Workshop 2020

Words in the World is pleased to once again be co-sponsoring Brock & SHARCNet’s Annual EEG Analysis Workshop! This year, the workshop will run Monday, May 11 to Friday, May 15, 2020, at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

This EEG analysis workshop is designed to give researchers who are familiar with ERP projects an opportunity to get hands on experience exploring advanced EEG analysis methods in a collaborative setting. Lectures and hands-on sessions will be presented by Sid Segalowitz, James Desjardins, and Stefon van Noordt.

For the basic syllabus and to register for the workshop, visit our EventBrite page here:

Registration is $150 for students/postdocs and $250 for faculty/professionals.

The Brock University & SHARCNet: EEG Analysis Workshop is co-sponsored by the Jack and Nora Walker Centre for Lifespan Development Research, SHARCNet, and the Words in the World SSHRC Partnership project.

New Resource: LaDEC: Large database of English compounds

Words in the World collaborators Christina Gagne, Thomas Spalding, and Daniel Schmidtke announce the Large Database of English Compounds (LaDEC).

This open access paper presents the Large Database of English Compounds (LaDEC) which consists of 8000+ English compound words as well as various analyses using the database to examine various theoretical questions concerning the influence of semantics, orthography, morphology, and sentiment on compound word processing.

The article can be found here:

The database can be found here:

Mental Lexicon 2020 is coming!

Save the date! The 12th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon will be held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada from October 6 – 9, 2020 at the lovely Queen’s Landing hotel ( The conference brings together psycholinguistic, neurolinguistic, and computational research on the representation and processing of words in the mind/brain.

The call for papers will be posted in January, 2020. 

Upcoming Talk: There is a big gap in our understanding of reading fluency and the study of serial naming can help address it

On Monday July 22, 2019, Dr. Athanassios Protopapas (University of Oslo) will be giving a talk on word reading fluency at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. This invited talk is hosted by The Reading Lab and the Centre for Advanced Research in Experimental and Applied Linguistics at McMaster. See the abstract below for more information.

All are welcome to attend!


Date: July 22, 2019

Time: 12 – 2pm

Location: LRW 4018 (through ARiEAL entrance at LRW 4020), McMaster University


Word list reading fluency is theoretically expected to depend mainly on single word reading speed. Yet the correlation between the two diminishes with increasing fluency, while fluency remains strongly correlated to serial digit naming. This suggests that multi-element sequence processing is an important component of fluency. When multiple stimuli to be named are presented simultaneously, the total naming time is shorter than when they are presented individually (termed “serial advantage”). Presumably, this occurs because one or more stimuli can be processed simultaneously, for example by one stimulus being mapped to its phonological representation while the previous one is articulated and the next one is visually perceived. This temporal overlap, termed “cascaded” processing, amounts to the parallel processing of multiple sequential stimuli along a serial pipeline.

I will present data from serial and discrete naming and reading tasks in different orthographies supporting the hypotheses that (a) these tasks pattern along distinct dimensions of performance concerning sequential vs. single-entity processing; (b) stimuli are amenable to cascaded processing to the extent they are individually processed as unmediated single chunks; and (c) the serial advantage is limited by the slowest processing component. The first hypothesis suggests that a distinct skill domain, beyond single word processing, underlies efficient processing of word sequences (i.e., fluency). The second hypothesis distinguishes between alphanumeric and nonalphanumeric naming and sets the context for the study of word reading fluency development. The third hypothesis suggests that as long as articulation is faster than the preceding cognitive steps then the serial advantage is largely determined by the duration of the spoken words, but articulation goes on to become the rate-limiting factor as word recognition speeds up during reading development.

Serial word reading aligns increasingly with the serial naming factor at higher grades, suggesting that word reading fluency is gradually dominated by skill in simultaneously processing multiple successive items (“cascading”), beyond automatization of individual words. This explains why discrete word reading is decreasingly correlated with word reading fluency as reading skill increases and why serial digit naming (i.e., RAN) is such a strong concurrent and longitudinal predictor of word reading fluency.