Our Work

Find information about current research projects at the Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab. To participate, please contact us at dplab@ucalgary.ca.

What We Do

We are investigating how children acquire their first language and how this interacts with their cognitive development. Some of us are interested in the acquisition of sounds and sound patterns of language (phonology and phonetics), while others work in the acquisition of meaning (semantics and pragmatics). 

hanging out

For example, in a recent study, we asked children to play a picture-matching game. Children would see two pictures on their computers and would say to an adult (the experimenter) what they need to do with the pictures in order to complete a poster. Children’s productions were audio-recorded and later, we performed analysis of acoustic characteristics like duration, pitch, and loudness to infer what children know about the sound structure of complex words like “blueberry” or coloring book.” 

What Children Do In Our Studies

We use a variety of methods to conduct child-appropriate behavioral experiments that look like simple games that children usually find quite enjoyable. For example, children watch pictures or animations and have to answer questions about them or make judgments about statements made by cartoon characters. 

How do we do this?

In addition, we employ eye tracking, a technology that allows us to monitor a participant’s eye movements as they inspect pictures or videos. Eye movements give us insights into participants’ attention and processing and are often particularly helpful in linguistic experiments.