The LAVA Lab

Much of the research in our projects is based on experimental data and controlled data collection. In 2008 we established a language acquisition lab on campus, funded by CASTL and the Department of Language and Linguistics. Here we collect data from children and adults using a wide range of methods, including eye tracking, elicited production and other standard experimental paradigms. Over the years, a lot of the lab’s activity has moved out into the field, and most of our data collection today takes place in schools and kindergartens, or over the internet. The lab provides recorders and other hardware as well as help with experimental design and data analysis to students and staff that are associated with the LAVA group. The lab is currently managed by Björn Lundquist, with technical support from Tor-Willy Knudsen. Any questions concerning the use of the lab can be sent directly to bjorn.lundquist@uit.no. The lab is located on the 5th floor of house 4 in Terorifagbygget.

Below we will list some of our recent and current research, organised after the method used in the data collection. We link to slideshows and poster presentations; full articles can often be found on the researchers own web pages.

Eye tracking: In 2014 we purchased an eye tracker to the lab (funded by the HSL faculty), an SMI RED 500. The eye tracker is used mainly for studies using the Visual World Paradigm, but works fine for reading studeis as well. We have run several studies on children, teenagers and adults, both monolingual and bilingual, as well as potentially bi-dialectal speakers. Our research includes processing of grammatical gender in Norwegian dialect speakers and the processing of case in Russian-German bilingual children, and the processing of phonemic contrasts in monolingual adults.

Recordings of spontaneous speech, and building up child language corpora: We are mainly using the LENA system to record spontaneous speech in children, and we are currently recording several bi-lingual children, with language combinations such as English – Norwegian, Russian – Norwegian and Italian – Kroatian – Norwegian. The recordings will subsequently be transcribed and added to the CHILDES data base.

compsamemp

“The bird is hiding behind a….” Example of visual stimulus for one of our eye tracking experiments.

Internet based linguistic experiments and surveys: We use IbexFarm for running experiments over the internet. Recently, we have used this tool in several studies, including gender assignment in Norwegian nonce words, processing of grammatical gender in Norwegian, word order preferences in double object structures in Kroatian and Norwegian. This tool is also used extensively in Evelina Leivada’s project DIVA. We also use other tools, for example the UiT tool Nettskjema  in smaller and simpler experiments that do not require exact reactions times.

Language experiments run on laptops: We use the open source program OpenSesame for a number of different psycholinguistic paradigms, including self-paced reading, timed forced choice selection, artificial language learning and natural language elicitation. For some recent research, have a look at this this slideshow on self-paced reading and truth-value judgment, this presentation on artificial language learning or this presentation on elicited production.

 

The lab is also used by the Dyslexia Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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