Over the last 10-15 years, psycholinguistics has seen a fairly dramatic transformation in the study of spoken language processing, in large part due to the introduction of the so-called ‘visual world’ eye-tracking paradigm. In this paradigm, participants’ eye movements are recorded as they hear or produce language that is about a visually co-present referent world. The resulting eye movement record has been found to provide a moment-by-moment record of what individuals consider to be the possible referents of speech, allowing researchers to gain a better understanding of the cognitive and linguistic mechanisms that support language use. In this graduate-level course, you will review and discuss highlights of this literature, looking at studies of phonological processing, lexical processing, morphosyntactic/syntactic processing and semantic/pragmatic processing. In addition, you will gain hands-on experience in designing, running, and analyzing the results of visual-world experiments. By the end of the semester, students will be expected to have collected pilot data using this eye-tracking method. This project can be done individually or in small research teams.
Requirements: weekly readings; class discussion; and a term-paper.