We conduct many studies with adults of all ages at the CCP and all volunteers receive compensation for their participation. Primarily, research is done with our university students for class credit; however, there are some paid studies that are open to the general public. Some studies require specific age groups or have other restrictions. If you are interested in participating in a study, please click here. To see an overview of our facilities and the kind of equipment we use in our experiments, please click here. There is a lot of ongoing research in the CCP and below we have highlighted a few of our recent studies.
GENDER ROLES & LANGUAGE PROCESSING
In this project people of different backgrounds rated the acceptability of different English sentences containing gender stereotypes, like the nouns “nurse,” “doctor,” and “florist. The results of this rating study indicate not only that reactions to gender stereotype violations (i.e., a male nurse vs. a female nurse) affect real-time language processing, but also that individual differences in certain personality measures mediate these effects quite noticeably. In other words, the allocation of cognitive and emotional resources for language comprehension appears to depend on an individual’s personality profile. The results show that individuals who are more adventurous and imaginative are more likely to accept language inputs that clash with common social views of gender roles. Additionally, the degree to which a clash in stereotype gender affects language processing seems to also depend on the typical gender of the stereotype itself. These results show that individuals who are more extraverted and thus more enthusiastic about social interactions are more likely to accept female gender stereotype violations as appropriate when compared to those possessing less extraverted traits. This suggests that certain gender roles are firmly cemented and hence have an important influence on social interactions.
LANGUAGE PROCESSING ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
Research in aging suggests that when we get older, many of our cognitive skills, including language comprehension and production, start showing signs of difficulty. Yet, we are far from understanding how language processing develops from childhood on and how/whether it changes with cognitive aging. Together with researchers from Brock University, we take psycholinguistics closer to where language processing normally happens – outside the lab – to look into how people in different age groups cope with ambiguity and complexity in lexicon and discourse.