Language processing lab facilities

Eye-Movement Lab

The Eye-Movement Lab houses three top of the range eye-tracking systems: two S-R Research Eyelink 1000 (with both tower and remote set-ups) and one Eyelink II head-mounted system.  The Eyelink II is positioned in a sound-attenuated booth, making it an ideal set-up to investigate language production. One of the Eyelink 1000 systems is portable and can be used for field studies. Both Eyelink 1000 systems can be used for the investigation of language processing in children, adolescents, and adults, both in normal and patient populations.

The eye-tracking systems support a wide range of research. These include:

  • lower-level text processing in adults (e.g., predictability and probability of upcoming linguistic material; Steven Frisson)
  • higher-level text processing in adults (e.g., figurative language; Steven Frisson)
  • orthographic and phonological neighbourhood effects during normal silent reading and reading aloud, both with skilled and less-skilled readers (Steven Frisson and Linda Wheeldon)
  • silent reading processes in individuals who stammer (Steven Frisson and Chloé Corcoran)
  • linguistic processing in deaf individuals (Andrew Olson)
  • compound interpretation by children using the visual world paradigm (Andrea Krott)

Gesture Lab

This lab is for making video recordings of gestures and other non-verbal behaviour.  The space is big enough for recording interaction among up to three participants. There is a PC for tasks in which stimuli are presented by a computer. The computer can run ePrime or Presentation.  It is possible to make two synchronised (gen-locked) video recordings. The video processing computers (Macintoshes)  can convert videos into various codex (with Sorensen Squeeze) and edit videos (with Final Cut Express).

Infant Habituation Lab

This lab is a part of the Infant and Child Laboratory. It is used to collect data using habituation or preferential looking methods, currently used to investigate infant language development. A 30 inch LCD screen and speakers are located in a sound attenuation booth (244 feet by 182 feet).  The stimuli are delivered by a Macintosh computer located outside the booth, using Habit software. The infant's looking behaviours are recorded in a DV video recorder. An intercom system allows the experimenter sitting outside the booth to communicate with the parent inside the booth. 

Neuropsychology of Language Lab

The neuropsychology laboratory includes standard and specialised materials for assessing language functions and deficits (PALPA, Boston Naming Test, BPVS, Raven’s progressive matricies, JHU dysgraphia battery, Western Aphasia Battery, NFER-Nelson and others).  We have high resolution digital recorders and professional quality microphones for recording speech waveforms and speech response times.  There is an Eyelink 1000 eye-tracker for registering eye-movements during language and attentional tasks. We have facilities for computer-based and table-top assessment of neuropsychological disorders and we apply formal statistical models to patient data for theory testing.  We have active collaborations with the Max Planck Institue for Psycholinguistics, the Department of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Aston University and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital in addition to collaborations with other members of the language group here at Birmingham.

Speech Lab

The psycholinguistic group has a number of sound attenuating booths and sophisticated speech recording equipment to enable the collection and analysis of speech output data. The booths are equipped to run a variety of reaction time methodologies and allow the relationships between abstract speech planning processes and articulated output to be investigated.