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Assignment 1: Experimental design essay (2500 words)

The focus of the experimental design essay will be on particular research
area in the Psycholinguistics literature and you will design a study aimed at
advancing knowledge in the chosen area. The assessment consists of an
essay reviewing relevant literature and introducing the student’s
experimental design.

This will be a hypothetical study. You can pick from one of the following
five options or get ideas from them to create an experimental design on one
of these Psycholinguistic topics.

You may refer to research articles, books, notes and any other written or
electronic resource. If you draw upon a source, it must be cited
appropriately and acknowledged in the references section. Evidence of
plagiarism or collaboration will be severely punished.
• Option 1: Emerging and changing languages
Senghas & Coppola (2001) describe the emergence of an aspect of grammar in
Nicaraguan Sign Language and the role that young children play in this
process. Write an essay about the role that young children play or may play for
the emergence of new languages as well as for language change. Base your
essay on the following research articles and at least three further scientific
articles of your choice.
Kam, C. L. H. & Newport, E. L. (2009). Getting it right by getting it wrong:
When learners change languages. Cognitive Psychology, 59, 30-66.
Senghas, A. & Coppola, M. (2001). Children Creating Language: How
Nicaraguan Sign Language Acquired a Spatial Grammar. Psychological
Science, 12(4), 323 – 328.
Senghas (2003). Intergenerational influence and ontogenetic development in the
emergence of spatial grammar in Nicaraguan Sign Language. Cognitive
Development, 18, 511-531
• Option 2: Prosody in spoken word recognition and learning
Shatzman & McQueen (2006) found that previous prosodic knowledge affects
the recognition of newly learned words. Discuss the role of prosody in spoken
word recognition and word learning. Focus on how listeners determine word
boundaries, e.g. distinguish between ham and hamster when they hear ham….
Base your essay on the following research articles and at least three further
scientific articles of your choice.
Salverda. A. P., Dahan, D., & McQueen J. M. (2003). The role of prosodic
boundaries in the resolution of lexical embedding in speech
comprehension. Cognition, 90(1), 51-89.
Salverda, A. P., Dahan, D., Tanenhaus, M. K., Crosswhite, K., Masharov, M.,
& McDonough, J. (2007). Effects of prosodically modulated subphonetic variation on lexical competition.
Cognition, 105, 466-476.
Shatzman, K. B. & McQueen, J. M. (2006). Prosodic Knowledge Affects the
Recognition of Newly Acquired Words. Psychological Science, 17(5), 372
– 377.
• Option 3: Good enough and race models of sentence processing
Swets et al. (2008) investigate whether people’s sentence-reading times and
question-response times are best explained in terms of good enough or race
models of sentence processing. Briefly describe the good enough and race
approaches to sentence processing. Then discuss evidence that supports and/or
does not support these two approaches. Base your essay on the following
research articles and at least three further scientific articles of your choice.
Christianson, K., Williams, C. C., Zacks, R. T., & Ferreira, F. (2006). Younger
and older adults’ “good-enough” interpretations of garden-path sentences.
Discourse Processes, 42(2), 205- 238.
Swets, B., Desmet, T., Clifton, C. Jr., & Ferreira, F. (2008).
Underspecification of syntactic ambiguities: Evidence from self-paced
reading. Memory & Cognition, 36(1), 201 – 216.
van Gompel, R. P. G., Pickering, M. J., Pearson, J., & Liversedge, S. P. (2005).
Evidence against competition during syntactic ambiguity resolution.
• Option 4: Learning words under referential uncertainty
Scott & Fisher (2012) found evidence that (some) children can use crosssituational consistency to learn verbs under referential uncertainty. That is,
children use statistical evidence in word learning. Discuss the role that
statistical learning plays in children’s word segmentation and word learning.
Base your essay on the following research articles and at least three further
scientific articles of your choice.
Johnson, E. K. & Jusczyk, P. W. (2001). Word segmentation by 8-montholds: When speech cues count more than statistics. Journal of
Memory and Language, 44, 548 – 567.
Scott, R. M. & Fisher, C. (2012). 2.5-Year-olds use cross-situational
consistency to learn verbs under referential uncertainty. Cognition, 122,
163 – 180.
Graf Estes, K. Evans, J. L., Alibali, M. W., Saffran, J. R. (2007). Can
infants map meaning to newly segmented words? Statistican
segmentation and word learning. Psychological Science, 18(3), 254 –
260.
• Option 5: Bilingualism and executive control
There is a big debate in the field of bilingualism and executive control skills
especially during the past decade. That is, bilingual children show an advantage
in executive functioning skills. Discuss the role that bilingualism plays in
executive control. Base your essay on the following research articles and at least
three further scientific articles of your choice.
Barac, R., Bialystok, E., Castro, D. C., & Sanchez, M. (2014). The
Cognitive Development of Young Dual Language Learners: A Critical
Review. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(4), 699-714.
Valian V. (2015). Bilingualism and cognition. Bilingualism: Language and
Cognition, 18, 3–24.
Paap, K. R., Johnson, H. A., & Sawi, O. (2015). Bilingual advantages in
executive functioning either do not exist or are restricted to very
specific and undetermined circumstances. Cortex, 69, 265–278.
Bialystok E. (2017). The bilingual adaptation: how minds accommodate
experience. Psychological Bulletin, 143, 233–62

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