Language Learning Lab

What our research is about
We are interested in children's early word learning and early grammatical development.  Specifically, we acknowledge that children must begin by learning specific instances -- shoes, dogs -- and from those specific instances they somehow develop rule-like knowledge that can be extended to any noun.  For example, as a native English speaker for many years, you likely know that if I tell you there is one "wug", you know that two of them are "wugs".  We are interested in this question from the perspective of the child.  While a young child may know "shoes" and "dogs" in particular instances, when can they create "wugs" to refer to more than one "wug"?

In most of our studies, children play games or read stories that help us uncover how they think about the English grammar they are learning.  For example, they may look at picture books, play with a stuffed teddy bear and his basket of toys, or play with puzzles.  Each of these tasks is presented as a game and most children (and parents!) enjoy these games and are eager to participate.  However, if a child does not want to participate, they are free to leave at any time.

A trip to the Language Learning Lab
Once we have set up your appointment, an undergraduate research assistant from the lab will call you the night before to remind you about the day and time of the appointment.
When you arrive in the parking lot, the research assistant will greet you and issue you a parking permit.  The research assistant will then escort you and your child to the Language Learning Lab. 

Before starting the study, we will briefly play with your child to give him or her a chance to get comfortable in the lab environment.  At that time, we will give you a consent form to read and sign.  This gives you more information about our research question and the experimental procedure that will take place.  At this point, a research assistant may also ask you to fill out some forms containing questionnaires about your child's word learning background, including what words your child may say at home, which language(s) your child speaks at home, etc.

During the experiment you and your child will sit together as we play the games designed to elicit grammatical knowledge.  Afterwards, your child will receive a small gift, such as a book, as a token of our appreciation. 

If you have any questions regarding your visit, please let us know and we would be happy to answer your questions as we escort you back to your car.

We appreciate all the children (and parents!) that participate in our research studies! Please contact Dr. Jennifer Lanter (; 920-465-2490) if you have any questions about your child's participation in one of our studies.

If you'd like to participate
We are delighted you would like to learn more about the Language Learning Lab!  If your child is between 0-4 years old, please fill out a participation form and we will contact you shortly.

Click here to fill out the participation form

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