Research Project


Behavioral Project:

    I am taking part in a project that has two parts within itself: a longitudinal part and a cross-sectional part. The longitudinal part is monthly visits over 12 months and the cross-sectional part takes different kids at four of the age groups found within the study (18 months, 22 months, 26 months and 30 months). We are looking at how children extend names in a novel name generalization task for both solids and non-solids. We also look at their vocabularies outside of the laboratory and other basic developmental tasks. To do this, we simply name a novel object with a novel name and then ask the children to find us others that have the same name. There are options that match on color, material and shape with the novel object within the set of options.

Modeling Project:

    There is an ongoing debate about whether bilingual speakers have multiple lexicons, or if they have a single lexicon that contains both languages. One way to look at this question is through the semantic networks of children learning one or two languages. Research has already been done in this lab with bilingual children who are learning English and Cantonese. It was found that the connectivity of their combined languages network was actually lower than either language’s network, supporting the idea of having two lexicons for the two languages.

     I will be working with semantic networks of the bilingual children studied above as well as vocabulary-size-matched monolingual English-speaking children. I look at a variety of graph theory measures of these networks and compare between the two groups of children. If there is a difference in connectivity, this lends further support to the idea that there are two lexicons, at least when children are learning the languages natively.

Since this is the project I worked on independently, this is what I wrote my final report on. You can find the report here.