Individual Differences in Reading
What factors make a good reader? What skills affect how someone processes text? How do properties of a specific written language influence reading proficiency? This research area considers both personal, text, and language characteristics to answer questions such as these. The use of eye-tracking technology enables the detailed study of where readers look when reading, and for how long they focus on these locations. This information can be linked to reader-level characteristics such as vocabulary size, experience with text, cognitive skills and more, in order to investigate which characteristics differentiate highly and less skilled readers. Cross-linguistic differences in reading behaviour are examined as well to establish what is universal and what is specific in the perception and processing of written texts.
Kuperman, V. & Van Dyke, J. A.
Kuperman, V., Matsuki, K., & Van Dyke, J. A.
Interaction of Language and Emotion
How does emotion influence reading comprehension? Specifically, how do the semantic properties of valence and arousal of a text influence recognition and learning of words? Valence describes how negative or positive a stimulus is while arousal describes how calming or exciting it is. These two properties can be studied using large corpora and norming studies by quantifying the semantics of contexts, and experimentally by embedding novel words into contexts that vary in valence.
Snefjella, B. & Kuperman, V.
Kuperman, V., Estes, Z., Brysbaert, M., & Warriner, A.B.
Maslej, M. M., Mar, R. A., & Kuperman, V.
Morphological Complexity, Semantics, and Reading
Morphologically complex words such as airborne, vaccination and lockdown make up more than 60% of the words that are encountered every day by a typical reader. Our work on this topic attempts to understand the mental processes that take place when you read these words. Our projects have largely focused on the way in which the meanings of complex words are processed during reading. For example, does it matter that the meaning of hogwash bears little resemblance to the meanings of hog and wash? How much of the ability to process morphologically complex words depends on your previous language experience? How fast does it take for the mind to process the meaning of complex words during naturalistic reading? Our past work has addressed these questions using a variety of experimental tasks and methods, including eye-tracking during reading, visual and auditory lexical decision, and through data collected via online surveys. Scientific output includes a number of independent studies including the publication of CompLex, an open-access database of eye-movement data of English compound word reading.
Schmidtke, D., Van Dyke, J. A., & Kuperman, V.
Schmidtke, D., Van Dyke, J. A., & Kuperman, V.
Bertram, R. & Kuperman, V.
Each of us learns thousands of words in our lifetime, often in multiple languages. How this learning happens and what linguistic and psychological factors boost or impede this process is one of the questions the Reading Lab pursues. We study how emotional and sensorimotor characteristics of novel words and the contexts in which they occur influence orthographic and semantic learning of those novel words. We investigate the role of spelling errors to determine how they impede orthographic learning across languages. We also study the role of morphological structure in how orthographic representations are formed. Empirical data from experimental and corpus studies is coupled with computational modeling of learning processes.
Kuperman, V., Bar-On, A., Bertram, R., Boshra, R., Deutsch, A., Kyröläinen, A.-J., Mathipolou, V., Oralova, G., & Protopapas, A.
Snefjella, B., Lana, N., & Kuperman, V.
Rahmanian, S. & Kuperman, V.
Language and Aging
Cognitive and social well-being of older adults is a multi-faceted concept that is reflected in patterns of language use and language processing. A common threat to this well-being comes from perceived loneliness and social isolation, a stigmatized condition that is both harmful and under-reported, especially in the aging population. Our psycholinguistic research on older adults (65+) uses a combination of experimental methods, cross-sectional and longitudinal questionnaires/surveys, and computational analyses of social media and elicited written texts. We are interested in both the causes of feelings of loneliness and social isolation and their effects on the emotional and cognitive facets of aging. This research is coupled with community outreach and partnerships with organizations who provide care and socio-cultural support to older adults.
Kyröläinen, A.-J., Luke, J., Libben, G. & Kuperman, V.
Kyröläinen, A.-J., Keuleers, E., Mandera, P., Brysbaert, M., & Kuperman, V.
Kyröläinen, A.-J., & Kuperman, V.