Our Work

Find information about research at the Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab. To participate, please contact us at dplab@ucalgary.ca.

child ling

What we do

We investigate how children acquire their first language and how this interacts with their cognitive development. Some of us are interested in the acquisition of sounds and sound patterns of language (phonology and phonetics), while others work on the acquisition of meaning (semantics and pragmatics).


What children do in our studies

We use a variety of methods to conduct child-appropriate behavioral experiments that look like simple games that children usually find quite enjoyable. Typically, children watch pictures or animations and have to answer questions about them or make judgments about statements made by cartoon characters.


For example

In a recent study, we asked children to play a picture-matching game. Children would see two pictures on a computer and they would say to an adult (the experimenter) what they need to do with the pictures in order to complete a poster. For every pair, children got a sticker. Children’s productions were audio-recorded and later, we performed an analysis of the acoustic characteristics of their speech, like duration, pitch, and loudness, to infer what children know about the sound structure of complex words like “blueberry” or "colouring book.”