Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies
Welcome, parents!  

We are so happy you are considering a visit to the Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies!

Witnessing your child's language development is a truly amazing thing. One day they are producing seemingly random sounds, and then months later they are labeling things in their world! Not so long after that they are using words and phrases to express the fact that they are sleepy or hungry, that they want to visit a relative or take a trip to the park, that they notice similarities or differences in their experiences, or that some event took place in the past.

Much of the time, they are not saying things in a seemingly "adult-like" way, but their endearing deviations may not necessarily reflect their complete understanding of the language they are acquiring! In fact, we can gain a great deal of knowledge about the language acquisition process (and about language in general) by studying children's language production and their language comprehension. We are happy to learn from your child!

Why visit our lab?

We share with you a fascination with your child's language development, and are excited to learn more. Our work would not be possible without the generosity of parents, who have agreed to allow their children to participate in our studies. When your children participate in our child language studies, you provide us with the opportunity to learn more about specific aspects of the language acquisition process, and how language develops from childhood to adulthood.

You also benefit from visiting our lab! You are able to see firsthand the kind of tasks we have designed to assess children's linguistic knowledge at different ages. We always spend time talking with you about the purpose of our studies, and the range of research we do. Every parent or caregiver receives some compensation for travel to our site.

When you visit our lab, you can observe your child in a new setting, interacting with our research assistants in a controlled environment. Every child receives a small token of appreciation for participating. There are never any wrong answers in our studies! For us, it is important that your child feel comfortable and enjoy participating.

View our brochure.

What can you expect when you visit our lab?

Upon arrival, you will be greeted by one of our trained research assistants and escorted to our lab in the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science (also known as "the pink wing," since the walls are pink). The research assistant will provide you with a parking pass to use while you are participating in our study. We will walk you to the end of the hallway, past the restrooms on the left, and around the corner to the right to our lab.

One in our lab, you and your child will spend some time getting comfortable in the space and getting to know us. (Siblings are welcome!) We have a child-friendly waiting area with toys and books for children to enjoy while they meet us. During this play time, we will ask you to complete some paperwork, and will answer any questions you have about the study. Shortly afterwards, we will transition into the study in an adjacent room, which has an observation window. You are welcome to accompany your child into the room and sit quietly as your child participates, or observe from the window. Our studies last between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the study and your child's age. After the study is done, your child will receive a small token of appreciation, and you will receive some compensation for travel.

Please note that we are not necessarily interested in how specific children fare in our tasks, but in what we can learn about linguistic and cognitive development within an age group and across ages. To this end, the contribution of one child can be particularly enlightening, but that one child can help us to make general statements about word learning and sentence comprehension.

If you are interested in learning more about our studies, please see our yearly newsletters.

Where are we located?

Our lab is located on Rutgers Busch Campus. Our address is 152 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854. We are located in the Psychology Building addition. A big metal sculpture that looks like a double-ended funnel is in front of the building. The golf course is across the street.

Please refer to the directions page for more specific details about traveling to the lab.

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