Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies
Welcome, students!

There are two ways in which students play a central role in the research being done in our lab:
as a participant in one of our language studies, or as a Research Assistant.

Participate in a study

As a student, you have the opportunity to participate in one or more of our studies and in many cases, earn course credit for your participation (in the form of extra credit or fulfillment of an experimental requirement, depending on the course). Our studies usually last between 10 and 45 minutes on average, depending on the study. In our studies, we may ask you to view short videos or images on a computer screen, listen to sounds, read sentences, or perform a related task, and make some sort of judgment about what you saw or heard. Many of the participants in our experiments walk away from one of our studies saying that they learned more about research in linguistics and language in general by participating. If you are thinking about doing language research, participating in a study can be your first step.

Become a Research Assistant

Our lab has openings for undergraduate Research Assistants (RAs) every year. This is a great way to get involved in language research, and possibly in independent research where you can take ownership of a project. This type of experience is excellent preparation for students planning on applying to graduate school. Sophomores and juniors are especially encouraged to apply. Application to become an RA in the lab can be rather competitive.

RAs spend between 5 and 7 hours a week in the lab. Duties include stimulus design, participant recruitment, study running, data analysis, data management, organization of the lab, presentation preparation, writing funding proposals, and other research-related tasks. RAs involved in independent research may either work individually or in teams, depending on the project. At the end of the year, RAs present their work at the undergraduate research forum. Many RAs have also had the opportunity to present their work at scholarly workshops and conferences.

We strongly encourage prospective RAs to apply to our lab through the Aresty Research Center. Interviews for prospective RAs usually take place towards the end of the spring semester in April, within the timeframe provided by the Aresty program. RAs are occasionally taken on at the end of the fall semester before the beginning of the spring semester.

If you are considering doing an honors thesis with Dr. Syrett as part of your Capstone Requirement, you need to have at least one semester's experience working in the lab (before the spring semester of your junior year) before proposing your project. All RAs in the lab are encouraged to enroll in the Linguistics practicum (491), when it is offered.

If you think you might be interested in doing language research, please contact us at rutgers.language.studies (@) Please provide us with the following information in paragraph form:

  • your full name
  • your reason for interest in becoming an RA in the lab
  • how you heard about us
  • your year at Rutgers
  • your major(s) and minor(s)
  • your GPA
  • any relevant experience and coursework
  • whether or not you have applied through the Aresty program or are planning to do so

Please remember that this email is most likely your first point of contact with us. Short, informal emails run the risk of leaving an unfavorable first impression and in some cases, may not even be answered.

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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