Kutas Cognitive Electrophysiology Lab







Walk Up:

University of California
San Diego
Main Campus
Cognitive Science Bldg
Room 105


Univ of Calif, San Diego
(addressee), Kutas Lab
Cognitive Science Dept
9500 Gilman Dr. # 0515
La Jolla CA 92093-0515

Requirements for participation in an English language-based experiment


It appears that the side of your brain that you use for language is related to handedness. Right handed people use their left sides and left-handed people can use the right or both sides. Since the computer averages everyone's data together, it's important that everyone be right-handed.

Native speaker of English

Your brain becomes optimized to process the language you learn in the first years of your life. The location of the processing centers for this language are regular across peoples' brains. Languages you learn after the age of 5-6 are processed by more general areas, and these areas differ from person to person. The areas used by your only language are easier to predict.
  1. Q: My parents spoke a foreign language at home when I was little, but I don't speak it now. Is this okay for particpating in the experiment?
    A: You are not eligible if you know the following things in the foreign language (These examples are in English, but it is their equivalents in the foreign language that we're really talking about.):
    • Inflections (eg "-ed" for English past tense )
    • Morphology (eg the difference between "he" and "him" )
    • Word order (eg "I gave it him," sounds bad to a native speaker)

  2. Q: I started learning a foreign language after 6 years of age, and I'm as fluent in it as English. Can I still participate?
    A: If you started before puberty, no.

Other considerations

  1. Sleepiness - If you are sleepy, your brain waves will be huge and will mess up the experiment. Please sleep a normal amount the night before coming in.
  2. Illness - If you have a cold, or are otherwise in physical discomfort, this will show up in your brain waves. Please schedule to come in when you're feeling better.
  3. Contact lenses - Some contact lense wearers find that they blink excessively during the experiment. If in doubt, wear your glasses.
  4. Hair - Please make sure your hair is clean, dry, and product-free. If you shower just before coming in, and your hair is still wet, blow-drying it in the lab will take extra time. If you are scheduled right before someone else, you may be asked to return at another time rather than making the next person wait.
  5. Jacket - It can get cold in the testing chamber, so it's best to bring along a jacket in case you do get cold. In addition, if you wear sandals you may wish to bring a pair of shoes.
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