Language Experiments

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Language Experiments

#1  Postby gameswithwords » Nov 27, 2012 2:47 pm

As a language researcher, one of my frustrations is that we don't have a lot of data. That's not quite true -- a lot of good research is done by using computers to parse text on the Internet. The problem is that's not great for studying what language *means*, because all you have is a bunch of words, not their meanings. But studying meaning is slow: you need to sit down and look at a lot of sentences and decide what they mean.

To put it another way: One of my main areas of research is pronouns. The meaning of a pronoun depends on context ("she" refers to somebody different depending on the sentence it is in). But much of the work in linguistics and psychology has focused on really just around one thousand sentence contexts out of the infinite number of possible contexts.

One of the ways I've been getting around this is by running experiments on the Internet. We get thousands of participants and so are able to test large numbers of sentences, contexts, words, etc. -- things we couldn't do in a traditional laboratory because there just aren't enough participants to go around. If you are interested in helping out, please visit http://gameswithwords.org. We design these experiments to be fun and short (most run around 5 minutes, except for the somewhat longer "Mind Reading Quotient", which is a set of tasks involving "reading between the lines" and figuring out what somebody is really trying to say). For some of the experiments, like "Mind Reading Quotient" and "Ignore That!", you can find out (some of) your results immediately at the end of the experiment. When the results of these experiments are published, they appear on the associated blog (http://gameswithwords.fieldofscience.com) and are sent out via a mailing list you can subscribe to at the site.

I think that some people at this forum will be interested. To the rest of you, I apologize for the blatant self-promotion.
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Re: Language Experiments

#2  Postby Mr.Samsa » Nov 28, 2012 4:02 am

Thanks for the links, gameswithwords, the experiments look interesting and I'll have to participate when I get some time later. Looking through your blog I noticed that you are responsible for one of my favourite blog posts on psychology - your "Is Psychology a Science?" article. Did you always go by gameswithwords or did it used to be Coglanglab? I remember recommending that article to a number of people over the years.

I was going to welcome you to the forum but I quickly checked your history and noticed that you signed up a year ago to criticise a comment of mine... :lol:
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Re: Language Experiments

#3  Postby Thommo » Nov 28, 2012 4:52 am

:coffee:
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Re: Language Experiments

#4  Postby Beatrice » Nov 28, 2012 5:02 am

Thank you for the link, I'm in the process of testing my mind-reading abilities! :grin:
Phew... for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself.....
"GOD" is an acronym which stands for "GOD Over Djinn".
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Re: Language Experiments

#5  Postby gameswithwords » Nov 28, 2012 6:04 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:Did you always go by gameswithwords or did it used to be Coglanglab? I remember recommending that article to a number of people over the years.


Wow! I wouldn't have expected anyone to remember that post. I guess you might have noticed that I have a recent follow-up to that old post: http://gameswithwords.fieldofscience.com/2012/11/is-psychology-science-redux.html

Yes, the site was named coglanglab.org for a while. We went through a re-branding a couple years back. I think we thought coglanglab.org sounded to clinical, particularly when compared to the more popular testmybrain.org. As it turns out, the rebranding had essentially no effect on the amount of traffic we get (which is respectable -- more than most, but far less that testmybrain.org, which limits some of the kinds of experiments we can do).
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Re: Language Experiments

#6  Postby Mr.Samsa » Nov 28, 2012 7:40 am

gameswithwords wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:Did you always go by gameswithwords or did it used to be Coglanglab? I remember recommending that article to a number of people over the years.


Wow! I wouldn't have expected anyone to remember that post. I guess you might have noticed that I have a recent follow-up to that old post: http://gameswithwords.fieldofscience.com/2012/11/is-psychology-science-redux.html


Yep I saw that too! I'll have to have a read through properly when I get time.

gameswithwords wrote:Yes, the site was named coglanglab.org for a while. We went through a re-branding a couple years back. I think we thought coglanglab.org sounded to clinical, particularly when compared to the more popular testmybrain.org. As it turns out, the rebranding had essentially no effect on the amount of traffic we get (which is respectable -- more than most, but far less that testmybrain.org, which limits some of the kinds of experiments we can do).


Fair enough - the rebranding sounds like a good idea as "coglanglab" is memorable but certainly doesn't roll off the tongue too well. I'll be sure to recommend your site whenever I can, hopefully I can add to your traffic.
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Re: Language Experiments

#7  Postby gameswithwords » Nov 28, 2012 2:20 pm

Thanks! Most of our traffic comes through word-of-moth!
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Re: Language Experiments

#8  Postby Doubtdispelled » Nov 28, 2012 2:33 pm

gameswithwords wrote:Thanks! Most of our traffic comes through word-of-moth!

:ask: You mean moths can speak?

*Sorry, couldn't resist....*
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