General research program

Check out our TEDx Talk about the lab’s research!

Research in the Gibson Lab (“TedLab”) is aimed at investigating (1) why human languages look the way they do; (2) the relationship between culture and cognition, including language; and, most generally, (3) how people learn, represent and process language.

We use a variety of methods, including behavioral experiments (e.g., reading and listening studies, many simple methods in working with remote populations, dual-task experiments, individual differences studies), statistical modeling and corpus analyses. In collaboration with other labs we also use functional MRI, event-related potentials (ERPs) and eye-tracking.

The major lines of research pursued in the lab:

  1. Information processing and cross-linguistic universals

  2. The relationship between culture and cognition / language

  3. Language processing

    1. What are the informational constraints that affect language processing? The informational constraints we have investigated include:
      • Syntactic information
      • Lexical information
      • Plausibility (world knowledge) information
      • Prosodic information
      • Pragmatic inference
      • Discourse coherence information
      • Information structure
    2. Resource constraints (the working memory system underlying language processing)
      • What is the nature of the resource constraints in language processing and what is the best way of quantifying them?
      • To what extent is the working memory system underlying language processing domain-specific? The language constraints?
    3. Methodological questions about this research
      • The value of doing quantitative research in syntax and semantics
      • Meta-analysis in syntactic priming research