Electrophysiological study of language processing
Research Study Details
Translating Words in Chinese and English
Researchers are looking for native Mandarin speakers who have learned English as a second language to participate in a study of bilingual language processing. The experiment takes place in 1 session and will take approximately 2 and a half hours. Participants will be paid $10 per hour. The study will translating words outloud from Chinese (Mandarin) to English and from English to Chinese, while the brain activity is recorded. For that, a special cap (similar to a swimming cap) will be placed on the participant's head and some electro-conductive gel will be used. After each session, participants will be given the option to wash their hair if they so choose. Participant will be asked to put on a special cap and some electro-conductive gel will be used to record brain activity. Participants will be asked to complete a series of tasks on a computer. The tasks will include presenting visual stimuli on a screen, naming pictures and words presented on a screen into a microphone, solving math equations while memorizing words, and performing a spatial attention task.
Procedures to be followed: You will be participating in a “brainwaves” study, where the experimenter will examine your naturally occurring brain activity while you perform simple tasks. The session will take place in a sound-attenuated chamber that is adequately ventilated. The chamber may be housed within another room.
- You will first be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your handedness and demographic characteristics.
- To prepare you for recording your brainwaves, electrodes will be placed on skin locations near each eye and behind each ear. (They will each be held in place by a small piece of surgical tape designed for this purpose.) Electrodes will also be placed on scalp locations using an elastic cap. The cap will either be held in place with a chin strap or an elastic strap with a Velcro fastener will be placed under your arms and the cap will be fastened to the strap. The cap and straps will be adjusted to a comfortable fit. A conductive gel will then be squirted into the electrode sites with a flat-tipped syringe. This is not the type of syringe used to give shots and will not break the skin. The flat end of a q-tip or the blunt syringe will be inserted into the electrodes and used to gently ensure that the gel makes a good connection between skin and electrode. This process will take 20-45 minutes, during which time you may relax and watch a DVD or read a book.
- After the electrodes are in place, you will be seated in a quiet room, which is insulated from outside noise, and the experimenter will give you instructions. You will be asked to watch visual events on a computer screen and respond to these events by pressing buttons or saying words aloud. You will be tape recorded so that we may review your responses later. More specific instructions will be given at the time of the task, and a practice run will be conducted before the experiment.
- During the experiment, the experimenter will be watching you on a closed-circuit video display to monitor eye-blinking and other muscular movements which might have an effect on the brainwaves recordings. This video will be observed “real-time” and is not recorded. The experimenter can hear anything you wish to communicate in case you have any questions during the course of the experiment.
- At the end of the session, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding your language learning experiences.
Discomforts and risks: The method being used to record your brainwaves is safe and non-invasive. The following discomforts may be associated with this type of research, but they are not common:
- The elastic electrode cap may produce some pressure on your forehead, much like a tight baseball cap. Your head will be measured to ensure that the proper cap size is used and you will be asked to indicate if the cap is too tight. Some participants also experience mild discomfort when the q-tip or syringe tip is used to make a connection between the skin and electrode with the gel. Most participants do not mind this procedure and many equate it to the feeling of being at a beauty parlor or barber shop. You should tell the experimenter at any time if you are experiencing discomfort; every effort will be made to make you comfortable.
- A small fraction of participants have skin allergies that make them sensitive to the electrode gel and/or skin cleanser used in this research. These allergies typically result in a mild redness that goes away on its own once the gel or cream is removed. The surgical tape used to hold the electrodes on your skin may also leave a temporary pink mark when removed, much like a Band-Aid.
- A small amount of gel may remain in your hair until you wash it, and when the gel dries it will harden (like hair gel). The gel washes out easily with shampoo and water.
Study Dates, Times and Location
Start Date: Apr 13, 2012 04:00 PM
Study Available by Appointment?: Yes
Location: 2L Thomas building (basement)
Approximate Participant Study Length: 90 Minutes
This study lasts approximately 2 and 1/2 hours. If you choose to wash your hair at our facilities, it may take up to 3 hours.
- Monday available times: 9-5
- Tuesday available times: 9-2, 2-5
- Wednesday available times:9-10, 12:30-5
- Thursday available times: 9-5
- Friday available times: 11:30-5
This study has been approved by a Penn State Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRB Approval Number 37036