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Research Opportunities for UIUC Undergraduates

We always welcome applications for new undergraduate assistants in the Language Acquisition Lab for the Fall and Spring semesters and Summer Session II. Getting involved in research is great preparation for students interested in attending graduate school.

We are now taking applications for Summer Session II and Fall 2021! We hope you'll apply. We plan to interview applicants in late April, and then aim to have the Summer and Fall lab schedules set up by soon after classes end this Spring.

We do experiments on word learning and sentence processing in toddlers, preschoolers, and adults. Students can learn about and participate in many aspects of this research, including any of the following:

  • helping to design materials for experiments
  • testing toddlers, preschoolers, and adults in experiments
  • transcription and coding of children's speech
  • coding visual fixations from video recordings
  • learning to use an automatic eye-tracker

Everything is a little different in 2021, and that includes us. We have responded to covid-19 by moving much of our experimental work online! We do this by scheduled Zoom appointments with parents and children, and this summer we hope to also start using a platform that allows us to post our experiments online so people can participate anytime they like. (Look here for some examples!)

We seek responsible, highly motivated students with an interest in language and children to assist with these new online research projects. Previous experience with children, and prior coursework in cognitive psychology, speech & hearing, or linguistics are very helpful. New students in the lab sign up for 3 credit hours of PSYC 290, and work 3 3-hour lab shifts; experienced students continuing in the lab may sign up for 2 credit hours, and work 2 3-hour shifts. Note that the weekly time commitments are different for the 8-week Summer Session II (see the application form linked below for more information).

If you are interested in language and in children, and have room in your schedule for a Psych 290, we hope you'll apply! Please fill out an application HERE. If you have questions about the application or our lab you can contact us at