Information about Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Language Research Lab from Dr. Gary Raney:
I am looking for students who are interested in gaining research experience related to how people process language. My graduate students and I study issues such as the following: (a) How is figurative language comprehended? For example, how do you comprehend familiar metaphors, such as “my lawyer is a shark,” and unfamiliar metaphors, such as “life is a pencil?” (b) Does your language background influences how you comprehend language? For example, if you are asked to figure out the meaning of the idiom “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” will a native English speaker come up with the same meaning as a native Spanish speaker or a native Hindi speaker? (c) Do the left and right hemispheres of the brain process language in the same way? And (d), do Spanish spe akers from the United States process language in the same way as Spanish speakers from South America?
You can be involved in all stages of the research process, including conducting experiments, coding data, data analysis, and literature searches. You need to be available at least 6 hours per week (daytime hours) and you may participate for credit (e.g., for your Honors activity). You also need to be available Wednesday evenings (5:00-7:00 pm) for lab meetings. We need people who are native Spanish speakers to help with several projects, but we have many projects with no language requirements. For example, we need students who are creative writers to help us write material for use in our experiments. You do not need to be a Psychology major, but you must be interested in how people comprehend language.
Working in a research lab is a great way to gain experience and skills th at enhance your opportunity to attend graduate school and possibly develop a capstone project. Recent and current capstone projects explored topics such as whether being bilingual influences insight problem solving, how the left and right hemispheres of the brain contribute to processing metaphors, and whether gender stereotypes influence how you process language.
If you are interested in working in the Language Research Lab, please contact Dr. Raney via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the research is available on the lab web site (https://uiclanguagelab.wixsite.com/uiclanguagelab).
You can download an application from the website (see Research Opportunities page) or submit an application via the UIC Undergraduate Research Experience web site (https://ure.uic.edu/).