We are building a state of the art immersive Virtual Reality (VR) laboratory. Traditionally, psycholinguistic experiments have placed participants in an impoverished environment, where they interact with single words or sentences on a computer screen. Yet, language in the real world is more than words. Listeners rely on cues from their physical and social environments to make sense of what they hear. Speakers mobilize their bodies and physical objects in concert with their linguistic resources to communicate their thoughts. In the virtual realm, we can simulate some of this rich context, to study how language processing is shaped by our interactions with the physical and social world.
See news item on VR lab opening (January 10, 2010)