Investigating Establishment of Common Ground Through Encoding Linguistic Expressions




Associate Professor of Psychology

Project Summary

The goal of my project in Delphine Dahan’s lab was to investigate what factors contribute to how people choose what words they use to refer to items in the world. To do this, I did a number of things. I helped to recruit participants, ran experiments, compiled data, organized and coded this data, analyzed the reliability of our coding procedure, and helped design the next experiment to be run in the lab. I was also able to learn how to use a program called R (as well as the associated program, R Studio) to clean up data and make it easier to analyze. I also was exposed to how useful this program can be for presenting data cleanly in graphs. In general, this experience taught me how to think critically about research questions involving language. Furthermore, it taught me how I can feasibly answer those questions while collaborating both with my PI and with other research assistants. This was really valuable to me as an experience on a team of like-minded researchers who are also seeking to learn more about this field and understand how to work with and present data. This project also impacted my educational experience as a whole by helping me to explore my interests and pick a direction for my future academic career and research career. It gave me experience in the field that will direct my decisions about what classes I’m interested in taking throughout the rest of my time at Penn that might involve language, psychology, or research as well as decisions about graduate school and further education to potentially pursue work in research in the future. This can even be applied to different fields of research that I’m interested in; my work in this lab broadly taught me more about how I operate as a researcher and how to conduct sound research. It has been a huge motivation for me to seek more opportunities to involve myself in the community of researchers at Penn.