Wesleyan Word Experience Project Preliminary Analysis

Shakeel Jessa
Shakeel Jessa

Hi my name is Shakeel Jessa and I am a Senior (’21) Psychology and Government double major from Vancouver, British Columbia. I am a member of the Men’s crew team and an administrative assistant at the Office of International Student Affairs. I am deeply interested in understanding the human mind and how the interactions of people change their experiences. To this end, I am passionate about behavioral and social psychology as they open pathways to understanding how we as humans interact with the world around us.

Abstract: The purpose of this poster is to analyze the correlation between the Wesleyan Word Experience Project’s age of acquisition and familiarity results from undergraduate students and the lexical decision data from the English Lexicon Project. This poster delves into multivariate analysis testing for the significance of these two predictor variables along with the baseline variables of length and word frequency. Using the lexical decision times, naming times, and accuracy as dependent variables. After conducting correlation and regression analysis we were able to replicate trends of previous literature indicating that the variables of age of acquisition and familiarity were significant predictors of lexical decision times. Based on our findings we posit the notion that as familiarity increases lexical decision times decrease, and as age of acquisition increases lexical decision times increase. The basic interpretation of these results is that being more familiar with a word or learning a word earlier in life increases recognition speed. The goal of the WWEP is to track the changes in these predictors over time, this analysis was conducted on data for the past two years, however the study will stretch much further into the future. With this in mind, the predictors of familiarity and AoA may change, due to the changing lexicons of people in the world.


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