Seminar: "Words" by Prof. Ark Verma, IIT Kanpur
Words have been used as stimuli in experimental psychology to investigate a range of mental functions like perception, memory, attention, emotion etc. (Balota et al., 2007). Also, most psycholinguistic investigationsrely on words as their primary stimuli, for investigating the perception (for e.g. visual or auditory word recognition), comprehension (for e.g. lexical decision, etc.) production (for e.g. word naming, reading fluency,phonological awareness) and use (for e.g. metaphor comprehension, irony etc.) of language.However, before words can be considered as experimental stimuli they need to be constrained with variety of parameters for example: word frequency, length (orthographic, phonological & morphological), neighborhood sizes number of orthographic, phonological & semantic neighbors etc. Researchers need information about these variables in order to control for them or in some cases be able to manipulate them in their factorial designs. Most experimenters control for variables like frequency, familiarity, length, & neighborhood of words used. On the other hand, these variables have been widely recognized as significant predictors of word processing times & difficulties (Brysbaert and New, 2009). Here, we present Shabd: A Hindi Words Database, that contains information about psycholinguistic variables for Hindi. It is an interactive database for Hindi words, where in information about various psycholinguistic variables for Hindi is made readily available for download and use by researchers across India. Words in Shabd have been sourced from prominent Hindi newspapers & news websites, to form a corpus size of 1.4 billion words, having a dictionary size of 2.3 million words. Out of the corpus, we chose 96,122 words having more an occurrence of more than 100 times. Each of these 96k words were then further filtered by at least 3 participants, to exclude words from other languages as English, proper names of people, places etc., spelling mistakes and alternate spellings. The conservative filtering leaves us with 34000 words; although the entire list of 96,000 words can be made available on request.
About the speaker:
Dr. Ark Verma is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, with the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences and the Inter - Disciplinary Program for Cognitive Sciences at IIT Kanpur. He has passed his B.A. in Psychology and English Literature from University of Allahabad in 2007, and his M.A. in Cognitive Science from the Centre of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad in 2009. He went on to do his PhD in Psychology, from Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium at the Centre for Reading Research, UGent under the supervision of Prof. Marc Brysbaert in 2014. His research interests include, lateralisation of cognitive functions, visual word recognition, social cognition and bilingualism.