Yanina Prys­tau­ka
October 2023

What did you do using Gorilla and what did you find?

I used Gorilla for my postdoc project. I took advan­tage of the webcam-based eye track­ing func­tion­al­i­ty that Gorilla affords.

We asked whether webcam-based eye track­ing pro­vides the nec­es­sary gran­u­lar­i­ty to repli­cate effects, both large and small, that tracker-based eye track­ing has shown. Using the Gorilla Experiment Builder plat­form and the Visual World Par­a­digm, we repli­cat­ed two psy­cholin­guis­tic effects: a robust one, the verb seman­tic con­straint effect, first report­ed in Altmann and Kamide (1999) and a smaller one, the lexical inter­fer­ence effect, first exam­ined by Kukona et al. (2014). We were able to repli­cate both effects, thus showing that the func­tion­al­i­ty of webcam-based eye track­ing is not limited to large effects. We fin­ished our inves­ti­ga­tion with a dis­cus­sion of sta­tis­ti­cal power nec­es­sary for online eye track­ing studies.

You can read the pub­lished study here: https://rdcu.be/dj6Xc.

And find the mate­ri­als on OSF here: https://osf.io/6r3j7/?view_only=8204e89a5eda4be2817c8fad137d3878.

What was your study protocol?

We used an eye track­ing Visual World Par­a­digm task wherein par­tic­i­pants lis­tened to audi­to­ry sen­tences while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly viewing a scene con­tain­ing four pic­tures and choos­ing a picture men­tioned in the sen­tence. Addi­tion­al­ly, we admin­is­tered a Flanker task, a vocab­u­lary knowl­edge task (where par­tic­i­pants were required to indi­cate the picture whose name they heard through head­phones), and a gram­mat­i­cal gender knowl­edge task in which they had to choose the correct audi­to­ry descrip­tion for a given picture.


How did Gorilla make your life or research better, easier or faster?

It allowed me to collect data from about 300 par­tic­i­pants includ­ing a hard-to-get pop­u­la­tion of her­itage speak­ers scat­tered around the US and Canada without spend­ing months and thou­sands of dollars trav­el­ing for data collection.


What real-world problem do you see that your research could impact?

The current project I’m involved in inves­ti­gates the impact of phys­i­cal exer­cise on lan­guage pro­duc­tion in aging indi­vid­u­als. Addi­tion­al­ly, I’m closely col­lab­o­rat­ing with another group that is study­ing the effects of bilin­gual­ism and mul­ti­lin­gual­ism on cog­ni­tive func­tion in older adults. I find great poten­tial in this line of research, where we explore how common and afford­able activ­i­ties such as learn­ing mul­ti­ple lan­guages and engag­ing in phys­i­cal activ­i­ty can have a pos­i­tive influ­ence on our aging brains and various cog­ni­tive func­tions, includ­ing language.


How do you think online research is going to change your field?

We believe that the advent of webcam-based eye track­ing, at least in respect of the visual world par­a­digm, will kick­start a new wave of more diverse and inclu­sive psy­cholin­guis­tic studies. Unlike tra­di­tion­al lab-based eye track­ing, where a researcher needs to be present, webcams allow us to involve a wider range of people (includ­ing un(der)represented pop­u­la­tions) in more diverse loca­tions. This means we can study dif­fer­ent groups and lan­guages more easily, and it’s con­ve­nient for par­tic­i­pants to choose when to take part.

Addi­tion­al­ly, using webcams is cheaper and doesn’t require fancy equip­ment or labs. This makes it pos­si­ble for more researchers, even those without a lot of resources, to do this kind of research. Also, by making it easier and cheaper to collect data, we can increase our sample sizes which in turn will help fixing the issue of sta­tis­ti­cal power in our field.


For you, what is the stand-out feature in Gorilla?

You can open the tool for the first time and build a simple experiment already the same day. And if you do get stuck, you can contact Gorilla Support who are very effi­cient in answer­ing any questions.


What advice would you give to someone start­ing out in behav­iour­al science?

Start with an online tool, seri­ous­ly! You can collect a lot of data in a short amount of time and get a head start in your aca­d­e­m­ic career. Also, learn programming!


Are there any online courses, pod­casts, dis­cus­sion groups or resources that you’d rec­om­mend to others?

If you are inter­est­ed in all things related to bilin­gual­ism, I would like to rec­om­mend this fun podcast we’ve been working on in our lab: HeLPiNG Ques­tions.


What’s your favourite science meme?

When I was a PhD student I was really into the Lego Grad Student memes: https://www.instagram.com/legogradstudent/ A lot of them apply to post docs too (and I imagine acad­e­mia in general).


When you’re not working what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, fishing (lots of oppor­tu­ni­ties for these activ­i­ties in North­ern Norway!), playing padel and chat­ting with my friends.

Yanina Prys­tau­ka
Picture showing a test glass Psychology of Language
Picture showing an university graduates hat Post Doc
Picture showing a School University of Agder, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Photo of Yanina

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