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Neuroscience of Language Lab
at New York University

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What does participation entail?

Our studies take place in Building A2, room 008, on NYUAD's Saadiyat campus. Most experiments involve listening to or reading words or sentences, or speaking out loud, while your brain activity is recorded using MEG.

MEG (short for magnetoencephalography) is a non-invasive means of measuring brain activity in real-time. What it measures is tiny magnetic fields that are produced by activity in your brain. Because these magnetic fields are so small compared to external noise (such as lights and air conditioners), when doing the experiment you sit inside a large magnetically-shielded booth. MEG is safe and non-invasive: that means it does not send any signals into you, it only passively records signals that are coming from you. There are no known risks associated with undergoing MEG recording.

Participating in a study usually involves the following steps. When you first arrive, you fill out forms about language background and demographic information. Next, we use a non-invasive laser scanner to make a 3D digital model of the shape of your head (our software later uses this to help figure out what magnetic activity was actually coming from your brain, as opposed to outside your head). Then several small markers will be attached to your forehead with tape; the machine uses these to keep track of where your head is while you are in the MEG booth. Then you will lie down inside the MEG booth to do some language-related task (such as reading words or sentences) while your brain activity is recorded. You may also perform some non-linguistic baseline tasks, such as listening to tones or seeing checkerboard patterns while you are in the MEG.

Am I eligible?

The following criteria apply to most or all of the experiments our lab conducts:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • You must have good enough vision to read a computer screen about 80-100cm away without wearing glasses (soft contacts are ok).
  • You must not be colorblind.
  • You must be right-handed.
  • You cannot have any non-removable metal in your body (such as fillings, dental wiring, braces, etc.). Having metal inside the MEG booth does not pose any danger to you, but it interferes with the signals that the MEG is recording.
  • You cannot have any linguistic or cognitive impairment, or history of neurological disorders (such as epilepsy), brain injury, or brain surgery.

How can I sign up?

To find out about studies open for participation, you can e-mail the lab at meglab-nyuad-group@nyu.edu. Any information you can include about your language background (your native language, where you are from, and other languages you have studied) will help the experimenters determine whether there are studies that you will be eligible for.