The Visual World Paradigm at CANLab
CANLab has specialised in the Visual Word Paradigm (VWP), adapting it into the Hebrew language and developing it into a gauge measuring cognitive load associated with speech processing. The original VWP measures the time-course of discrimination between phonetically similar words (in English) by tracking involuntary real time eye-movements that demonstrate debate over time between words of competing phonology. By requiring participants to retain a set of digits for later recall (a memory preload) and adding additional adverse background noise while the target word is stated, the adapted VWP enables us to measure the cognitive load associated this discrimination task in a more ecological setting and its effect on individual performance.
Armed with tools that enable us to isolate factors of interest and recognising the possibility that working memory plays a role in speech processing, CANLab has ventured into several wide scope inquiries. Currently, we are investigating the extent to which individual differences in working memory capacity affect the time-course of speech processing. Simultaneously, we are examining differences between older and younger adults and whether this new gauge can serve as a reliable far-transfer measure of individual working memory as a cognitive ability used in the daily task of speech processing.