Plain language statement

PROJECT TITLE: Individual Differences in Word Meaning.

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences

Responsible researcher: Dr Simon De Deyne ([email protected], Tel: +61 431019869
B-Sci (Degree with Honours) Jia Ke Email: [email protected]
B-Sci (Degree with Honours) Sophie Warner Email: [email protected]
Prof Andrew Perfors, Email: [email protected]


Thank you for your interest in participating in this research project. The following few pages will provide you with further information about the project, so that you can decide if you would like to take part in this research. Please take the time to read this information carefully. You may ask questions about anything you do not understand or wish to know more about. Your participation is voluntary. If you don’t wish to take part, you don’t have to. If you begin participating, you can also stop at any time without any adverse consequences.

What is this research about?

The goal of this study is to investigate the impact of individual differences among native English and non-native Mandarin speakers on word meanings through the use of a word association rating task. In addition, the study also aims to investigate if differences in word meaning are related to the familiarity of the word.

What will I be asked to do?

Should you agree to participate, you will be asked to answer some demographic questions and declare your English proficiency. You will then complete a task where you will be presented with a series of English words (cues) and asked to rate your familiarity of each cue word. You will then be shown cue words paired with feature words and will be asked to rate the level of association between the two words. Your feature ratings and familiarity ratings will comprise the data for this experiment. The estimated time commitment for this task is 90 minutes.

What are the possible benefits?

This experiment can help us better understand the scope of semantic diversity, specifically whether individual experiences significantly impact word meanings beyond a shared understanding. It will also help us explore the influence of familiarity in the formation of word meaning. You will receive a $30 gift voucher to compensate you for your time.

What are the possible risks?

Besides the time investment to participate in the study, there are minimal risks. The words presented will all be common and non-offensive English words.

What will happen to information about me?

We will protect your confidentiality to the fullest extent, subject to limits of the law. Your consent form will be kept separate from your data. The data will be identified by participant ID only and will not contain your name. Only the researchers involved in this study will be able to link your data to your name. Data from this study will be stored under password protection and made available only to the researchers listed at the top of the Plain Language Statement. The data will be stored in de-identified form at the University of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences archive indefinitely. Later on, the data may also be made available online to other researchers working in this area, stored indefinitely in the Open Science Foundation databank, again in de-identified form. In any publication of the information, privacy and confidentiality will be protected through the use of de-identified data.

Do I have to take part?

No. Participation is completely voluntary. You are able to withdraw at any time without any penalty except not receiving 1.5 REP credit. Your data will not be used in the experiment if you do not complete the task.

Will I hear about the results of this project?

The results of this research may be published in conference presentations and/or research papers which will be made available through the personal webpages of some of the researchers listed at the top of this Plain Language Statement.
You will be debriefed after the study to learn more about the project and may contact the researchers if you would like to know your results for the feature rating tasks and familiarity scores.

Where can I get further information?

If you would like more information about the project, please contact the researchers; Dr Simon De Deyne ([email protected]).

Who can I contact if I have any concerns about the project?

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Melbourne. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this research project, which you do not wish to discuss with the research team, you should contact the Manager, Human Research Ethics, Research Ethics and Integrity, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010. Tel: +61 3 8344 2073 or Email: [email protected]. All complaints will be treated confidentially. In any correspondence please provide the name of the research team or the name or ethics ID number (24280) of the research project.

Consent to participate in study

I consent to participate in this project, the details of which have been explained to me. I confirm that I have are read and acknowledge that:

  • I understand that my participation in this project is for research purposes only.
  • In this project I will be required to answer some demographic questions and complete a feature rating task and a rate my familiarity with a list of common words.
  • I acknowledge that the possible effects of participating in this research project have been explained to my satisfaction.
  • I understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw from this project anytime without explanation or prejudice and to withdraw any unprocessed data that I have provided.
  • My participation is voluntary: I am free to withdraw from this study anytime without explanation or prejudice and to withdraw any unprocessed data that I have provided.
  • I understand that the data from this research will be stored at the University of Melbourne in perpetuity, in an unidentified form. I understand that the data from this research may be indefinitely stored in the Open Science Foundation databank, in an unidentified form, for use in future research.
  • I have been informed that the confidentiality of the information I provide will be safeguarded; my data will be password protected and accessible only by the named researchers.

Click "Proceed" to voluntarily consent to the above and participate in this study.