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Child Language and Speech Studies Lab 

About Us

Long before children learn to tie their shoes or ride a bike, they master language. By the age of 2, children typically know hundreds of words, and are stringing together grammatically meaningful multi-word utterances. How do children master language so quickly and seemingly effortlessly, while adults often struggle for years to simply learn to order a meal in a new language? In Dr. Elizabeth Johnson’s Child Language and Speech Studies (CLASS) Lab at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), we examine the perceptual, cognitive, and social factors that contribute to children’s rapid mastery of human language. Our approach is inherently interdisciplinary, bringing together insights and methodologies from developmental psychology, various branches of linguistics, and the speech sciences. Importantly, much of our research is inspired by the linguistic diversity in the community surrounding UTM.

To learn more about specific projects in the CLASS lab, check out our Research and Media pages.
If you are a parent interested in having your child(ren) take part in our research, read more on our For Parents page.
If you are a student interested in joining our lab, learn more here.
Latest Lab News
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The CLASS lab is heading to Europe! We'll be presenting two talks at ViLA5 in Belgium. And Dr. Johnson will be celebrating her mentor Dr. Anne Cutler at the Canteen of Cutlery Workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen!

June 2023


The editor of JEP: HPP selected PhD candidate Madeleine Yu's paper "Who speaks kid? How experience with children does (and does not) shape the intelligibility of child speech" as an Editor's Choice selection. Congrats!

May 2023


Congratulations to Maripaz Gonzalez, Henna Lahib & Samira Khattab on winning 3rd place for their poster "The Development of the Other-Accent Effect in Talker Recognition" at the Psychology Undergraduate Research Day.

May 2023


Congratulations to Kaitlyn Harris and Simran Gujjar on winning first place at the UTMSU Undergraduate Research Symposium for their poster "Cartoons Against Linguistic Bias: Can Exposure to Foreign-Accented Heroes Influence Children's Social Judgements".

April 2023

Analysing data

The CLASS lab has new funding! Dr. Johnson has been awarded a 5-year NSERC grant to study speech development in infants, and a 2-year grant from UTM's Research Scholarly Activities Fund to help launch our new infant ERP lab!

April 2023


After three years, the CLASS Lab is finally re-opening to in-person testing! We can't wait to see our lab filled with families with infants and young children again!

March 2023

All News Posts
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