Faculty of Arts

Nina Slater

Nina is a third-year English Language and Literature BA student. She used the eye-tracking lab in her first-year core module.

How have you used the eye-tracking lab in the School of English?

"It was in first-year, for the 'Studying Language' core module. As part of the coursework you had to be involved in some lab experiment research. You could choose which one you wanted to do and I did the eye-tracking one.

The research was to do with language processing – how long it takes your brain to look at certain words and how long you looked at each word for. The equipment tracked your eyes while you were reading a text.

Nina Slater with her arms out in a rustic street

There was another study, too, where you had to look at this screen and it came up with areas of the UK. You had to say if you thought they were real or not. It was investigating what features of names help us to identify them as being place-names.

It was weird doing it, as it felt so science-y but still English! I’d never experienced the psychology, or science-y, side of English before." 

Did learning about this more scientific side of English open up any new interests?

Definitely. With the more linguistic modules, there’s a lot of content you wouldn’t come across at A level. They opened my mind up to this new side of English that I didn’t realise existed.

"If someone had said to me at A level that English can be to do with tracking eyes, I would have been like ‘What?!’.”

Is this something you continued to have an interest in, throughout your degree?

“I am actually doing a language-based dissertation. It's a multimodal critical discourse analysis of two advertisements, looking at how portrayals of women in advertising have changed from the 20th century to the 21st and how pro-sex feminism has changed advertising as an indstry.

I chose to do a language-based dissertation, as I think advertising discourse especially sculpts our culture more than a lot of literature as we are exposed to it more frequently. I think analysing the discourse of systems we are influenced by every day (often without even knowing) is so important."

More about our eye-tracking facilities

Faculty of Arts

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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