Tilburg center for Cognition and Communication (TiCC)

We study how people communicate with each other and how computer systems can be taught to communicate with us.

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Research Laboratories

This page provides information about the research facilities of the School of Humanities (TSH). Here you will find information about rooms and equipment of three research laboraties, supported research techniques, and guidelines for hardware and software usage. The labs are managed separately. 

DCI-lab

About

The laboratory was established in 2002 and is used by the school at large but mainly by the Department of Communication and Information Sciences (DCI). It is located in the Dante building in rooms D413 and D414. The facilities are available during university working hours (07:30 - 22:30 hrs). Please contact dcilab@tilburguniversity.edu to make a reservation for either a room or a sound proof booth (see the reservation system for the schedule).

Research systems in soundbooths and instructions on the new lab

The laboratory equipment is suitable for a range of individual and group experiments on topics such as language comprehension and production, usability, learning, online collaboration, audio-visual prosody, gestures, and user interface design.

The laboratory rooms are equiped with new computers, a stationary usability lab, a portable usability lab (both from Noldus), two stationary and one portable eyetracker (SMI RED250) and two eye catcher systems (Ex'ovision). Furthermore, the rooms accommodate five sound-proof booths (Esmono Sound). Finally, the computers are running software packages like E-Prime (pstnet), The Observer (Noldus), and Camtasia Studio (TechSmith).

The laboratory has a small computer network, connected to the campus IT infrastructure. The software that is installed on the computers in the lab includes: Camtasia, Praat, Audacity, Proxy+, Fixation, The Observer, BeGaze, E-Prime, wwstim, Adobe Premiere, and more.

Use

The keys to the lab rooms can be obtained at the secretary's office (room D422). Please do not leave the rooms unattended andalways lock the rooms when leaving. When finished, please switch off the computers and monitors, open the window shutters, put the chairs back in their original position, and turn off the lights.

When a participant is in session, please shut the door and turn on the red light in the corridor. Otherwise, please leave the door ajar as a sign for others that it safe to enter the room.

Lab users are responsible for their own data. They are well-advised to make frequent copies of acquired data on their own backup media, such as memory sticks, cd's, or dvd's.

Hardware needs to remain in its original place. Staff and students are not allowed to (re)move equipment, disconnect cables, or install new hardware without explicit permission of the laboratory management. The following equipment may be used outside of the lab:

  • Portable Usability Lab
  • Portable eyetracker
  • Digital camera (with tripod)
  • Laptop

It is not allowed to (un)install software on any lab computer without explicit consent of the laboratory management. The software installed includes:

Qualtrics accounts for TSH staff and TSH students

The Tilburg School of Humanities has come to an agreement with Qualtrics for a licence permitting all of its staff and students to create a Qualtrics account and hold it for as long as they are employed /registered as student at TSH.

Find out how to create your own TSH Qualtrics account (pdf-file).

DCI-lab user testimonials

Eva van den Bemd

Eva van den Bemd

I ran language learning experiments (abstract and slides) in the lab, using E-Prime. Participants watch animations on the screen while listening to sentences (in an artifical language) describing what is happening in the animations. I investigate whether the participants are able to learn language in this setting, and how different factors influence the learnability of the artificial language. The soundproof booths are very convenient for this type of study in which the participants have to be focused on the task. Moreover, I have used the eye tracking equipment in the booths to collect eye movement patterns of the participants, which offers an interesting new type of data.

Lieke van Maastricht

Lieke van Maastricht

I mainly use the lab for the collection of speech data. I use the soundproof cubicles to elicit and record speech for my research on intonation production by native speakers and second languages learners.* Recently, I ran a perception experiment in the lab, using E-prime. I have also been there for data analysis, since SPSS and Praat run much faster on the iMac and the large screen facilitates precise speech data analysis (for instance when you use Praat to inspect pitch tracks).

* Van Maastricht, L., Krahmer, E. & M. Swerts. 'Acquiring native-like intonation in Dutch and Spanish: comparing the L1 and L2 of native speakers and second language learners', at Phonetics, phonology and languages in contact 13, Paris, France, 21- 23 August 2013.

Ruud Mattheij

Ruud Mattheij

I employ a number of recording devices from the lab, varying from simple digital cameras to the more advanced Eye-Catcher. I use the Eye-Catcher to achieve high quality recordings of participants' frontal faces, to capture their emotional responses during experiments. With the cameras, I created the multimodal TiGeR Cub database, which focuses on human participants interacting with each other. This database contains video fragments (recorded with a HD camera) and depth information (recorded with a Kinect) of the same situations of people engaged in social interactions, which makes it valuable for both cognitive scientists and artificial intelligence researchers.

Phoebe Mui

Phoebe Mui

My research is concerned with nonverbal behaviour; I mostly use the lab to conduct elicitation tasks and perception tests.* In the past, I have used the webcams, which made it easy to record participants in elicitation tasks. I have chosen to conduct perception tests in the lab, as it allowed me to collect data from multiple participants in parallel. Also, the individual cubicles are ideal for ensuring that participants are not distracted from their task.

* An example of one of the language production experiments: Mui, H.C., Goudbeek, M.B., Swerts, M.G.J., & Wijst, P.J. van der (2013). 'Culture and nonverbal cues: How does power distance influence facial expressions in game contexts?' In S. Ouni, F. Berthomier, & A. Jesse (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th international conference on auditory-visual speech processing (pp. 21-26). Annecy, France: Inria.

Karin van Nispen

Karin van Nispen

My research focuses on the use of gestures in communication. For collecting my data, I use the  cameras from the lab. For annotating the data I use Elan. In one of my experiments I had participants evaluate video fragments of healthy and aphasic people trying to communicate just using gestures and no speech. The sound proof sound proof booths are very well suited for such tasks as they limit distraction.

Tim Swinkels

Tim Swinkels

For my master thesis, I have conducted research into primacy effects in questionnaires. Primacy effects occur when respondents are disproportionally more likely to choose an earlier presented answer from a given list of response options. In addition to testing if the primacy effects occur in web questionnaires, I also studied how such effects come into existence.  For this study I conducted an experiment with the SMI RED 250 eye-tracker. The SMI RED 250 eye-tracker in the research laboratory is perfect for this kind of experiment, as it allows for measuring eye movements in a relatively unobtrusive manner. The eye movement data is recorded using the software BeGaze. Although this program has built-in functions to show the fixations, I used Fixation to analyze the eye movements. Fixation gives more exact information on the position of the fixations on the screen, the time of the fixation and in which order the fixations are made. Without the facilities of the research lab and the support of the people behind the lab, I would not have been able to conduct this technical challenging experiment.

Jorrig Vogels

Jorrig Vogels

During my PhD research, I conducted several language production experiments.* Most of these were conducted either in the lab or using lab facilities. For a number of experiments I used the E-Prime 2.0 software program to present stimuli, and the response boxes in combination with a microphone to make recordings of participants’ responses. Some of these experiments were run in one of the soundproof booths, but for others it was necessary that participants were tested in a face-to-face dialogue situation, for which these booths are not suited. Using Eye-Catchers partly solved this problem, but I mostly resorted to using a larger room, having participants work on one of the lab’s laptops. For one study that had to be done ‘in the field’, I used the WW-Stim script, which is a tool for creating experiments that can be run anywhere via the lab’s web server.

* Vogels, J., Krahmer, E.J. & Maes, A. (2013). Who is where referred to how, and why?: The influence of visual saliency on referent accessibility in spoken language production. Language and cognitive processes, 28(9), 1323-1349.

Partrick Vonk

Patrick Vonk

For my Master's Thesis I am investigating whether emotions influence speech production. The lab is the ideal place to conduct my experiments, because the soundproof booths provide participants with a virtually noise-free environment. This allows for maximum concentration and high quality speech recordings. Additionally, the lab has several laptops at its disposal that enable me to conduct technically demanding experiments with OpenSesame something that has proved challenging with other computers.

Hans Westerbeek

Hans Westerbeek

My research project comprises of a number of experiments in which I collect response times and record speech.* For both activities I use the the lab's  soundproof cubicles, high quality head-mounted microphones, and computers running E-Prime. Consequently response times are less susceptible for disturbing variables such as distraction and noise. Sound recordings are of a much higher quality than when I would use for example table-top microphones in noisy office rooms. This means that I virtually never have to discard recordings because they are unintelligible. And about E-Prime: that is essential for my type of research.

* An example of one of the language production experiments: Westerbeek, H.G.W., Koolen, R.M.F. & Maes, A. (2013). 'Color typicality and content planning in definite reference.' In Proceedings of the CogSci workshop on the Production of Referring Expressions: Bridging the gap between cognitive and computational approaches to reference (PRE-CogSci 2013), 31 July 2013, Berlin, Germany.

Emmelyn Croes

Emmelyn Croes

I have used the lab and its equipment for different experiments. For one of my experiments (for details, please refer to:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215301680) I used the lab's Eyecatchers. These are devices for videoconferencing that have a camera located behind the screen making eye contact possible during interaction, which is not possible for instance when using webcams. I used the Eyecatchers for get-acquainted experiments, where two strangers meet and get to know each other in a short conversation. I compared face-to-face to conversations via the Eyecatcher on a number of different measures. As using Eyecatchers provide one of the richest types of computer-mediated communication, they are very convenient for studies comparing computer-mediated communication to face-to-face communication.


Qualtrics accounts for TSH staff and TSH students

The Tilburg School of Humanities has come to an agreement with Qualtrics for a licence permitting all of its staff and students to create a Qualtrics account and hold it for as long as they are employed /registered as student at TSH.

Find out how to create your own TSH Qualtrics account (pdf-file).

HAIT lab

About

The HAIT lab is located in the Dante building in room D352. It can be used during working hours. It can be used for computational experiments.

Use

The purpose of the HAIT lab is to provide facilities for students who want to perform computational experiments for courses or for their thesis. As it is not always in use for its main purpose, students can also use the facilities for their day-to-day activities.

The HAIT lab houses five computers which are under control of the students. They can boot both Windows and Linux operating systems. Students are allowed to install new software on these computers, though they should do that in a responsible way. If something goes wrong with software installation, the computers may get a fresh image, which erases everything on them.

Besides the computers, the HAIT lab also contains several Lego NXT2 and EV3 robots. Software to use these bots is installed on the computers.

The key to the lab is available from the secretariat (room D347). If you want to work late, make sure that the room is opened before the secretariat closes. Alternatively, campus security can open the room for you. Reservations need not be made, though students who want to use the lab for its primary purpose (i.e., computational experiments for courses or thesis work) have priority.

DAF LAB

DAF Technology Lab

Experiencing Virtual Reality

The DAF Technology Lab provides high-tech facilities for students, researchers, and the business community. The combination of technology and behavioral sciences expertise offers unique possibilities for innovative teaching and research. The DAF Technology Lab consists of two spaces: the Experience Room and the Research Room.

Website: www.tilburguniversity.edu/dtl