Perception, Language and Attention in Youth (PLAY) Lab
The newly-founded Perception, Language and Attention in Youth (PLAY) Lab's aim is to understand how early sensory experiences shape our visual, cognitive, and language abilities later in life. We study how deaf and hearing children learn through visual sign language, with the goal of understanding human cognition and learning more broadly. We compare behaviors and abilities of deaf and hearing people -- across all ages -- who use signed or spoken language.
Dr. Bosworth is a member of the faculty team of the AWARE-AI NSF Research Traineeship Program. Graduate students from associated RIT Ph.D. and MS programs are invited to review information on how to apply and benefits for Trainees at our NSF Research Traineeship website. Women, Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, and African American, Latino/a American, or Native American students are especially encouraged to apply. A video describing the program in ASL is available here.
Earn Course Credit as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Lab
Undergraduate students can obtain research experience for course credit toward electives working in the SPaCE Center. The Center is made up of several labs, including deaf x lab directed by Dr. Dye, NTID PLAY Lab directed by Dr. Bosworth, and the PAW Lab directed by Dr. Fitch. This opportunity provides exposure to a variety of methods used in psychological research, including behavioral experiments (measuring response time and accuracy), eye tracking, EEG, and observational studies. This is a two-semester commitment. This is ideal for NTID or RIT students who have majors related to psychology, cognitive science, language sciences, or computer science. Graduate students are also encouraged to apply using this form. Click here to complete an online form to apply.
Dr. Rain Bosworth is an assistant professor in Department of Liberal Studies at RIT/NTID. She is an experimental psychologist, studying development of perception and language in deaf and hearing children using eye-tracking at the newly-founded Perception, Language and Attention in Youth (PLAY) Lab. She got her PhD from the University of California, San Diego, studying visual motion processing and attention in deaf adults. She is currently investigating gaze behavior in infants and children while they watch stories in American Sign Language (ASL). The broad aim is to understand how early sensory input shapes perception, cognition, and language processing.
Our Research Team
Karen Putz is the Communications Coordinator for the SPaCE Center and PLAY Lab. Karen has a master’s degree in deaf rehabilitation counseling from Northern Illinois University. She is the founder and past President of Illinois Hands & Voices and A board member of New York Hands & Voices. She is also an adjunct instructor at RIT teaching a wellness course called “Finding your Passion.” Karen is the author of multiple books, including The Parenting Journey; Raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, Unwrapping Your Passion, and The Passionate Lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing People. For fun, Karen can be found water skiing on her bare feet.
Adrita Arefin is currently a first year grad student of the Human-Computer Interaction Masters Program at RIT. She graduated with a BS in Computer Engineering from RIT, and shortly after, she worked for the Department of Defense in Philadelphia as a Computer Engineer in the Cybersecurity Department. After working there for some time, she realized that she was missing the “human touch” in her career, and thus decided to combine psychology with technology. Adrita is proud mother of her 1 year old daughter Arya. This inspired her to learn more about how digital media and iPad technology impacts infants’ cognitive development.
Join our Lab
We are recruiting postdocs, staff, graduate students, and undergraduates! Coming together from a wide variety of backgrounds, our team members are the backbone of PLAY Lab. Their ideas bring diverse ideas to help shape the direction and mission of our research. Read on to learn more about how you can get involved.
Rain Bosworth, an assistant professor and experimental psychologist at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, has created a new research lab that will help scientists learn more about cognition, language, and perception in infants and young children.
Cecilia Alm, an associate professor in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, was awarded nearly $2 million by the National Science Foundation to lead a team of RIT faculty addressing a lack of diversity in the artificial intelligence research community and gaps in AI curricula.
The PLAY Lab is a critical resource in building a better understanding of how early sensory experiences shape our children’s visual, cognitive, and language abilities later in life. A major portion of our research focuses on the development and support of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing children. While we are fortunate to have received support for our research, there is an ongoing need for general operating support of the Lab. Funding to maintain equipment, employ research assistants, support travel to conferences, and more, is critical in facilitating our work and in disseminating all that we will learn. If you are interested in supporting the PLAY Lab, please contact Bryan Hensel, NTID Office of External Affairs, at Bryan.Hensel@rit.edu or at (585) 475-6222. Thank you for your generosity.