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Coloring Book – testing language comprehension

About The Coloring Book

The Coloring Book is a digital application developed especially for linguistic research on language comprehension. Participants hear a sentence and are being asked to color a specific part of the coloring page. Their actions implicitly reveal their linguistic competence.


What are the advantages of the Coloring Book method?


We claim that the Coloring Book is a more natural way of doing research with children, second language speakers, and various populations with language impairments, since it has several crucial advantages over other methods:




  • it is more natural: a common and normal setting
  • it is implicit: participants are simply coloring a picture and do not think that they are being tested
  • it is automatic: participants assign the first intuitive interpretation that comes to their mind, without comparing options or considering alternatives.
  • it is active: participants actually do something – and do not only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or point to a picture
  • it includes only grammatically well-formed input: the instructions include only grammatical sentences and no ‘forced’ or extremely uncommon interpretations
  • unnoticeable purpose: the real purpose easily concealed – participants focus on the coloring game
  • it is more immune for guessing and improvising: not listening or not understanding will show immediately
  • it can be used with various target-groups: the same test can be used with children (coloring game) and adults (presented as a memory test)
  • it feels like a game and therefore reduces stress and antagonism

The advantages of the Coloring book method are scientifically supported through empirical research. The main article which reviews these findings can be found here. More information about the empirical research supporting the Coloring Book method can be found here .