What is the purpose of your research?

We do our research to learn more about common age-related changes in hearing, vision, memory, and language abilities that might affect communication.

What are the benefits (e.g., personal, others) of your research?

For most of our studies, there are no immediate benefits to you, but during your visits you may learn more about the topics of our research. We hope that eventually our research will be used to improve the abilities of older adults to communicate despite reductions they may experience in hearing, vision, or memory. Also, by participating in research you will help students to learn about how to conduct aging-related research. Without your effort and support our research would not be possible. Your contribution is highly appreciated.

Are there any risks are involved?

  • Will I have to take any medication in order to participate in the research?
  • Is testing invasive or involve electrical stimulation?
  • Will I experience damage to my hearing, vision, or memory due to the experiments?

There are no immediate risks to your safety, and any potential issues will be outlined in the study descriptions. Our studies never involve any use of drugs or electrical stimulation and they are never invasive. None of our studies will hurt your hearing, vision, or memory. For example, the types and loudness of the sounds you will hear in the experiments are like those found in everyday situations.

Will I receive clinical services or can you tell me if I have a problem with my memory, hearing, vision, etc.?

We do not provide any clinical service to assess or treat problems. Sometimes we use clinical tests, but they are only used for research purposes. For example, we might test your hearing to see if you have the specific type of hearing ability that is required for a study.

Where is the lab located?

The HCL (Human Communication Lab) is located on the 4th floor of the CCT (Communication, Culture, and Technology) Building at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM; formerly Erindale College). UTM is located on Mississauga Road between Dundas Street and Burnhamthorpe Road in the City of Mississauga. A map and directions are available on the website (www.utm.utoronto.ca/maps). 

To download directions by bus or to the parking lot, please click on this pdf file.

If desired, we can meet you at the bus stop or in the parking garage.

Can I get there by bus?

There are a number of Mississauga Transit buses that come directly to our campus. It is a short walk from the bus stop to the lab. If you wish to travel by bus you can check the schedules online with Mississauga Transit

Is there parking available?

If you drive, we will give you a free parking pass so you can park in Parking Level 1 (P1) of the underground parking lot of the CCT Building (Seniors Parking). In P1 there are also accessibility parking spots available. Both types of parking spots are reserved for our senior research volunteers and are next to the elevator which leads directly to the HCL on the 4th floor of the CCT Building.

Once exiting the elevator on the 4th floor of the CCT building, the HCL reception room is (CCT 4012) is located to the right and through a set of doors. This room is where you may be asked to wait for the researcher to collect you for the experiment.  

What are the labs like where the experiments are conducted?

Our studies are conducted in testing rooms in the CCT Building. Some rooms look like offices whereas those used for hearing studies have special sound-treated rooms and the rooms for vision studies may have special lighting controls.

Some rooms are not wheel-chair accessible so please let us know if you have any special mobility needs (wheelchair, cane, walker etc.). Sometimes you will work by yourself in a small room that could make people with claustrophobia uncomfortable. If this is a concern, we can find a way to accomodate you if possible.

How long do studies take? Do I have to come in more than once?

Study completion may vary in time from around 1 hour to 3+ hours. Duration of studies and whether the study requires multiple visits, will be indicated online on the study page or by phone. Depending on how often you want to come in and depending on how many researchers need volunteers, you may be invited to participate in multiple studies a year.  

Do I have a choice about which studies to participate in?

You are free to decide when and in which studies you will participate. You can view study descriptions on this website or on the UTM Research Sign-Up System. Additionally, you may be contacted by phone for more details.

If you are interested in participating, then we will schedule an appointment time that is convenient for you to come to the lab. If you are not interested in a particular study or if you want to temporarily or permanently remove your name from our list, please let us know. Even after you begin an experiment, if you decide that you'd rather not participate for any reason, you are always free to withdraw.

What do I do if I am too busy to participate or I cannot make it to my appointment (i.e., there is an emergency, the weather is unfavourable)?

Appointments will always be booked at a time that suits you. If you become unavailable for any reason (i.e.,something unexpected comes up), you can call us to cancel your appointment and we will gladly reschedule for another time. If there is inclement weather or any other circumstances that make it unsafe for you to come to the university, please do not feel obligated to participate. The researcher may also notify you of any changes on their end.

Will I be tested alone or with other people?

Most testing is done on an individual basis. Some studies may involve working with another participant; for example, you might be asked to have a conversation with a familiar person or a stranger while researchers observe your interactions. In all cases, you will be told about the requirements of the study in advance. 

Who conducts the experiments?

A professor (principal investigator) is responsible for every experiment. All of our studies are conducted by highly trained individuals who are called ‘research assistants' who may be graduate students, post-doctoral fellows or research associates who are doing their research training with a professor. They may also be an undergraduate student who is taking a research project or thesis course under the supervision of a professor. The experimenters will be happy to talk to you about their studies.

Will I be paid to participate?

  • Will I be reimbursed for gas or bus fare?
  • What happens if I do not want to be reimbursed?
  • Can I donate to your research program?

For most studies we offer an honorarium for your participation, but we do not usually reimburse participants for their transportation costs. You will be told in advance whether or not you be will given an honorarium and what it will be. You do not have to accept it if you do not wish to do so.

Please ask us if you wish to donate money to the university to support our research.

Do I have a right to have a copy of my results?

  • Can I show my results to my physician?

As a participant you do have a right to have your results, but on their own your results may not have much meaning. Usually, each person contributes only a small part to a large set of data that is collected from a group, and it is the group results that we analyze and use to draw conclusions in our research. The results of most research tests would not be useful to your physician because they are not clinical tests.

Will my results be anonymous?

You will never be identified by name in the publications of our research. The results of most studies are analyzed in terms of group performance so no one participant is singled out.

How can I find out about the results of the research?

Each year, the professors and students publish many chapters in books and articles in scientific journals. You may also receive an invitation to public lectures or other events on the topic of human communication research where these results will be presented. You can also check the website for information about ongoing and completed studies as well as special events. The website may also have links to other events in the community that may be of interest to you.

Can my spouse or friend come with me?

  • If they come with my can we be tested at the same time?
  • If my spouse or friend attends withe me can they wait for me even if they are not being tested?

You can always bring your spouse or friend even if they do not have appointments with us. We have a large reception room with a view of the forest where your spouse or friend can relax, read a magazine, or enjoy a cup of coffee while they wait. We also have a special waiting room for children.

If you both want to volunteer, then we will do our best to arrange appointments for both of you at the same time. Please email or phone us if this is of interest. 

How is the research funded?

  • Are all of the studies funded?

Most of the funding for our research comes from grants from national research councils (e.g., the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) that are awarded to individual professors or groups of professors. Some funding comes from foundations (e.g., the Hearing Foundation of Canada) or from industrial sponsors. Graduate and undergraduate students can also win fellowships and awards to support their research training program. Although most studies are funded, some projects, especially those done by undergraduates for their courses, may not be funded.

Please see our funding page for more information.