ACEF Final Report
Student: Mgr. et MgA. Eva Hadravová
Home University: Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Arts, Department of Czech and
Visiting University: The University of Manchester, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health,
Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology
Supervisor: Dr. Bo Yao PhD, BSc
Research stay at UoM is scheduled from the 26th of January to the 3rd of July 2021.
The dissertation project, which I applied for the prestigious ACEF scholarship with, deals with an issue of audio reading experience. Even in the case we read quietly, we listen to our innervoice, thanks to which we understand the text principle. My original field of research is comparative literature, which, among other things, examines the boundaries of literary theory and tries to transcend them. The subject of interest defined by me is characterized by its
interdisciplinary character, and for that reason it was absolutely crucial for my early academic career that I was honoured to visit The University of Manchester, where I could study psycholinguistics.
My objective was to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible from an expert in the field, Dr. Bo Yao PhD, BSc, who has been dealing with a similar issue as a neuroscientist for years. In Manchester, I generally received a highly individualized approach from him.
During the first months of my stay, when the pandemic restrictions were strict and forbade us to have any personal contact, we were able to develop an effective way to communicate with each other at a distance. This was done through a combination of regular video calls and frequent email exchanges, which also fulfilled its purpose because the first part of my internship was more theoretically focused and aimed to prepare the most favourable
conditions for visiting the laboratory and preparing for the experiments that came in the second half of the stay.
In addition, as I mentioned in the interim report, Dr. Bo Yao PhD, BSc, and I successfully tested long-distance communication, and we know that we can continue in this way even after my return to Prague to my home university. Our pre-arranged plan is to coordinate cross- linguistic experiments for the scientific purposes of both parties involved.
Long-distance communication also took place with a group of PhD students and young scientists, the so-called EPiC Lab Manchester (Embodied Prediction in Communication), who incorporated me into its operation, thus creating another opportunity to establish beneficial
contacts with interesting people on a professional as well as friendly level. During these meetings, where the course of individual experiments and other scientific issues were addressed, one main presentation was also held each time. I myself have had the opportunity to become a keynote speaker several times to describe in detail my field and its perspective on he topic I am dealing with. From these mutual and regular discussions, I have learnt a lot of
valuable knowledge, which I dare to think is absolutely vital to my project.
Over time, during the second half of my stay, meetings with Dr. Bo Yao PhD, BSc, and EPiC Lab members shifted to a personal form. Although we have been fully and productively communicating remotely, it is true that face-to-face meetings provide the best conditions for
Thanks to Dr. Bo Yao PhD, BSc, I became acquainted with the laboratory facilities of the department in which he operates. I tried operating with the measuring devices such as EEG or eye-tracking, both from the position of the test subject and from the point of view of the scientific user and the experimenter. Of course, we strictly adhered to anti-coronavirus measures during our stay in the university building, and for this reason the practical part of
the experiments associated with external participants progressed very slowly, but safely. We are currently in the process of evaluating the data so that a scientific article can be created in the next step.
The university library proved to be an absolutely crucial component and the substantial benefit of my stay in Manchester. Its capacities offer valuable titles to which it would not be possible to have access in the Czech Republic. In addition, a significant number of them have not yet been digitized, which is why my presence in Manchester was highly beneficial.
Resources drawn from the university library allowed me to gain other extensive knowledge, which I will employ in my dissertation and beyond.
For instance, during my stay abroad in the UK, I also cooperated with my home university, and as a group of students we managed to win a GAUK grant for a monograph consisting of individual essays, one of which I will be the author. Thanks to this information, I was able to provide materials for this occasion in advance here in Manchester, as certain publications that I need are available in England and not in the Czech Republic.
I was also chosen to represent my home Department of Czech and Comparative Literature at a conference in Telč in the autumn, where selected students and supervisors from all over the country meet. I plan to present my work achieved at The University of Manchester and
also along with a chapter of my dissertation, which I managed to outline very promisingly there. In recent months, inspired by the stimulating Manchester environment, I have begun to write several chapters of the dissertation, which is still in progress, but the work I have done on it in Britain will determine its overall form.
Altogether, I am extremely grateful to ACEF for their support and the extraordinary opportunity I was able to receive through their kindness. I deeply and sincerely appreciate it and thank for it. I would recommend such an experience to other students as well, as the new context will give them fresh stimuli for their studies, expand scientific opportunities and also establish the necessary international professional contacts in today’s globalized world.
Coping with the coronavirus pandemic in these conditions was difficult, but it was undoubtedly worth it. In general, I consider my stay to be very fruitful, even exceeding my expectations. Once again, I would like to express the ACEF trustees my profound and sincere gratitude.