Set-3: experimental pictures from the Get the Focus Right project

This database, the Set-3 picture database , contains pictures designed for language production experiments in the NWO-VIDI project Get the Focus Right, directed by Aoju Chen. They are made available for here for other researchers to use for experimental purposes.

There are two kinds of picture in the database. The first type are 'complete' pictures containing a an entire event described by simple SVO (subject-verb-object) sentences:

the bear buries the pens

Subject Verb Object

The second type of picture are 'incomplete' pictures. These are pictures where one or more elements of the event are missing, for example:

the bear buries

Subject Verb

the pens


the bear the pens

Subject Object



There are many characters, actions and objects, which were designed to be recognisable and engaging for children of different cultural backgrounds.

The Picture Matching Game

The picures were designed for, and originally used in the Get the Focus Right project for the Picture Matching Game, which is designed to elicit prosodic marking of focus. Two main versions of the game have been used, the first involves a 'robot' which instructs the participant which words to use in a way in which the robot's intonation is not imitable (for example, Chen 2011). The second dispenses with the 'robot', instead explicitly training the participants to associate the target words with the pictures before proceeding with the experiment proper. Many publications have arisen from research using the two versions of the Picture Matching Game, in various populations.

List of Picture Matching Game publications

Finding pictures and re-using them

The database provides a simple way to filter the more than 1000 individual pictures, to quickly select pictures featuring the different subjects, objects, verbs and adverbials of the sentences depicted. This is done by clicking on the options on the left-hand edge of the screen, and then selecting and de-selecting subjects, verbs, objects and adverbials to be included. On clicking "Apply", the pictures loaded in the main panel will change to reflect the filtering criteria specified.

Pictures can be selected for use by adding them to the "basket", much like an online-shopping website. To add a picture to the basket, click the icon. To remove a picture, click the click the icon.

By default, the pictures are organised such that the complete picture, and the incomplete pictures related to it (those that show the same event with one or more elements missing) are shown together. It is possible to de-activate this grouping function with the "group related items" switch at the top left. When the pictures are grouped, it is possible to add a complete picture and its related incomplete pictures (the set) to the basket in one operation, by clicking .

The currently selected pictures can be seen in the "Basket" tab. From here, it is possible to clear the selection, and to download the selected pictures, which will be delivered as high resolution JPEG images, in a zip archive. These are then ready to use or to adapt for your own purposes.

Licensing of the pictures


The vast majority of the pictures were drawn by Paula Cox, who was a student assistant to the project. The pictures used for the Korean experiments were drawn by a Korean art student, who was recruited by our collaborators at the Hanyang Phonetics and Psycholinguistics Laboratory, Hanyang University.