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Suzanne Jongman defends thesis on sustained attention in language production
Apr 26, 2016
Does language production ask for the ability to maintain attention? In her doctoral thesis, Suzanne Jongman investigated if, and when, word and phrase production relies on sustained attention in adults and children. Suzanne will defend her thesis entitled ‘Sustained Attention in Language Production’ on 26th April in the Radboud Aula. more >
The many ways of repairing conversations around the world
Apr 25, 2016
Wherever people talk, they run into misunderstandings and they need ways to ‘repair’ such problems. Until recently, this repair system had been studied mostly in English and a few other major languages. A new set of studies by language scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics documents this system in ten diverse languages around the world. Among other things, they show that ‘Huh?’ is not as impolite as people think, and that similar facial expressions occur with repair in signed and spoken languages. more >
Malte Viebahn defends thesis on acoustic-phonetic reduction in language processing
Apr 22, 2016
In his thesis, Malte Viebahn explored the interface between acoustic-phonetic information in continuous speech and more abstract linguistic knowledge, such as syntax, morphosyntax, and orthography when processing spoken words. Malte will defend his thesis “Acoustic reduction in spoken-word processing: Distributional, syntactic, morphosyntactic, and orthographic effects” on April 25th. more >
Sonja Vernes awarded with Human Frontiers Scientific Program grant
Apr 14, 2016
Bats share a rare ability with humans – they learn how to make their calls in a way similar to how children learn to speak. Sonja Vernes was awarded a Human Frontiers Scientific Program Research Grant with the goal of modeling this vocal learning ability in bats to shed light on how and why humans learn to speak. Together with collaborators from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Technical University of Munich and University of California at Berkeley, she received 1.2 million dollars to set out this novel line of research. more >
Das sagt man nicht, weil das ist ja falsch: The mystery of the many misplaced verbs in German weil clauses
Apr 04, 2016
If you speak German natively, you may have experienced a little shock reading the title sentence above. And the reason should be clear: The verb ist in the weil clause comes too early. Most people probably think they never make such errors. This may be so when writing German. But when speaking German, according to new research from the MPI for Psycholinguistics and the University of Koblenz-Landau, there are systematic reasons for the misplacement of a verb like ist in a weil clause. more >
Autism genes affect behavior throughout the whole population
Mar 24, 2016
The genetic risk factors contributing to autism spectrum disorders are present in all of us. This is shown in a new study of over 38.000 people in 5 countries carried out by an international team of researchers from the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, the University of Bristol and universities in Australia and Denmark. The study was published in Nature Genetics this week. more >
The linguistics of signifying time: the human gesture as clock
Mar 18, 2016
A new scientific study documenting the linguistic practices of the Northwestern Amazonian peoples uncovers an unusual method of communicating the human concept of time. The study, “Modally hybrid grammar? Celestial pointing for time-of-day reference in Nheengatú", by Simeon Floyd of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Radboud University, was published in the March, 2016 issue of the scholarly journal Language. more >
IMPRS student Tulya Kavaklioglu competes in FameLab Netherlands finals
Feb 19, 2016
Scientists are so passionate about their work that they often work long hours. But can they also explain it in clear terms — and in only 180 seconds? Tulya Kavaklioglu from the Language and Genetics Department took up the challenge in the scientific pitch competition FameLab, and won herself a ticket to the national finals. more >
Max Planck Institute
About MPI


The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.


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