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New research group for MPI
Since October 1, 2009, the MPI for Psycholinguistics has a new research group, headed by the new director Antje Meyer. The group will investigate the origins of individual differences in the way people speak and understand spoken language. Are these differences based on variations in language-specific or general cognitive abilities and skills?
Oct 8, 2009
Why is it that some people speak faster and more fluently than others? Does this reflect on differences in the speakers’ speech motor skills, their linguistic abilities, or their speed of thinking? Why do some people provide rather bland descriptions of events, whereas others describe them vividly and in much detail? Is this because they differ in their perception or understanding of the events or the quality of their memory representations, or because they differ in vocabulary and grammatical skills? Why is it that some people appear to be better listeners than others, in the sense that they understand more when the input is poor and gain a better understanding of the intended meaning? Is this because people differ in early perceptual processes, in the linguistic analysis of the speech input, or in the ability to draw appropriate inferences or to adopt the speaker’s perspective?
'Our immediate goals will be to find ways of characterising and quantifying performance in speaking and listening tasks and to relate performance differences to underlying linguistic and non-linguistic abilities and skills', Meyer says. 'The focus of the group will be to develop functional models of speaking and listening, and we hope to collaborate closely with researchers studying the neurological and genetic bases of language.'