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Veni grant for David Peeters

David Peeters, Research Staff member of the Neurobiology of Language Department at the MPI, has been awarded a prestigious Veni grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). In his research, Peeters uses virtual reality to get a better understanding of the neurobiological basis of human language and communication.
Veni grant for David Peeters

In everyday life, we often refer to things in the world around us by using speech and gesture. “In my research, I want to establish how the brain allows us to quickly and efficiently understand acts of reference, such as when someone refers to an object by manually pointing at it while also describing it in speech,” David Peeters explains. This grant enables him to develop a neurocognitive model of how people understand various referential utterances on the basis of virtual reality research.

David_Peeters“We know surprisingly little about how the brain in such situations combines incoming auditory and visual information in order to quickly and efficiently understand the message a speaker is conveying,” Peeters explains. This lack of knowledge might be due to the fact that visually and communicatively rich situations, such as everyday referential communication, have traditionally been difficult to study using neuroscientific methods like EEG and fMRI. “Recent advances in immersive virtual reality technology now make it possible to mimic rich, communicative situations in the lab, while maintaining the experimental control that is necessary when measuring brain activity."

Veni grants enable promising young scientists to further develop their own research for a period of three years. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros to 154 researchers who have recently obtained their doctorate. A total of 1,127 researchers submitted a research proposal for funding.

More facts and figures on the 2017 Veni awards can be found in the NWO press release here.

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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.

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