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Falk Huettig -

Literacy and Multimodal Cognition Group

Group members

Miguel Borges (PhD Student)

Saoradh Favier (PhD Student)

Gabriela Garrido (PhD Student)

Florian Hintz (Postdoc, Radboud University Nijmegen)

Markus Ostarek (PhD Student)

Alastair Smith (Postdoc, MPI)


Former members

Susana Araújo (University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Floor de Groot (VU Amsterdam)

Ernesto Guerra (Pontificia University, Villarrica, Chile)

Elise Hopman (University of Wisconsin, Madison, US)

Joost Rommers (Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, US)


Main collaborators

Zohar Eviatar (University of Haifa, Israel)

Nivi Mani (University of Goettingen, Germany)

Padraic Monaghan (University of Lancaster, UK)

Ramesh Mishra (University of Hyderabad, India)

Vaishna Narang (JNU Delhi, India)

Chris Olivers (VU Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Michael Skeide (MPI Leipzig)


About this research program:

Research centres around three main topics:


1. Impact of Literacy on the Illiterate/Literate Mind  

Writing, a human cultural invention, is on an evolutionary scale a very recent occurrence. Even today more than one-fifth of adults are unable to read and write. We examine how (il)literacy affects the human mind. Diverse participant groups (for example, illiterates in India, young children, adults with dyslexia, university students) take part in behavioral and neuroimaging studies. We also use computational modeling as a means by which mechanisms that drive effects of literacy can be isolated.



Recent publications


Huettig, F., & Mishra, R. K. (2014). How literacy acquisition affects the illiterate mind - A critical examination of theories and evidence. Language and Linguistics Compass8(10), 401-427.


Smith, A., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2014). Literacy effects on language and vision: Emergent effects from an amodal shared resource (ASR) computational model. Cognitive Psychology75, 28-54.

Smith, A., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2014). Examining strains and symptoms of the ‘Literacy Virus’: The effects of orthographic transparency on phonological processing in a connectionist model of reading. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2014). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.


Huettig, F., & Brouwer, S. (2015). Delayed anticipatory spoken language processing in adults with dyslexia - Evidence from eye-tracking. Dyslexia21(2), 97-122. 

Huettig, F., Singh, N., & Mishra, R. K. (2011). Language-mediated visual orienting behavior in low and high literates. Frontiers in Psychology2, 285.

Mani, N., & Huettig, F. (2014). Word reading skill predicts anticipation of upcoming spoken language input: a study of children developing proficiency in reading. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology126, 264-279.

Mishra, R. K., Singh, N., Pandey, A., & Huettig, F. (2012). Spoken language-mediated anticipatory eye movements are modulated by reading ability: Evidence from Indian low and high literates. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 5(1): 3, 1-10.

Olivers, C. N. L., Huettig, F., Singh, J. P., & Mishra, R. K. (2014). The influence of literacy on visual search. Visual Cognition, 21, 74-101.


2. Multimodal Cognition

Human language is a complex system that links representations across multiple modalities (for example, phonological, orthographic, semantic, visual, spatial, etc.). Moreover, when we comprehend or produce spoken words in natural, ‘real world’ settings various sources of information interact. We study the nature and the temporal structure of this multimodal process. We also study the contribution of perception and action systems to cognition and language processing.

Recent publications


Huettig, F., Mishra, R. K., & Olivers, C. N. (2012). Mechanisms and representations of language-mediated visual attention. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 394.

Huettig, F., Olivers, C. N. L., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2011). Looking, language, and memory: Bridging research from the visual world and visual search paradigms. Acta Psychologica, 137, 138-150.


Smith, A., Monaghan, P., & Huettig, F. (2017). The multimodal nature of spoken word processing in the visual world: Testing the predictions of alternative models of multimodal integration. Journal of Memory and Language, 93, 276-303.


De Groot, F., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. N. L. (2016). When meaning matters: The temporal dynamics of semantic influences on visual attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42(2), 180-196. 

Johnson, E., McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2011). Toddlers’ language-mediated visual search: They need not have the words for it. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 1672-1682.

McQueen, J. M., & Huettig, F. (2014). Interference of spoken word recognition through phonological priming from visual objects and printed words. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 76, 190-200.

Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (in press). Spoken words can make the invisible visible – Testing the involvement of low-level visual representations in spoken word processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

Ostarek, M., & Huettig, F. (in press). A task-dependent causal role for low-level visual processes in spoken word comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2013). Object shape and orientation do not routinely influence performance during language processing. Psychological Science, 24, 2218-2225.


De Groot, F., Koelewijn, T., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. N. L. (2016). A stimulus set of words and pictures matched for visual and semantic similarity. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28(1), 1-15.

Huettig, F., Rommers, J., & Meyer, A. S. (2011). Using the visual world paradigm to study language processing: A review and critical evaluation. Acta Psychologica, 137, 151-171.


3. Predictive Processing

The notion that prediction is a fundamental principle of human information processing is an intriguing thought. The investigation of language processing should be particularly illuminating for testing this claim because linguists traditionally have argued that prediction plays only a minor role during language understanding. This is because of the vast possibilities available to the language user as each word is encountered. We investigate four central questions of anticipatory language processing: Why (i.e. what is the function of prediction in language processing)? What (i.e. what are the cues used to predict up-coming linguistic information and what type of representations are predicted)? How (what mechanisms are involved in predictive language processing and what is the role of possible mediating factors such as working memory)? When (i.e. do individuals always predict up-coming input during language processing)?

Recent publications


Huettig, F. (2015). Four central questions about prediction in language processing. Brain Research, 1626, 118-135.

Huettig, F., & Mani, N. (2016). Is prediction necessary to understand language? Probably not. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(1), 19-31.


Bobb, S., Huettig, F., & Mani, N. (2015). Predicting visual information during sentence processing: Toddlers activate an object's shape before it is mentioned. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 151, 51-64.

Hintz, F., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2016). Encouraging prediction during production facilitates subsequent comprehension: Evidence from interleaved object naming in sentence context and sentence reading. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69, 1056-1063.

Huettig, F., & Janse, E. (2016). Individual differences in working memory and processing speed predict anticipatory spoken language processing in the visual world. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(1), 80-93.

Mani, N., & Huettig, F. (2012). Prediction during language processing is a piece of cake - but only for skilled producers. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38(4), 843-847.

Mani, N., Daum, M., & Huettig, F. (2016). “Pro-active” in many ways: Developmental evidence for a dynamic pluralistic approach to prediction. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology69(11), 2189-2201.

Lai, V. T., & Huettig, F. (2016). When prediction is fulfilled: Insight from emotion processing. Neuropsychologia, 85, 110-117.

Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., Praamstra, P., & Huettig, F. (2013). The contents of predictions in sentence comprehension: Activation of the shape of objects before they are referred to. Neuropsychologia, 51(3), 437-447.

Rommers, J., Meyer, A. S., & Huettig, F. (2015). Verbal and nonverbal predictors of language-mediated anticipatory eye movements. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 77(3), 720-730.


Last checked 2016-11-24

Falk Huettig

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
PO Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands