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Shiri Lev-Ari

I am interested in how our social environment influences our linguistic skills and language use, and vice versa - how properties of our language processing mechanisms can influence our social world.

My main current project examines how the properties of our social network (e.g., size, saturation) influence our linguistic skills (e.g., global comprehension, semantic prediction, robustness of phonological representations).

Much of my previous research examined how our expectations of our interlocutors influence the way we process their language and the social consequences of this influence. Similarly, I studied how stereotypes and attitudes at the community level influence how we pronounce words, how our community make-up can influence our speech perception, how our (non-linguistic) success in the environment influences our likelihood of learning the linguistic patterns in the environment, and how the relative difficulty of processing foreign-accented speech influences how credible we find the speech. I am also often intrigued by and try to explore how effects I find at the individual level can later lead to linguistic changes at the community level.

Another line of research of mine examines how individual differences in executive function influence linguistic representations. I showed that the level of inhibitory skill influences patterns of co-activation, and consequently, linguistic representations in bilinguals, monolinguals and when learning a novel artificial language. For example, I found that those with poorer inhibitory skill exhibit more influence of their second language on their native language, and are less likely to think differently in their two languages.

Other topics I dabbled in or find interesting include embodiment, language and thought, and interactional prosody.
Last checked 2017-08-09

Shiri Lev-Ari

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