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Interactions between language and mental representations

Ünal, E., & Papafragou, A. (2016). Interactions between language and mental representations. Language Learning, 66(3), 554-580. doi:10.1111/lang.12188.
It has long been recognized that language interacts with visual and spatial processes. However, the nature and extent of these interactions are widely debated. The goal of this article is to review empirical findings across several domains to understand whether language affects the way speakers conceptualize the world even when they are not speaking or understanding speech. A second goal of the present review is to shed light on the mechanisms through which effects of language are transmitted. Across domains, there is growing support for the idea that although language does not lead to long-lasting changes in mental representations, it exerts powerful influences during momentary mental computations by either modulating attention or augmenting representational power
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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.

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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