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About us

The Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen is entirely devoted to psycholinguistics – the study of how we produce and understand language, and how we acquire these skills as first or second language learners. Over the years, the Institute has developed close ties with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, also in Nijmegen.

Our Institute is one of more than 80 research institutes that form part of the German Max Planck Society, and it is one of the few locations outside Germany.

Institute leadership

MPI group Directors

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is led by the Department Directors (Caroline Rowland, Peter Hagoort, Simon Fisher, Antje Meyer, and Asli Ozyurek), and the Chief Operating Officer (Laura Manko). The role of Managing Director rotates once every two years. In 2021 and 2022, this position will be fulfilled by Antje Meyer.



The Operations department, headed by Chief Operating Officer Laura Manko, is the organisational heart of the Institute. This department is home to HR, the Finance unit, the Communications & Press Office, Facility Management, and Travel Management for the entire MPI.


The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics was opened in 1980. Its history dates back further to 1975, when the Max Planck Society asked Willem Levelt, a prominent figure in psychophysics and psycholinguistics, to set up a try-out project group in Germany focusing on language and psychology. The intention was that - if all went well - this project group would evolve into a permanent institute.

Not wanting to give up his professorship in Nijmegen, Willem Levelt approached both the board of the University and the Max Planck Society and successfully brokered a deal that would allow him to set up the project group in Nijmegen. It was the very first time that a Max Planck Institute was established outside Germany.

Over the years, the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen has experienced a number of milestones. To find out more about our history and our path to success, read our timeline.

Advisory Boards

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics has a Board of Trustees and a Scientific Board. The role of the Board of Trustees is to connect Science and Society, and it comprises leading professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. The Scientific Board consists of prominent scientists from all over the world, who evaluate the scientific quality and quantity of our research once every three years.


More than 200 people work at the MPI in Nijmegen, including PhD students, researchers, and support staff. Want to get in touch? Contact details are available on the People section of the website.

Former departments and groups

Over the years, the MPI in Nijmegen has been home to numerous research departments and groups, such as Stephen C. Levinson's Language and Cognition Department.

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