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VENI grant awarded to Tineke Snijders
Jul 29, 2014
How do babies make sense of all the sounds they hear? Before they are able to link sound to meaning, they need to learn the locations of word boundaries in continuous speech. more >
Symposium: Towards a neuroscience of mutual understanding
Jul 21, 2014
On September 1, 2014 Arjen Stolk, Peter Hagoort and Ivan Toni organize a symposium on mechanisms of mutual understanding. more >
Roel Willems and Franziska Hartung visit the new MPI in Frankfurt
Jul 09, 2014
Why do people perceive music and literature as varying in their beauty based on factors such as culture, society, historical period and individual taste? In 2012 the new Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics has been founded to answer questions regarding how humans perceive, experience and evaluate aesthetics. more >
The role of beat gesture and pitch accent in semantic processing
Jun 30, 2014
In face-to-face communication, speakers often emphasize information with verbal (e.g., pitch accent, clefts) and nonverbal cues (e.g., hand gestures, facial expressions). The present study investigated how listeners integrate pitch accent and beat gesture (i.e., small baton-like hand movements produced along with the rhythmical pulsation of speech) to comprehend a message. more >
The influence of communicative context on syntactic priming
Jun 02, 2014
If I describe a scene by saying 'the mistress is kissed by the man' (using a sentence in the passive voice) you are more likely to describe the following event with another passive sentence, like 'the man is hit by his wife', rather than an active sentence such as 'the wife hits her husband'. more >
Irina Simanova defends PhD on May 12
May 09, 2014
Throughout human history, people have always been intrigued by the idea of understanding the thoughts of others without using speech or signs. In the 19th and 20th century mind reading was even studied by empirical psychologists. While this early work remained in the realm of pseudoscience, the idea has not become less attractive. Can humans acquire the ability to read minds? more >
Synchronization of speech and gesture
May 05, 2014
Language and action systems are highly interlinked. A critical piece of evidence is that speech and its accompanying gestures are well synchronized temporally. The underlying mechanism responsible for the synchronization is still under debate. more >
MPI scientific retreat
Apr 14, 2014
From March 31st until April 2nd 2014, six members of the Neurobiology of Language department attended the MPI retreat in Münster. At this annual retreat, representatives of the different MPI departments join forces to think about the future of the institute. more >
PhD project: Alina Lartseva
Apr 07, 2014
About 1 in 100 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Some of these children will need intensive support and care for their whole life, and some of them will learn how to overcome their difficulties, and will be able to study, work, live independently. Despite its relatively high prevalence, we still know very little about what causes autism, what cognitive functions are impaired or how we can treat it. more >
The influence of communicative intent on the kinematics of pointing gestures
Mar 21, 2014
In everyday communication, people not only use speech but also hand gestures to convey information. One intriguing question in gesture research has been why gestures take the specific form they do. more >
Peter Hagoort becomes member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen
Mar 10, 2014
Peter Hagoort has been elected a member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities). more >
PhD project: Danchao Cai
Mar 07, 2014
Some people are born with perfect/absolute pitch. What’s the neurological and genetic basis behind this? more >
Call to scientists: stop excluding left-handed people from scientific studies!
Feb 14, 2014
Left-handed people really do have different brains and genes from right-handed people. Yet left-handed people are almost never included as study subjects in scientific research. Therefore in an article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Roel Willems and his colleagues from the Donders Institute and Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen call for more research into left-handed people. The article was published online on 12 February 2014. more >
PhD project: Nietzsche Lam
Feb 12, 2014
When reading or listening to a sentence (in your native language), have you ever stopped to consider the complexity of this seemingly effortless task? more >
Nijmegen Lectures 2014 by Russell Gray: No Miracles!
Jan 22, 2014
Nijmegen Lectures 2014 by Russell Gray: No Miracles! A Darwinian view of the evolution of cognition, language and culture. This year's Nijmegen Lectures will be given by Russell Gray (University of Auckland, New Zealand). Professor Gray will lead three days of lectures and discussion on the theme of evolutionary approaches to cognition, language and culture. more >
PhD project: Jolien Francken
Jan 16, 2014
How do we perceive the world? I cannot look into your head, but in my experience I see and hear everything around me, and I perceive the things like they really are. But is this in fact true? more >
Frontiers in Neuroscience for Young Minds
Jan 02, 2014
At the SfN meeting 2013 a new scientific journal has been launched with an editorial board of kids. Currently, the current issue features articles about “The Brain and Friends” and “The Brain and Talking/Texting”. more >
Research staff position at the Department Neurobiology of Language
Dec 16, 2013
The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) is offering a research staff position in the field of Neurobiology of Language. more >
Everything you always wanted to know about language
Dec 04, 2013
Is there something you've always wanted to know about language? We might have an answer! The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics has launched an initiative that aims to provide answers to questions about various aspects of language asked by people outside of the language researcher community. Visit our Q&A page to view the latest questions and answers, learn more about the initiative, or submit your own question. more >
Recognizing the emotional valence of person names
Nov 25, 2013
When you see or hear the name 'van Gogh', how quickly can you judge whether you like him or not? In order to make your judgment, you first need to recognize this name, then identify the person who bears this name, and finally access the associated information of this person (e.g., van Gogh is a famous Dutch post-impressionist painter.). more >
PhD project: Lotte Schoot
Nov 11, 2013
In most of the studies within our department, we investigate the brain responses of speakers who are using language without actually talking to someone. Or, when we study language comprehension processes, we look at the brains of listeners who have no idea who is talking to them. more >
We're at the Society for Neurobiology of Language conference
Nov 08, 2013
From 6-8 November, the fifth annual meeting of the SNL takes place in San Diego, CA. Many NBL researchers present their work here. more >
PhD project: Gwilym Lockwood
Oct 28, 2013
In my research, I hope to bridge two fields - sound-symbolism and synaesthesia - which have been sadly neglected until relatively recently. more >
Miriam Kos defends PhD on October 23
Oct 21, 2013
Individuals vary in the way they process semantic and syntactic aspects of language, Miriam Kos (Neurobiology of Language Department) discovered in her dissertation "On the waves of language - Electrophysiological reflections on semantic and syntactic processing". She will defend her thesis on October 23rd at 12.30, in the Radboud University Aula. more >
Sarah Dolscheid defends PhD on October 22
Oct 16, 2013
Language can have an impact on how people think about musical pitch, Sarah Dolscheid (MPI's Neurobiology of Language Department) discovered in her dissertation 'High pitches and thick voices: The role of language in space-pitch associations'. She will defend her thesis on October 22 at 12:30, in the Radboud University Aula. more >
Lin Wang investigates how our brain processes person names
Oct 07, 2013
I'm interested in the processing differences between person names and common nouns in the brain. Person names differ from common nouns in many aspects. more >
PhD project: Matthias Franken
Oct 01, 2013
My research is concerned with how people acquire new speech articulations. I investigate the mechanisms people use when learning the pronunciation of a new language. more >
Team proud of winning IMPRS essay contest
Sep 28, 2013
Richard Kunert (MPI), Suzanne Jongman (MPI), and Tineke Prins (CLS) of the IMPRS for Language Sciences won the essay contest with their essay 'Language, Nature and Nurture – Can genes settle the debate?' IMPRS PhD students had to write an essay for the course 'Current issues in the language sciences'. The jury unanimously selected their contribution, praising it as original, engaging and suitable for a general audience. more >
PhD project: Evelien Heyselaar
Sep 27, 2013
During the course of a conversation, your brain does a lot of things simultaneously: it needs to keep track of what your partner is saying, why they are saying it, and also simultaneously prepare what you are going to say so that as soon as your partner stops speaking you are ready with a response. more >
Four new PhD students starting in our group
Sep 19, 2013
From September 2013 Evelien Heyselaar, Lotte Schoot, Matthias Franken and Gwilym Lockwood will be working on their PhD projects. more >
Neurobiology of Language

What is the neurobiological infrastructure for the uniquely human capacity for language? The focus of the Neurobiology of Language Department is on the study of language production, language comprehension, and language acquisition from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Read more...

Director: Peter Hagoort

Secretary: Carolin Lorenz


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