You are here: Home Departments Psychology of Language Research Clusters The Double-Act: Speaking and Listening

Psychology of Language -

The Double-Act: Speaking and Listening



Suzanne Jongman

Laurel Brehm

Amie Fairs

Federica Bartolozzi

Jeroen van Paridon

Aitor San José

Jieying He

Antje Meyer



We use language predominantly to talk to other people, and as such, a lot of real-world language use involves coordination of production and comprehension. Talking and understanding what others say seems easy, but we know that both speaking and listening require not only knowledge of the language but also attention and executive control.

In this cluster we examine the processes of speech planning and listening. Key issues are how speakers and listeners retrieve words from their mental lexicon, how they combine them into larger units, and how these processes are supported by executive control processes. Consideration of these issues occurs in tandem with work on another broad issue, namely the many ways interlocutors affect each other in conversation.

Looking at these issues together leads to new insights into the properties of the linguistic representations and mechanisms underlying speaking and listening and into the skills people apply when they use language in the lab and in everyday contexts.



How do speakers combine words into phrases and sentences? How do they select and sequence the right words in the right structures in order to convey a given message?  

How do listeners recover the intended meaning from spoken utterances?

How are the processes of speech planning and listening related to each other, and how do they differ?

What is the role of executive control processes in speaking and listening?

What are the constraints on the scheduling of comprehension and production processes in dialogue? Can interlocutors put one process "on hold" to prioritize the other?



How do listeners comprehend sentences? How do they cope with errors and ambiguities?

Laurel Brehm

What happens in the brain when we plan utterances while listening to others?

Suzanne Jongman

Does combining production and comprehension affect implicit memory?

Federica Bartolozzi, Suzanne Jongman, Antje Meyer

Can word forms be simultaneously accessed for speaking and for listening?

Amie Fairs, Antje Meyer

How are listening and speech planning coordinated in simultaneous interpretation and shadowing?

Jeroen van Paridon

How do interlocutors coordinate their utterances in time? Is simulation of the partner's speech planning necessary to achieve temporal precision? 

Laurel Brehm, Antje Meyer

When and how do listeners predict the end of turns in conversation?

Jieying He, Laurel Brehm, Antje Meyer

When and how do speakers exert top-down control when producing language?

Aitor San José, Ardi Roelofs, Antje Meyer



We use classic psycholinguistic tools such as object naming, action and event descriptions or categorization, self-paced reading and sentence judgement tasks. To capture where listeners and speakers direct their attention we often use eye-tracking. For instance, we have developed a dual-eye-tracking setup where we can track two conversation partners simultaneously and study how they synchronize their words and their gaze while conversing.

In many studies, we combine behavioural with neurobiological measures (especially recording of EEG), for instance to assess the engagement of attentional networks in different tasks. Finally, we use computational and statistical modeling to test complex hypotheses and generate predictions for future experimental work.


External Colloborators:

Ardi Roelofs

Angieszka Konopka

Zeshu Shao

Vitória Piai

Sara Bögels

Alexis Hervais-Adelman

Former Members:

Marwa Mekni Toujani, Linda Taschenberger

Last checked 2018-10-23 by Suzanne Jongman
Psychology of Language

Street address

Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:  +31-24-3521336
Fax:      +31-24-3521213


Director: Antje Meyer