100 PhD Defences IMPRS


100 reasons to celebrate | #IMPRSive

January 2021 marks the occasion when we reach a significant and #IMPRSive milestone since the founding of the IMPRS for Language Sciences in 2009.

Our graduate school brings together diverse expertise from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and its partner institutes at Radboud University, the Centre for Language Studies and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour to train the future generations of language scientists.

In commemoration of 100 defences, we take a moment to reflect on the past and also ponder on the future of the graduate school and its members. In this dedicated section of the MPI website, we are pleased to share interviews with Emeritus Prof. dr. Stephen C. Levinson (founder), Dr. Els den Os and Dr. Kevin Lam (former & current coordinator, respectively), as well as first-hand accounts from several alumni.

We also invite you to survey the breadth of research that has been undertaken. The 100 theses showcase the rich interdisciplinary flavours that make up the language sciences, with a seemingly endless variety of topics.

We are immensely proud of our graduates and look forward to celebrating the next milestone with all future graduates!

Check out: upcoming defences & full publication list


Thesis Overview


Witteman, M. J. (2013)
Lexical processing of foreign-accented speech: Rapid and flexible adaptation.

Mulder, K. (2013)
Family and neighbourhood relations in the mental lexicon: A cross-language perspective.

Van der Zande, P. (2013)
Hearing and seeing speech: Perceptual adjustments in auditory-visual speech processing.

Dolscheid, S. (2013)
High pitches and thick voices: The role of language in space-pitch associations.

Rommers, J. (2013)
Seeing what's next: Processing and anticipating language referring to objects.

Poellmann, K. (2013)
The many ways listeners adapt to reductions in casual speech.

Piai, V. (2014)
Choosing our words: Lexical competition and the involvement of attention in spoken word production.

Reifegerste, J. (2014)
Morphological processing in younger and older people: Evidence for flexible dual-route access.

Veenstra, A. (2014)
Semantic and syntactic constraints on the production of subject-verb agreement.

Buckler, H. (2014)
The acquisition of morphophonological alternations across languages.


Verkerk, A. (2014)
The evolutionary dynamics of motion event encoding.

Choi, J. (2014)
Rediscovering a forgotten language.

Bergmann, C. (2014)
Computational models of early language acquisition and the role of different voices.

Tsuji, S. (2014)
The road to native listening.

Thorgrimsson, G. (2014)
Infants' understanding of communication as participants and observers.

Van Putten, S. (2014)
Information structure in Avatime.

Hammond, J. (2015)
Switch reference in Whitesands.

Bank, R. (2015)
The ubiquity of mouthings in NGT: A corpus study.

Schepens, J. (2015)
Bridging linguistic gaps: The effects of linguistic distance on adult learnability of Dutch as an additional language.

Sümer, B. (2015) 
Acquisition of spatial language by signing and speaking children: A comparison of Turkish Sign Language (TID) and Turkish.


Asaridou, S. S. (2015)
An ear for pitch: On the effects of experience and aptitude in processing pitch in language and music.

Van de Velde, M. (2015)
Incrementality and flexibility in sentence production.

Alferink, I. (2015)
Dimensions of convergence in bilingual speech and gesture.

Rossi, G. (2015)
The request system in Italian interaction.

Zhou, W. (2015)
Assessing birth language memory in young adoptees.

Gialluisi, A. (2015)
Investigating the genetic basis of reading and language skills.

Peeters, D. (2015)
A social and neurobiological approach to pointing in speech and gesture.

Gísladóttir, R. S. (2015)
Conversation electrified: The electrophysiology of spoken speech act recognition.

Smith, A. C. (2015)
Modelling multimodal language processing.

Hintz, F. (2015)
Predicting language in different contexts: The nature and limits of mechanisms in anticipatory language processing.


Kouwenhoven, H. (2016)
Situational variation in non-native communication: Studies into register variation, discourse management and pronunciation in Spanish English.

Viebahn, M. (2016)
Acoustic reduction in spoken-word processing: Distributional, syntactic, morphosyntactic, and orthographic effects.

Jongman, S. R. (2016)
Sustained attention in language production.

Lartseva, A. (2016)
Reading emotions: How people with Autism Spectrum Disorders process emotional language.

Van Rijswijk, R. (2016)
The strength of a weaker first language: Language production and comprehension by Turkish heritage speakers in the Netherlands.

Wnuk, E. (2016)
Semantic specificity of perception verbs in Maniq.

Irizarri van Suchtelen, P. (2016)
Spanish as a heritage language in the Netherlands. A cognitive linguistic exploration.

Lam, K. J. Y. (2016)
Understanding action-related language: Sensorimotor contributions to meaning.

Becker, M. (2016)
On the identification of FOXP2 gene enhancers and their role in brain development.

Defina, R. (2016)
Events in language and thought: The case of serial verb constructions in Avatime.


Carrión-Castillo, A. (2016)
Deciphering common and rare genetic effects on reading ability.

Guadalupe, T. (2017)
The biology of variation in anatomical brain asymmetries.

Lam, N. H. L. (2017)
Comprehending comprehension: Insights from neuronal oscillations on the neuronal basis of language.

Kunert, R. (2017)
Music and language comprehension in the brain.

Schoot, L. (2017)
Language processing in a conversation context.

Schuerman, W. L. (2017)
Sensorimotor experience in speech perception.

Vanlangendonck, F. (2017)
Finding common ground: On the neural mechanisms of communicative language production.

Manrique, E. (2017)
Achieving mutual understanding in Argentine Sign Language (LSA).

Lockwood, G. (2017)
Talking sense: The behavioural and neural correlates of sound symbolism.

Hartung, F. (2017)
Getting under your skin: The role of perspective and simulation of experience in narrative comprehension.


Lewis, A. G. (2017)
Explorations of beta-band neural oscillations during language comprehension: Sentence processing and beyond.

Heyselaar, E. (2017)
Influences on the magnitude of syntactic priming.

Hoey, E. (2017)
Lapse organization in interaction.

Brand, S. (2017)
The processing of reduced word pronunciation variants by natives and learners: Evidence from French casual speech.

Moers, C. (2017)
The neighbors will tell you what to expect: Effects of aging and predictability on language processing.

Sauppe, S. (2017)
The role of voice and word order in incremental sentence processing: Studies on sentence production and comprehension in Tagalog and German.

Neger, T. M. (2017)
Learning from the (un)expected: Age and individual differences in statistical learning and perceptual learning in speech.

Drozdova, P. (2018)
The effects of nativeness and background noise on the perceptual learning of voices and ambiguous sounds.

Franken, M. K. (2018)
Listening for speaking: Investigations of the relationship between speech perception and production.

Croijmans, I. (2018)
Wine expertise shapes olfactory language and cognition.


Stoehr, A. (2018)
Speech production, perception, and input of simultaneous bilingual preschoolers: Evidence from voice onset time.

Sikora, K. (2018)
Executive control in language production by adults and children with and without language impairment.

Kolipakam, V. (2018)
A holistic approach to understanding pre-history.

Shitova, N. (2018)
Electrophysiology of competition and adjustment in word and phrase production.

Estruch, S. B. (2018)
Characterization of transcription factors in monogenic disorders of speech and language.

Tromp, J. (2018)
Indirect request comprehension in different contexts.

Ostarek, M. (2018)
Envisioning language: An exploration of perceptual processes in language comprehension.

Kirsch, J. (2018)
Listening for the WHAT and the HOW: Older adults' processing of semantic and affective information in speech.

Janssen, R. (2018)
Let the agents do the talking: On the influence of vocal tract anatomy no speech during ontogeny.

Koch, X. (2018)
Age and hearing loss effects on speech processing.


Mainz, N. (2018)
Vocabulary knowledge and learning: Individual differences in adult native speakers.

Kung, C. (2018)
Speech comprehension in a tone language: The role of lexical tone, context, and intonation in Cantonese-Chinese.

Van Rhijn, J. R. (2019)
The role of FoxP2 in striatal circuitry.

Hömke, P. (2019)
The face in face-to-face communication: Signals of understanding and non-understanding.

Goriot, C. (2019)
Early-English education works no miracles: Cognitive and linguistic development in mainstream, early-English, and bilingual primary-school pupils in the Netherlands.

Rojas-Berscia, L. M. (2019)
From Kawapanan to Shawi: Topics in language variation and change.

De Vos, J. (2019)
Naturalistic word learning in a second language.

Drijvers, L. (2019)
On the oscillatory dynamics underlying speech-gesture integration in clear and adverse listening conditions.

Fairs, A. (2019)
Linguistic dual-tasking: Understanding temporal overlap between production and comprehension.

Nijveld, A. (2019)
The role of exemplars in speech comprehension.


Sollis, E. (2019)
A network of interacting proteins disrupted in language-related disorders.

Maslowski, M. (2019)
Fast speech can sound slow: Effects of contextual speech rate on word recognition.

Mongelli, V. (2020)
The role of neural feedback in language unification: How awareness affects combinatorial processing.

Baranova, J. (2020)
Reasons for every-day activities.

Barthel, M. (2020)
Speech planning in dialogue: Psycholinguistic studies of the timing of turn taking.

Hubers, F. (2020)
Two of a kind: Idiomatic expressions by native speakers and second language learners.

Trujillo, J. P. (2020)
Movement speaks for itself: The kinematic and neural dynamics of communicative action and gesture.

Thorin, J. (2020)
Can you hear what you cannot say? The interactions of speech perception and production during non-native phoneme learning.

Zheng, X. (2020)
Control and monitoring in bilingual speech production: Language selection, switching and intrusion.

Lattenkamp, E. Z. (2020) 
Vocal learning in the pale spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus discolor.


Raviv, L. (2020)
Language and society: How social pressures shape grammatical structure.

Iacozza, S. (2020)
Exploring social biases in language processing.

Gerakaki, S. (2020)
The moment in between: Planning speech while listening.

Rodd, J. (2020)
How speaking fast is like running: Modelling control of speaking rate.

Azar, Z. (2020)
Effect of language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals in the Netherlands.

Uhlmann, M. (2020)
Neurobiological models of sentence processing.

Terporten, R. (2020)
The power of context: How linguistic contextual information shapes brain dynamics during sentence processing.

Favier, S. (2020)
Individual differences in syntactic knowledge and processing: Exploring the role of literacy experience.

Zormpa, E. (2020)
Memory for speaking and listening.

Lopopolo, A. (2021)
Properties, structures and operations: Studies on language processing in the brain using computational linguistics and naturalistic stimuli.


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