European Research Council Grant for Judith Holler

29 November 2017
Judith Holler from Radboud University’s Donders Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics received the prestigious Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The grant provides her with up to 2 million euro to investigate how bodily signals are used in conversation and influence how we understand language.

The award aims to support the most talented scientists in Europe and gives them the freedom to pursue their ideas. For Holler this means she can put together a team of researchers to investigate language in the setting in which we communicate with others most: face-to-face interaction.

When we speak, we also send signals with for example our head, eyes, face, hands and torso. How do we orchestrate and integrate all this information into meaningful messages? “We convey meaning not only with words but also with a lot of bodily signals which are tightly connected to what is being said,” Holler explains.

“Moreover, language use in face-to-face interaction rests on a turn-taking system, and this system is incredibly fast—in conversation, one speaking turn follows another with just millisecond gaps between them.” Having to understand and plan utterances in such a small time window is a significant cognitive challenge for talkers. How the many layers of bodily signals present in face-to-face interaction influence this challenging process is a key question the project addresses.

Thus, the ERC-funded project will allow Holler to better understand how bodily signals shape what is being conveyed and how they influence the comprehension of spoken language in conversation.

More information? Contact:

Judith Holler

Radboud University, Donders Institute & Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Telephone: +31-24-3521268 

Judith.holler [at] (Judith[dot]holler[at]mpi[dot]nl)

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