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Revisiting the limits of language
Jan 31, 2014
According to a widespread view, languages cannot easily encode odors. Maniq, a language from Thailand studied by Ewelina Wnuk from MPI and Asifa Majid from Radboud University Nijmegen, challenges this claim. In their article published in Cognition, 2014, they provide the most comprehensive study of an odor lexicon to date. This evidence suggests that what has long been thought of as a limitation of the human language faculty actually isn’t one. 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 >
Giuseppina Turco defends PhD on January 20
Jan 20, 2014
Humans speak a lot, and not all of it is true, so every language needs resources to express contrastive statements. Or so you would think. Giuseppina Turco, PhD in MPI’s Language Acquisition Department, studied ‘contrastive polarity’ in four languages and found that they solve this problem in quite different ways, with implications for typology and for language learning. Turco defends her thesis, “Contrasting Opposity Polarity in Germanic and Romance Languages”, on January 20 at 14:30, in the Radboud University Aula. more >
Nick Enfield contributes to’s Annual Question
Jan 17, 2014
MPI senior investigator Nick Enfield is an invited contributor to the famous “Annual Question” on the science forum This year’s question is ‘What scientific idea is ready for retirement?' more >
Katja Poellmann defends PhD on December 12
Dec 11, 2013
How do listeners understand words that are not carefully articulated in everyday conversations? They have many ways to adapt to reductions in casual speech, Katja Poellmann found during her PhD research. She will defend her thesis on December 12 at 12:30, in the Radboud University Aula. 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 >
Chimpanzees are rational, not conformists
Dec 03, 2013
Chimpanzees are sensitive to social influences but they maintain their own strategy to solve a problem rather than conform to what the majority of group members are doing. However, chimpanzees do change their strategy when they can obtain greater rewards, MPI researchers found. The study was published in PLOS ONE on November 28, 2013. more >
Joost Rommers defends PhD on November 25
Nov 22, 2013
When listeners anticipate that a word like "apple" will be mentioned next, what aspects of the apple do they predict? Joost Rommers, PhD in MPI's Psychology of Language Department, concluded that predictions can be specific and include visual aspects such as the roundness of the apple. Rommers defended his thesis 'Seeing what's next: Processing and anticipating language referring to objects' on November 25 at 13:00, in the Radboud University Aula. He graduated cum laude. more >
Max Planck Institute
About MPI


The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.


Max Planck Institute
for Psycholinguistics

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands

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

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213

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