Projects of the Early Stage Researchers


Project 1: How does situated sentence comprehension depend on prior visual attention?

Host:  The Language and Cognition Laboratory at the Department of Linguistics and the Cognitive Interaction Technology Excellence Center, Bielefeld University, Germany.

Project 1: How does situated sentence comprehension depend on prior visual attention?

Host:  The Language and Cognition Laboratory at the Department of Linguistics and the Cognitive Interaction Technology Excellence Center, Bielefeld University, Germany.

This project will use eye tracking to examine how visual context affects language comprehension and visual attention as a function of prior visual attention. The theoretical goal is to further develop accounts of visually situated language comprehension.

The tasks of the ESR involve: design and implementation of experimental research using visual world eye-tracking methodology, statistical analysis of the data, theoretical development of accounts of situated language comprehension, and dissemination of the results.

The research group "Language and Cognition" currently consists of two post-docs and several PhD students. It conducts research on online language processing, also in interaction with visual perception. The lab houses 2 state-of-the-art eye trackers (Eyelink 1000) and reaction time PCs. Bielefeld University has an Excellence Center on Cognitive Interaction

Technology to which the group belongs; the group is also affiliated with the Department of Linguistics.
The project is supervised by Assistant Professor Pia Knoeferle.

Project 2: How visual experience is used during reading?

Host: Department of Psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Project 2: How visual experience is used during reading?

Host: Department of Psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The project will investigate the interaction between language and visual information. One of the questions to be addressed is how a prior visual experience affects later language processing. This experience can be exposure to an illustration in a text or an unrelated visual experience. One goal of the project is to investigate how the interaction between language and visual information is modulated by various reading and comprehension goals. Another goal is to examine how the interaction is modulated by various linguistic constructions, such as direct vs. indirect speech, passive vs. active constructions, and grammatical aspect.

Graduate students in the Brain & Cognition program become part of the EPOS  (Experimental Psychology Research School) network in which students can interact with top researchers from six Dutch universities. The Dutch national graduate education network offers courses in advanced statistics and research methods, grant writing, oral presentation skills, as well as advanced courses in various content domains, such as language, memory, perception, emotion, and action control. Graduate students will also attend the weekly meetings Zwaan's Language and Cognition lab, in which recent research from lab members and recent papers from the literature on language processing and embodiment are discussed and in which manuscript–review skills are trained. The graduate student will also attend and present at the bi-weekly meetings of the Department of Psychology's Brain & Cognition group, of which Zwaan is the Head. Members of the group have expertise in such domains as embodied cognition, memory, concepts and categories, EEG, fMRI, and advanced statistics.

Project 3: Attention in Multimodal Multitasking

Host: the Psycholinguistics Group in the Department of Computational Linguistics at Saarland University.

Project 3: Attention in Multimodal Multitasking

Host: the Psycholinguistics Group in the Department of Computational Linguistics at Saarland University.

The project will examine how attention is directed in situations in which people simultaneously perform more than one task. The special focus is in on coordination of spoken language and visual information in such situations. The ESR will have an opportunity to use recently developed Eye-Tracking Glasses to conduct experiments on multitasking in natural environments.

The Psycholinguistics Group, under the direction of Matthew Crocker, is actively engaged in both experimental and computational modeling research on human sentence processing. The unit has numerous state-of-the-art eye-tracking laboratories, a 64 channel EEG/ERP lab, and modern computing infrastructure. The working language is English, but some knowledge of German is an asset. Further information about our labs and activities.

Saarland University is a leading centre for language research and offers a dynamic and stimulating environment. The Psycholinguistics Group is part of the interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence "Multi-modal Computing and Interaction" (http://www.mmci.uni-saarland.de/) formed in partnership with top-ranked research institutions located on the Saarland University campus: Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

The project is run in collaboration with Pirita Pyykkönen-Klauck, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH.

Project 4: Discourse reference and situation models in situated child language comprehension

Host:  the Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab at the Department of Modern Languages, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

Project 4: Discourse reference and situation models in situated child language comprehension

Host:  the Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab at the Department of Modern Languages, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

The project will investigate how extra-linguistic sensory affordances, such as visual actions and emotions interact with event and information structure – semantic causality and linguistic focus – and affect the real time comprehension of ambiguous discourse reference and the ensuing situation models in children. The tasks of the ESR involve: Design and implementation of experimental research combining visual world eye-tracking methodology with reference assignment and story continuation, statistical modeling of the data and dissemination of the results.

The Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab at NTNU is an active research unit conducting experimental research in both first and second language acquisition, language processing and language and cognition across the life-span, with a focus on spatial categorisation and language, action understanding and language, language and cognition in developmental deficits. The equipment used at the Lab is a second generation Tobii eyetracker and an EyeLink eyetracker. In addition to the Lab Director, Prof. Mila Vulchanova, there are 5 PhD students affiliated with the Lab, as well as faculty across relevant departments.

The project is co-supervised by Assoc. Prof. Terje Lohndal, NTNU and Prof. Mila Vulchanova, NTNU.

Project 5: The role of language in visual prediction and spatial memory

Host: The School of Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of East Anglia in  Norwich, UK The project will investigate the role language plays in proactive...

Project 5: The role of language in visual prediction and spatial memory

Host: The School of Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK

The project will investigate the role language plays in proactive eye movements and memory for objects and spatial locations. It will identify the conditions under which language influences prediction towards a goal using eye tracking as a method to examine proactive eye movements towards a goal; and will examine the influence of language on memory for object location using versions of the memory game paradigm (pioneered by Coventry et al., 2008) to examine the influence of language on memory for object location.

The project will tease apart between rival accounts of predictive behaviour (e.g. Talmy, 2008; Falck-Ytter, Gredebäck, & von Hosten, 2006), establishing the mechanisms by which language affects predictive eye movements towards a goal and will identify the conditions under which language affects memory for object location.

The project is supervised by Professor Kenny Coventry & Dr Paul Engelhardt; Co-supervisor: Professor Mila Vulchanova, NTNU  


Project 6 : How language affects perceptually-based categorization in L1 and L2: The case of placing events

Host: The Second Language Research Center (SELC) in the Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Project 6 : How language affects perceptually-based categorization in L1 and L2: The case of placing events

Host: The Second Language Research Center (SELC) in the Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

The project will investigate the semantic categorization of placement events in monolingual and bilingual speakers at different levels of L2 proficiency, examining the implications of cross-linguistic variation in this domain for speakers' non-linguistic cognition and for adult second language acquisition. The tasks of the ESR involve: Design and implementation of experimental research involving the use of linguistic and non-linguistic tasks (e.g., video clips, memory tasks, similarity judgment tasks, eye-tracking), statistical modeling of the data and dissemination of the results.

The Second Language Research Center is an active research unit covering two main research dimensions: basic research into the acquisition and use of foreign languages in different contexts and settings, and applied research into foreign language pedagogy. The research undertaken by the center contributes to an emerging paradigm in Second Language Acquisition research which combines cognitive linguistics and studies of language usage. The Center houses at the moment graduate research projects that are of immediate relevance to the present project, focusing on the expression of spatial relations by adult second language learners. In addition, the Department of Language and Communication hosts a Tobii eyetracker. The project is co-supervised by Prof. Teresa Cadierno, SDU and Prof. Kenny Coventry, University of East Anglia.

Project 7: The development of local and global processing: from perception to language

Host: The Aston Brain Centre in the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University in Birmingham UK

Project 7: The development of local and global processing: from perception to language

Host: The Aston Brain Centre in the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University in Birmingham UK

The project will investigate the interface between language and perception and specifically the relationship between local and global processing in children with and without development disorders (autism and dyslexia), using a combination of behavioural, psychophysiological and psychometric measures.

The Aston Brain Centre (ABC) is a Centre of Excellence for the study of paediatric neurodevelopment with expertise in studying neurodevelopmental disorders from multiple perspectives including genetics, neuroimaging, cognitive and behavioural analysis. The ABC has state of the art neuroimaging facilities, including 3T MR and a newly installed Elekta Triux Magnetoencephalography system. See website for additional information about the ABC, its staff and its research.

Project 8: The processing of figurative (indirect) language and pragmatic inferencing from visual context in typical and atypical language

Host: The Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab at the Department of Modern Languages, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

Project 8: The processing of figurative (indirect) language and pragmatic inferencing from visual context in typical and atypical language

Host: The Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab at the Department of Modern Languages, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

This project will run a series of studies with autistic children compared to typically developing peers, employing eye-tracking methodology inspired by the visual world paradigm. The focus will be on comprehension processes in reading texts, the use of contextual and visual cues for disambiguation, and the processing of figurative (indirect) language. The tasks of the ESR involve: Design and implementation of experimental research using advanced methods (e.g., eye-tracking, EEG/ERP), statistical modeling of the data and dissemination of the results. The ESR will be conduct research with deficit populations (e.g., ASD) and typically developing children.

The Language Acquisition and Language Processing Lab at NTNU is an active research unit conducting experimental research in both first and second language acquisition, language processing and language and cognition across the life-span with a focus on spatial categorisation and language, action understanding and language, language and cognition in developmental deficits. The equipment used at the Lab is a second generation Tobii eyetracker and an EyeLink eyetracker. In addition to the Lab Director, Prof. Mila Vulchanova, there are 5 PhD students affiliated with the Lab, as well as faculty across relevant departments.

The project is co-supervised by Prof. Mila Vulchanova, Dr. Valentin Vulchanov, NTNU and Prof. David Saldaña, University of Seville, Spain.

Project 9: Situation models and comprehension in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Host: The Individual Differences, Language and Cognition Lab at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Seville, Seville, Spain.

Project 9: Situation models and comprehension in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Host: The Individual Differences, Language and Cognition Lab at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Seville, Seville, Spain.

The project will investigate the relationship between language and perception in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The tasks of the ESR involve: To work with children and adults with autism, carry out background testing of language, reading and cognitive development, to follow recruitment through schools and support groups, develop and program experimental tasks, to collect data and to disseminate the results.

The Individual Differences, Language and Cognition Lab at University of Seville is a research unit specialized in the study of processes of comprehension in persons with special educational needs. The equipment at the Lab includes an Eyelink eyetracker. The Lab is composed of 8 researchers, 2 of whom are PhD students affiliated with the Lab, the rest of the team are faculty members of the Developmental and Educational Psychology Department.

Project 10: Spatial language and nonlinguistic spatial ability in typical and atypical ageing

Host: The School of Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of East Anglia in  Norwich, UK The project will investigate will investigate, using a...

Project 10: Spatial language and nonlinguistic spatial ability in typical and atypical ageing

Host: The School of Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK

The project will investigate will investigate, using a cross-sectional design, performance on spatial language tasks and non-linguistic spatial tasks in older adults who are ageing typically and atypically. It will examine the mapping between spatial language and non-linguistic spatial ability in healthy ageing. 

A range of language tests used previously by Coventry and colleagues and others will be administered to older adults with and without early symptomology of dementia. A range of non-linguistic spatial ability tasks, including those tapping navigational ability, will be administered to older adults with and without the early symptomology of dementia.

The project will identify the relationship between spatial language and non-linguistic spatial ability in typical and atypical ageing for the first time, and identify the markers of typical and atypical ageing which may be useful for diagnoses of dementia.

The project is supervised by Professor Kenny Coventry; Key collaborator: Professor Mila Vulchanova, NTNU  


Project 11: Visual perception and signed oral language in deafness

Host: The Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Seville, Seville, Spain.

Project 11: Visual perception and signed oral language in deafness

Host: The Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Seville, Seville, Spain.

The project will investigate the relationship between language and perception, but applied to a group of people (deaf participants) whose perception is predominantly visual, even when it applies to the oral language. The project will use paradigms based on eye movement methodology. The tasks of the ESR involve: To work with deaf people, to carry out background testing of language development and non-verbal IQ with standardized tests of deaf and hearing children, adolescents and adults, to follow recruitment through schools, support groups and deaf associations, to implement the eye-tracking methodology to determine which zone (lipreading, facialreading or hands) receives more attention while comprehending different signed messages, to design the experimental tasks, to collect data and to disseminate the results.

The Individual Differences, Language and Cognition Lab at University of Seville is a research unit specialized in the study of processes of comprehension in people with special educational needs. The equipment at the Lab includes an Eyeling eyetracker. The Lab is composed of 8 researchers, 2 of whom are PhD students affiliated with the Lab, the rest of the team are faculty members of the Developmental and Educational Psychology Department. The project is co-supervised by the Lab Director, David Saldaña.

Projects of the Experienced Researchers