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Neurolinguistics and Linguistic Disorders

SemCogLab & Healthy Ageing

The Semantics and Cognition Lab (SemCogLab) studies patterns of meaning and interpretation in language, whether and how cognitive processes influence the linguistic capacity to understand others, and how this linguistic capacity to understand others typically develops in children or can become impaired. To investigate this question, both behavioral and online research methods are used, such as reaction time experiments, EEG, eye-tracking, and pupillometry.

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  • Prof. Dr. Petra Hendriks is the head of the Semantics and Cognition Group at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen. Her research interests are in semantics, pragmatics and language acquisition, where the relation between linguistic abilities and cognitive skills play a central role
  • Dr. Emar Maier is assistant professor affiliated with the Faculty of Philosophy and the Faculty of Arts, specializing in formal semantics. He is currently heading a NWO VIDI research project investigating the semantics of imagination and fiction. His research interests include narrative, quotation, indexicals, and attitudes
  • Dr. Atty Schouwenaars is part of the Lab and working on language developmen
  • Dr. Simone Sprenger is assistant professor in the SemCogLab. She is currently studying idiom processing, bilingualism and the way in which language processing changes across the lifespan. In addition, together with Jacolien van Rij (Dept. of Artificial Intelligence) she leads a large-scale project Maak dat de kat wijs  on the development of idiom familiarity across the lifespan for the National Weekend of Science 2019
  • Dr. Jorrig Vogels is a postdoctoral researcher with an interest in how people refer to things in the world around them. Using language production experiments, he investigates the mechanisms behind speakers’ linguistic choices. As of 2017, he is working on his own NWO Veni project ‘Try to see it my way’, in which he explores to what degree speakers take the perspective of their listeners into account when referring to something

PhD Projects

The SemCogLab has several other projects on language development across the lifespan. Our group is highly interdisciplinary, with more than half of the PhD projects spanning different faculties: Philosophy, Medical Sciences (Psychiatry, Audiology), Science and Engineering (Artificial Intelligence), and Behavioural and Social Sciences (Orthopedagogy). Associated PhD students receiving supervision from the Semantics and Cognition group are Merel Semeijn (Faculty of Philosophy) and Abby Toth (Faculty of Science and Engineering).

  • Sofia Bimpikou investigates how linguistic features and the pragmatics of narrative discourse affect readers’ interpretation of narrative texts
  • Dorothée Hoppe's research focus are low-level mechanisms of learning and their application to language learning. In her PhD project, she studies which properties of the learner input influence category learning in language combining computational, psycholinguistic and corpus linguistic methods
  • Vera Hukker is particularly interested in how children learn to understand figurative language. In her project she investigates how children learn to understand verbal irony by looking at the relation between irony understanding and social, linguistic and cognitive factors
  • Irene Mognon is keen on studying phenomena at the interface between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, especially in children and in atypical populations. Adopting an experimental approach, in her PhD project she investigates language acquisition in children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder, focusing in particular on the relationship between cognitive abilities, such as Theory of Mind, and linguistic skills
  • Iris Scholten has a research focus on the language and communication abilities of children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Apraxia of Speech - Diagnosis and Therapy

Apraxia of Speech (AoS) is a speech motor disorder that in general results from vascular brain damage. Within this project headed by Roel Jonkers , the diagnostic instrument for Apraxia of Speech (DIAS) was developed (Feiken and Jonkers, 2012). Afterwards , Judith Feiken has been developing a therapy programme, the Therapeutic Instument for Apraxia of Speech, which was published as part of the Speech Therapy app (STAPP). Joost Hurkmans has evaluated the therapy programme SMTA on its effeciveness. In 2020, the Norwegean addaptation of the DIAS, Diagnostisk verktøy for taleapraksi, was published.


Last modified:06 January 2023 3.10 p.m.